▪ Shops and (government) offices open and close at set times. If for example, at 8.00 am is the opening hours or “Öffnungszeiten” end at 4 pm (16.00). It is advisable to be there by 3.55 pm (15.55) because by 4.01 pm (16.01) the place may be closed. Trains, buses, etc. also leave at set departure times.
Bureaucratic work take time
▪ Dealing with bureaucracy is sometimes quite complicated and can seem inefficient. Some things take a long time and things are done according to standardised procedures. This can be very frustrating. However, remember, procedures are the same for everybody and are designed to be fair. Offering or accepting bribes is a crime.
Strict Traffic Regulations
▪ People in Germany obey the traffic regulations most of the time. They obey signs and stop at red traffic lights even if nobody is in sight. If there is no sign and/or no traffic lights the person coming from the right has the right of way (“Rechts vor Links”).
▪ In some places, especially in cities, there are separate paths or lanes only for bicycles. Texting and talking on the phone while you are driving is forbidden. When travelling by car, all passengers must fasten their seatbelt. In a car, children must use a special seat suitable for their size.
Use of Phone
▪ Telephone calls are usually made during office hours, so until 4 or 5 o’clock in the afternoon. Private calls are usually not made after 9 or 10 in the evening. When making a call, identify yourself by saying your name first.
▪ When using public transport, you must buy a ticket beforehand. You can buy tickets at service points or ticket machines. When you get on a tram, bus or city train, you sometimes have to validate your ticket for your ride. (This is the case in cities, like Berlin or Munich.) The procedures and types of ticket available vary from region to region and city to city.
▪ If you are a refugee and need to see a doctor, you have to go to the social security office first. Doctors’ surgeries are usually open from 8 o’clock until 12 o’clock in the morning and sometimes in the afternoon, too. Most doctors speak English.
▪ If you need to get medication in the evening, or on a Sunday or public holiday, you can go to a late-night or standby pharmacy (“Notapotheke”). To find out which pharmacy is on standby duty, use google or call 22 8 33 (max. 69 Cent/Min.). The name and address of the nearest standby pharmacy is also posted on the doors of all other pharmacies in the area.