1. BVG FahrInfo Plus Berlin von Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG) – AöR
2. Berliner U-Bahn: BVG-Karte von Mapway Limited
3. BVG Tickets von Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG) – AöR
Moving to Berlin in 1998 was an adventure:
Adjusting to the “Berliner Schnauze”, their rough, often hurting tone and choice of words, was a challenge after leaving Munich and their “Grüss Gott” culture.
But what I truly admired was the well thought through ”city-planning” and options to get through the city, stress free. The Hohenzollerndamm, a connection to move from the West towards the eastern parts of the former “West Berlin” and the “Stadtautobahn”, another fabulous means to travel without stoplights through the former West Berlin area were worthy of my praise.
Now many years later, I have decided to no longer move through Berlin with a car. The absolutely incompetent city government has NO oversight of the construction sites; the streets blocked for whatever other reason and NO plans how to properly detour the traffic. The crazy bicyclists who follow no rules except “ME FIRST” are a threat to any driver, at any time of day and are always in the right, even if they cycle without lights at dusk, cycle through red lights and sway left or right without signalling. No respect for rules. They are the biggest threat in Berlin. It’s almost as if car holders are the bad guys. We now have a politician who wants to ban cars all together from the city. That being said …… I have resorted to using public transportation.
The S-Bahn, the U-.Bahn (not at night as a woman alone), the busses, which never come as planned, the trams and if necessary, a taxi, bring me through the city at all times of the day, safe and usually not stressed..
If only the BVG, the Berlin public transportation company, offering great connections throughout the entire city, would realize, it’s more beneficial to repair and build new connections not all at the same time….. hampering a smooth moving forward.
The BVG offers two great Apps. BVG Fahrinfo (in German) listing most of the best connections (unfortunately not all) and the BVG Tickets. This last App saves me from looking for coins to pay for my tickets, as I do not buy the monthly ticket, which I would recommend for those of you who travel to work daily.
I am a BVG fan!
One of the most important topics for a family with young children moving to Berlin is finding a kindergarten which suits their children and where they feel their children will be well looked after.
So here we have just a small overview of the most important points regarding Kindergartens in Berlin.
Kindergarten in Berlin is called ‘KiTa’ this stands for Kindertagestätte which means Children’s Daycare. Children usually attend Kita from age 2 until they are school age, this can be up to 5.5 – 6.5 years old depending what their birthdate is or even if the parents would prefer they start school a little later giving them more time to mature. There are also Kitas which include a ‘Krippe’ this is for children under 2 years, but not all Kitas provide this option.
Kita care is essentially free of charge in Berlin, you are allotted an amount of Kita care depending on the child’s age and your work situation. If it is a private Kita, then there can be extra fees. All Kitas charge 23€ a month for food & depending on what the Kita offers, there can also be extra charges for sports, arts, music. The funding comes through the application for a ‘Kitagutschein’ and this is then approved by your local authorities. The Kitagutschein needs to be applied for at least 8-10 weeks prior to Kita starting.
Finding a Kita place in Berlin can be difficult and it is advisable to start looking early and to be patient with the process. The reason for the lack of spaces is due to a large growth in the population of Berlin in recent years. Kitas usually have waiting lists and the places become available around May/June for the start of the new school year end of July/August. Of course, places do become available during the year too, with a bit of luck. It is always sensible to apply to a few different Kitas in order to boost the chances of getting a place.
The winter in Berlin can be long, cold, very grey and at times the city just simply cannot seem any drearier but come late March slowly but surely the sun begins to shine, the city starts to come to life, and we become hopeful for Spring!
Spring in Berlin is beautiful, colourful, optimistic and to be thoroughly enjoyed, so here are some tips for you and your family on places to discover at this time of year.