Where to begin with this post. My visit to Berlin was so interesting because it was more than just the tasty food or the great city views. The reminders of what happened in Germany are everywhere, from the gold bricks on the floor to symbolize when the Nazis took people out of their houses, to the remains of the Berlin Wall and the graffiti art that artists made to symbolize a new dawn. Throughout the city you will see a line of different colored bricks that mark where the Berlin wall was put up – incredible to imagine a whole city being divided by a wall. I remember overhearing a Jewish coworker of mine once saying how he will never step into Germany because of what happened. I’m curious to know how my other Jewish friends feel about this, and would love to have some conversations with them about it. Of course it was a horrible, horrible event in history, and it’s not far enough in the past where we don’t have relatives that were involved in it so it makes sense if people would still be uneasy and not willing to go there. As for me, it was very eye-opening and sobering to see this in person, even without getting too in depth with visiting the camps (which would be really hard). The city has many, many memorials for different groups that were persecuted and you can feel the guilt that it still carries. However, I appreciated that they are not trying to forget what happened, but still talk about it and remember it. I think it shows progress of the nation, and hopefully serves as a reminder of what should never happen again.
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I have had such a fantastic time in Berlin – it really is such a great city! I probably wouldn’t have come through this way if Robert didn’t live here, but I’m so glad he moved here hehe. Robert was an amazing host (his apt is siiick, bonus!) and he made sure to take me around to a bunch of different spots and teach me about as much history about the city as he could in 3 days. We even had German lessons – I can successfully say 2 words in German now, good job Robbers! I’m so proud of him for making this move here, and for sticking it out even when things didn’t go exactly as planned. He’s settling in really well in Berlin and is experiencing so much more than he would have been had he stayed in his NYC bubble. Major props, my friend.
Things I noticed about Berlin:
– The typical breakfast here is fantastic! Lots of meats, cheeses and veggies. Everything tastes so fresh, and it was a much needed change from my typical pastries. Oh yea, and their coffees are HUGE here! I felt like a kid in a candy store when I got my order! The service however is just as bad as France, oh well.
– Everyone has a dog and these dogs can go everywhere: in restaurants, on the bus and in the subway. And I’m not even talking about the little prissy dogs people fit in their purses either, but fortunately the dogs are all super well behaved.
– There are a lot of reminders and memorials about the Holocaust (more on that later.) Germany is definitely still apologizing for what happened.
– The dance party scene rocks. We hit up an outdoor bar with some of Robert’s friends the first night and danced until 5am. It was exactly what you would think of with the Berlin scene: grungy and dark, with lots of people wearing leather and rocking out to techno music. It was as if we were all dancing together because everyone was into the music. I had a total blast. You Germans know how to have a good time.
– The birthday tradition here is different in that the birthday boy/girl throws and pays for their own party. Robert took me to a birthday bowling party for one of his good friends which was also a lot of fun and it was great to get to meet some of his friends here.
– Biergartens and bratwurst. Just as awesome as you would imagine. Love!
– Its not as difficult to get a job here as it is in other European cities even if you don’t speak German (well it would be a lot easier if you did, but there are opportunities for the English speakers.) It’s possible to get a temp visa and then your work will typically provide a working visa for you. Hmmm, idea! Working in Europe for a few years is something I still want to do, so you never know…
Graffiti art along the Berlin Wall
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