25 bits & pieces I love about Berlin, in no particular order:
1. The prevalence of mineral water. Bubbly trumps still H₂0, every time!
2. Transportation is always on time. Planning is possible!
Accurate to the minute! A shock coming from Thailand where the answer to “what time is it?” is usually “mango sticky rice.”
3. … And astoundingly cohesive! The underground, trams, and buses all work together to get you basically anywhere.
Places to go, people to see. You know the deal.
4. Kino culture. The cinemas are unique, historical, and oh-so-cool. Come warm weather, open-air cinemas spring up, screening classics like To Catch a Thief and Bonnie and Clyde.
5. Green spaces everywhere. Parks, rivers, places to jog, or chill with the family — natural spots scattered throughout the city dedicated to hanging out, drinking beer, and barbequing with friends.
Sitting by the river drinking a beer or mineral water = lazy summer days in Neukölln.
6. The city is extremely bike-able (from spring to fall, at least). Cruising along bike paths from one end to other is delicious.
Two wheels are better than none.
7. Drink to relax, not to get drunk. Having a few beers throughout the day is totally kosher. For the most part, people handle their alcohol maturely while out and about.
8. Konzerts. You wanna see [name your favorite band] play? Chances are they’ll be coming through at some point.
Some awesome British band rocking the gallery.
9. Startups. Have a business idea? Try it out here. Still cheaper than NYC, Silicon Valley, or Singapore, Berlin’s attracted a slew of successful startups in recent years (SoundCloud, etc.) with its try-anything-once vibe and creative energy.
10. Infamous clubs. For unparalleled atmosphere, nightclubs like Berghain reek of decades of debauchery.
Dance, dance, dance to the radio…
11. Art galleries. Duh! The old and new national galleries; museums ranging from cult to classic; clean, contemporary art spaces; avant-garde hole-in-the-walls; collectives and co-ops; and on and on. Take your pick; pick your take.
“Is that art?” “I have no idea.”
12. Feeling kinky? Up for some sexual exploration? There’s probably a workshop, club, or meet-up for it, with a supportive, open-minded community waiting to welcome you.
13. Understated day-to-day life. Aside from a few obvious social scenes, people generally keep to themselves — they don’t scream and shout about what they’re doing. Life happens; let’s move on.
Keep moving; nothing to see here.
14. Accepting. No one’s going to give you shit for being yourself.
15. Summer snow! Seriously: pure magic.
Soft dandelion dust ends up drifting everywhere in the air.
16. High quality food. Bread, cheese, meats, produce, etc., have to meet high standards to be sold. The difference is taste-able.
17. Endless days. Starting near end of May, the sun stays up forever. I’m writing this at 9:45 pm — and it’s still light out. (June 08)
Sun-setting sky at almost 10pm, Mitte, May.
16. Female tech scene. With Berlin Geekettes headquartered, there’s an uber supportive environment for women wanting to delve deeper into coding and the like.
18. Culture. In addition to Berlin’s rich history, the distinctly international mish-mash of artists makes for a limitless global fusion of creative expression.
An impromptu butoh performance with live DJ.
19. It’s okay to walk around with earbuds in. While this feels socially impolite in Asia (my personal feeling), everyone has their music on here.
20. Despite its size (over 3.5 million people), it’s a quiet city. Possible to hear yourself think on streets and even buses.
Wandering the city is peaceful, even when the mind is combating clutter.
21. German is a sexy language. Yum. Fantastisch.
22. Fashion inspiration. There’s a crazy high percentage of stylish people, often incredibly beautiful to boot! Soak it up.
Pulling off a leopard-print hat is not the easiest thing to do. Berliners can.
23. “I’m sorry” is virtually non-existant in casual conversation. Being a Canadian woman, I’ve a habit of saying those two words approx. 100 times/day. So, sigh of relief: no saving face, no placating, no people-pleasing. One of the reasons shit gets done so efficiently here.
24. Environmentally friendly. Different bins for paper, plastic, organic, and other — recycling in Germany is not for the faint of heart, and a win for mother earth.
Clean city streets, waste bins on every corner, organized recycling… all that’s missing is a system for shoveling snow from walkways in winter.
25. The air is fresh. So fly high…
Swing ’til you fly off. Berlin will catch you.