Guten Tag!
After
the last post some of my friends wrote me sweet messages expressing their
support and that I shouldn’t worry. They were reacting to the first paragraph
of the last post where I was lamenting about how hard my new life in Berlin is.
I’d like to set the record straight and tell you that I’ve had many wonderful
experiences too. But in this post I want to share the lessons I’ve
learned when moving in and a few
recommendations for people who are contemplating moving to
Berlin or maybe just stay for a month or two. There are many many websites which deal with exactly the same (and I
will mention these in the post), but of course everyone’s lived
experience differs. So here is mine.

Flat
search
Me and K came to
Berlin mid-August. We found a flat in Prenzlauer Berg to live in for a month
while we look for a flat. Little did we know that we wouldn’t have found it
until the beginning of October. Because, of course, the first three weeks we just
partied, explored Berlin and my work was kinda giving me a lot to do. To apply
for a flat (and get it) in Berlin is A LOT OF PAPERWORK. We were really slow at
this, so learn from our mistakes and do this early on.

Here
you can read
more about these papers. And about
registration
. Jeeeez, this is one RIDICULOUS piece of paper without which
you can’t do virtually anything in Germany. Can’t set up a bank account, can’t
get internet for your flat, can’t apply for flats, can’t apply for Schufa…
Aaand the eye of a Big Berlin Brother is upon you. No escape. Can’t hide. They
know.
Here you can find flats mostly for short
term stay, but also long term. It is a cheaper option than airbnb. And here.
And here
also
. These are only sublets, usually furnished.
Here you can find flats which are
available for long-term contracts, usually unfurnished.
Also try: woloho.com

Most of my September
was basically biking back and forth between Kreuzberg and Friendrichshain to about 5 flat viewings every day. Many ugly
flats, many expensive flats, some nice ones and some with 20 other flat viewers
in the flat with me and K. Very very stressful. But it was also nice, because
biking around I learned to navigate in Berlin. I even know the names of most
streets in Kreuz and Friedri. And the names of real estate agents, cause
they were the same ones showing us different flats… 😀

The flat we live in now
is actually the first out of the 40 we applied for to reply to us positively.
I’m pretty happy with what we found. It’s 70m², with 2 rooms, high ceilings,
quiet neighbours, a yard and centrally located, near Frankfurter Tor. However, why the rent is
relatively low is because there’s a renovation of the building happening. So
basically, every morning I’m woken up at 7 by clanking, drilling, bashing,
conversations in Polish and terrible rap music.

Furniture

Not having a car makes moving in quite difficult, but not impossible. 90%
of our furniture was dragged in by me and K, ohne Auto (yes, even our sofa and
dining table). We did it on bikes, public transport and our bare backs &
friends’. Almost every Sunday we went to flea markets. Almost everyday we
browsed online for 2nd hand stuff and went to pick it up. And of course, the
one time we reserve a Robben&Wietjes
moving van (only 25 EUR a day), we get there in the morning and they tell us that we
need our registration papers, which of course we don’t just carry around with us… fml 😀 We visited many more, but these are some
places I would recommend for furniture and home stuff:

ebay-kleinanzeigen.de
– cheapest and nicest stuff, but need to search every day for newly listed
(search your post code and you are much more prone to successfully transport
your new furniture to your home)
berlin.craigslist.de – smaller
selection, but similar to ebay-klein, this is where I got my bike
Treptower
Hallentrödelmarkt in Arena
– 2nd hand and antiques, huge hall filled with
many nice pieces of furniture and things for every room in the house, but also
much sh*t, damaged, which nobody will ever find have use for. Generally not such
bargains as online, but search, ask & haggle with the vendors and you will
be rewarded.

Flea
Market at Boxhagener Platz
– OK prices, need for haggling, mostly 2nd hand
and antiques, but also handmade cool stuff. It is open air and a really nice
place to spend your Sunday.
Flughafenstr. – many Trödel (junk) shops along this street. Great
bargains, nice sellers!
Top tip – if you
don’t like the colour of your furniture, there’s a very quick (but not so clean) fix. I used spray paint to turn many of my pieces blackest ever black with these sprays. I’d
recommend.
I won’t even
recommend Flohmarkt am Mauerpark, because it’s too expensive, too touristy and
the sellers are quite mean.

Since my work
contract just ended, I’ve just started a job hunt. Will tell you all about it
when I’ve found something 🙂