Saturday, December 08, 2007

Reasons to love Berlin

Berlin, Prenzlauer Berg
Originally uploaded by Mishkabear
Usually I enjoy travelling but on Wednesday I really did not look forward to hopping over to Germany for a couple of days. Work is piling up in Amsterdam and days without meetings are really needed. Well, commitments are commitments so I headed to the airport dutifully straight from work. I recognise the feeling all too well already: you get all sweaty as you get to the airport on the last possible minute, you start getting anxious because people are wasting time in the security check, you get irritated by the bad quality of the airplane food and keep dozing off when you try to finish the last work issues of the day. When you finally get to the hotel around eleven, your head is buzzing, you feel simultaneously hyperactive and supertired.

Now, on Saturday afternoon, I am extremely glad I did not cancel the trip. I feel like my batteries have been charged – even a KLM steward said as I boarded the plane:”Sir, you look very happy today.” On Thursday we had an inspiring session for the development of and I really felt like I was able to help them in improving the product. I pushed forward some funding things and in the evening visited a cute small cultural event of our partner organisation Schlesische27 in Kreuzberg.

I just love Berlin. It is definitely up there with Istanbul on my list of fantastic cities,. Let me elaborate why:
1. Cool Germanica: It is very German with the Christmas markets and bratwursts but at the same time extremely trendy with it underground bars and designer shops.
2. Human scale: Starting from its incredible metro system and continuing to its coffee houses, Berlin is made for people and their interaction.
3. Affordable: Studio flat for 400 euros. Beer for one euro. Club entrance two euros. Lunch 5 euros.
4. Creative: I just met yesterday a Finnish friend of mine who had moved to Berlin 1,5 months ago to try and see how life here would work. As he put it:”I have savings for 6 months, then I really need to start seeing what I wish to do.” His story is not original in Berlin.
5. Scruffy: At a popular club the most important thing is not a trendy haircut or T-shirt. But that is also allowed. Punk still exists in Berlin.
6. Turkey: Some parts of Berlin are like you would be in a Turkish city. The vegetable salesmen shout in Turkish and you have this distinct smell where goat milk mixes with pickles and olives.

And ladies and gentlemen, there is hope: I saw yesterday an American film in Berlin WITHOUT dubbing.

There is one minus point: Tegel. Berlin’s airport is shameful for such a fun city. It is too small and so badly organised that you end up walking forever or standing in line for ages.


Shooky said...

I agree with most the things you said, especially the dubbing thing.

I'm surprized about your impression of Tegel though. I found it to be very nice and better than Schonefeld (the other Berlin airport).

Qtea said...

People are maybe supposed to enter Berlin by train for climate political reasons ;)

Tommi Laitio said...

Qtea, that is quite sound reasoning. Flying to Berlin is quite a hassle from Amsterdam. You end up spending several hours of your time being checked, taking off, landing, going through security checks and so forth.

By the way, why security is so much higher when you go by plane to a Schengen country than when you take the train?