Go to the homepage of our German Course Chapter 5: Asking for directions University of Portsmouth
5.1 Where is the Hotel Ravenna? (1) Includes sound files!

Click here to listen to the conversation!Having arrived in Berlin for his conference, Ken McNaught now needs to find his way around in the big city. He knows that his hotel - the "Hotel Ravenna" (marked by an "X" in our diagram) - is in the road called Harbigstrasse which in the Charlottenburg region of Berlin, but he is having trouble finding it.

Whilst in Position 1 on our diagram, standing on the corner of two roads called Waldschulallee and Messedamm, he meets a passer-by (ein Passant) and asks for directions.

Listen to his conversation with the passer-by by clicking either here or on the sound icon at the top of the previous paragraph. You can also click here to find the location of Ken McNaught on a map of Berlin.

X marks the location of Hotel Ravenna

Ken McNaught Entschuldigen Sie bitte.
Passant Ja bitte?
Ken McNaught Wo finde ich das Hotel Ravenna?
Passant Ach ja, ich weiß... Da gehen Sie bitte fünfhundert Meter geradeaus, und die nächste Straße rechts, und dann finden Sie das Hotel Ravenna auf der rechten Seite.
Ken McNaught Wie bitte?
Passant Immer geradeaus, dann die nächste rechts - die Harbigstraße.
Ken McNaught Danke schön!
Passant Bitte schön. Viel Spaß in Berlin!

Hotel Ravenna

der Passant  the passer-by
wo ist...?  where is...? 
das Hotel  the hotel
entschuldigen Sie bitte  Excuse me please? 
Ja, bitte  Another nuance of "bitte"! This time it approximates to "Yes, how may I help?"
wo finde ich...?  "Where can I find...?" The word for "can" is omitted in the German construction.
das Hotel Ravenna  The names of most German hotels follow the word for "hotel".
ach ja, ich weiß oh yes, I know
da gehen Sie bitte...  "You go...". Our old friend "bitte" is added for an extra touch of politeness.
fünfhundert Meter  five hundred metres
geradeaus  "Straight on." Later in the conversation the passer-by will say "immer geradeaus", which equates to "keep straight on" - (literally "always straight on").
die Straße  street; road 
rechts  on the right
die nächste Straße rechts  the next road on the right
dann finden Sie...  "Then you will find..." There is no word here for "will" - the present tense can be used in German to translate the immediate future.
auf der rechten Seite "on the right-hand side". In practice this is interchangeable with "rechts".
Wie bitte?  This means "Pardon me?". Never be embarrassed about asking somebody to repeat directions, particularly when you are new to a language!
die nächste rechts  The passer-by does not repeat "Straße" here. As we saw in the previous section, it is clear that the adjective refers back to the feminine noun "street".
viel Spaß  "Enjoy yourself!". The literal meaning is "Much fun!"

Weiter! Chapter 5.2: Conversation - Hotel Ravenna (2)

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