Hey everybody! I know I stopped posting when I left Berlin, but today I want to try something new. A friend, someone I studied with in Berlin, approached me with the idea to write a “Things I Miss About Berlin” post. And I thought “Ohmygod that’s genius.”
So, without further ado, here’s what I found to be an awesome and hilarious blog post by my friend Mirko Luke Kruse.
Berlin! Come Back to Me: Seven Things I Miss About Meine Lieblingsstadt
1) The Bahn. I took a flight from Berlin direct to Boston and when I hopped on the T, Boston’s subway system, I was already missing Berlin. If you’ve ever ridden on the T then you probably know that ‘hopped on’ is actually never a verb associated with it. You usually have a painfully long wait before another two-car subway comes screeching leisurely down the tracks. Nine stops, forty five minutes, and two homeless men later, I had arrived back home. This is a far cry from the humming efficiency and cleanliness of Berlin’s public transportation system. It gets you anywhere you need to go, and it gets you there fast.
2) The Parks. Granted I studied abroad over one of Berlin’s longest and coldest winters recorded, but in the finals weeks I still got a taste of how enjoyable the public parks and gardens could be. Aesthetically the parks themselves couldn’t hold a candle to others, like say, Paris’ parks; but that’s not why I miss them. Take Gorlitzer Park located in Berlin’s Kreuzberg neighborhood for example. It’s very Berlin—a mash of cement seating areas and steps amongst a fair, but not thick, stand of grass laden with cigarette butts. However, I’m certain as a center of intrigue, Gorlitzer Park goes unmatched. The locals scour the terrain, playing music of every kind, barbecuing, throwing Frisbees, picnicking, chatting, drinking and doing it all in that authentic, carefree, stylish way that only Berliners can do. If you enjoy people watching, I can imagine no better place in the world.
3) Open Containers… And why won’t I ever enjoy a park as much as I enjoyed those in Berlin? Open container laws. Oh how nice it is to sprawl on the grass with friends, music and a cold, sixty-cent beer you just picked up from a kiosk down the street.
4) … And Open Airs. Once the weather starts warming up in the spring, Berlin puts on free public concerts in the parks: open airs. They are really just a mass of dancing, drinking Berliners surrounding a DJ booming his track into the dense of the night. A club without the club.
5) German, and Germans. I think you’ll find a lot of people who have the perception that the German language is harsh and unpleasant. I believe quite the opposite is true; German can be fascinating to turn an ear toward. I’m not sure what my love for German is founded on but I suspect it’s the German people themselves. The way the Germans carry themselves, interact and function is entirely different from Americans. Each one I imagine has a brain-chest of interesting ideas and stories if only you could break through their shell. And you can’t, which makes them mysterious and all the more fascinating.
6) Late Nights, and Laaaate Nights. If you end your weekend night at four in the morning here, you say to yourself, “Wow, what a late night.” And it is. If you end your night at four in the morning in Berlin your friends might tell you, “Why are you going back so early?” Eight in the morning was the new four in Berlin. And others had impossibly late nights that lasted into Sunday afternoon. Berlin redefined the word nightlife for me, and nowhere in the States even comes close.
7) The Subtleties. This was probably the one time in my life when I was not traveling, not visiting, but I was living in a different country. And there were so many things everyday that brought me back to this fact—clocks attuned to military time, Mercedes taxi cabs, little or no tipping at restaurants, strict adherence to cross-walking signs, mayonnaise on french fries, getting a haircut and them leaving more hair on the top than you wanted (German style), supermarket cashiers who sit in a chair, different cereals, different currency, different toilets—all of the differences, good or bad, that reminded me everyday that I was in a new, exciting place and made me glad to be a part of it all.