“Germany.” What do you think of first? Tons of beer. Mercedes, BMW, Audi and Volkswagen. Sausages. Wiener schnitzel. The Autobahn. Oktoberfest. Jägermeister.
But then there is “Berlin.” They say that Berlin is not Germany. A once thriving, central city in the world. A city laying in ruins and decay after the Second World War. The fierce iron curtain splitting the city into east and west. A leading, alternative city in our modern times…
Hello, or should I say, Guten Tag to my fellow readers! I arrived here in Berlin two weeks ago in preparation for my two semesters of study this upcoming year at the Humboldt University. I am continuously blown away every day by this city. I have seen many different German cities in the past, but just like last time, there is just something about Berlin.
The city of Berlin itself is an open, free city. I feel literally like a tiny ant facing vast amounts of untapped experiences. It is a huge cultural city with diverse peoples, immigrants, students, it has a rich and interesting history, new movements, young artists, a large music scene, museums, art … the list goes on.
They say cities can come alive. I can say coming from Toronto (and any fellow Torontonians reading here), that my city has a rich feeling to it. Am I right? The same can be said about New York for example. Here in Berlin, I sense it every second. I can feel this electric vibe sprawling through every street and every crevice. Berlin is alive. It is breathing. Its gigantic train, subway, streetcar and bus networks are like the veins and blood flowing nonstop through this live entity, always circulating. I have been here for only 2 weeks, yet there is this magnet drawing me into the heart of the city to experience it all. From the local daily markets, to the legendary night life, to strange artistic street performances, to the sheer size of the city, to the green parks, to the faces of people from all over the globe, to the hip bars in distinct neighborhoods, to the historical buildings and monuments, to live music on every corner, to the eerie line of where the former Berlin Wall once stood….
With this blog, one of the things I hope to do is capture this vigour that Berlin has. I talked too much about the city on the whole and how insignificant I feel within it. I am so innocent to what it has to offer and too ignorant to make any claims just yet. The posts to come will try to grasp exactly what the city represents through my experiences studying in university, meeting new people, traveling and simply just living.
P.S. Of course there is beer, and German cars, and German cuisine in Berlin. I was just referring above for example to the unique, funky, fresh and alternative sides of the city, something that is matchless in Germany and the rest of the world.