After Barcelona was Berlin. Just some background. I’ve been asked before if moving from Zimbabwe to the US was a cultural shock. My response was always – No, idiot, why would that be a cultural shock? I can tell you that after the moves of Zimbabwe – Boston MA – Connecticut – Vienna, Austria. The most shocking had been Boston to Danbury Area in CT. After going to Berlin, I thought that if I had moved from Zimbabwe to Berlin, that would have been a major non survivable culture shock.Visiting Berlin was quite shocking. Ok, after experiencing the Germaness of Austria (its true – don’t fight it), Munich, Ulm, Frankfurt – going to Berlin felt like I was in a completely different country. There was nothing German about Berlin.
Top 5 things of my visit:
Berlin is dark
The history is dark, the trains have dimmed lighting, the streetlights are not bright and in it all, you are walking through graffitied alleys. We booked by Airbnb. The instructions were that we would collect the keys at the Internet cafe in the neighborhood. Our names would be our password and we would make our way this house. It was like I was in a post-apocalyptic city where the atmosphere was rigged for anarchy.
Berlin is kinda ugly
There is no beauty in Berlin. It’s chaotic, as in messy. Drunk people everywhere all day. Maybe I didn’t go to the right places, but the “street art”, which by the way I am a fan off, is just ugly. Beautiful historical buildings had graffiti on them. Clean that shit up.
No-one speaks German in Berlin
OK, thats an exaggeration, but everyone was comfortable speaking English – unlike the rest of the country, who get aggressively offended if they have to come up with a sentence in a language that’s more helpful. Most English was spoken with a rather perfect American accent. It was usually unclear whether they were Americans or people that had travelled to America. How can I say I’m in Germany if I can’t get pissed off about their resistance to learning English?
City character is hard to define
Is it “anarchist punk”? The whole city. This does come with really lively underground culture and I was happy to get an opportunity to see an Improv show. Well it wasn’t really improv since the background was defined, but close. It may have taken the bad parts of most cities and the good bits and shoved them all in one city. The train system works very well, relatively inexpensive and seems to go where you need it to, however, the trains don’t run so frequently. OK OK OK, I get it, I’m in Vienna, so I’ve been horribly spoiled.
Airport to city is relatively easy. The food is very cosmopolitan and can be inexpensive. The wait staff are American style…sort off, so friendly (fake or not, who cares – just don’t give me attitude unless the food is free).