Everyone needs to get away, sometimes. Whether it’s from the place you grew up in, or a city with too many stories, or just somewhere you've become too familiar with, the world is full of new exciting places to explore and call home. As a young girl growing up in the rural US state of New Mexico, I never imagined my life would one day take me to the cosmopolitan streets of Europe's fastest growing city, Berlin.
After catching the travel bug during a year exchange to the UK, I put all my efforts into making it back to Europe once I graduated. With a friend already living in this fascinating place, and it being the most reasonably priced city in Europe, I decided to give it a try … and I haven’t looked back since.
This city provides so much incredible history combined with one of the youngest and hippest crowds in the world. It sometimes feels like the only people here are between the ages of 20-38, and are here doing what they love; investing in their own futures and in the city's at the same time. Berlin is now considered the startup capital of Europe, and there are young people flooding in from all over the world, looking to be part of it. I was lucky enough to find a job with a coffee startup gourmesso.com, and it's been a great opportunity. Working in Berlin can usually mean you conduct your day-to-day activities in English, sharing thoughts and ideas with Germans, Italians, Spaniards, British, Turkish, Eastern Europeans, and that’s only in a small company.
The last six months have been full of new experiences, people, languages, jobs.... more than I could ever imagine. But enough about me, let me show you just how unique Berlin can be, and the flavors this city offers to those who call it home.
Monday in Berlin.
Many of the startup companies in Berlin have rooftop offices, with amazing views like this one.
After work, the favorite hangout spot for many people in the city is the main canal running through the district of Kreuzberg. There's plenty of little stores affectionately called spati's where you can grab a drink and sit by the water.
There's so much history to find in the once divided city. Just a close train ride from my office at trip.me and I can be at the last standing piece of the Berlin Wall. It's something awe-inspiring to really reflect on all the situations and changes the streets of Berlin have witnessed, and how the new atmosphere of the city is influenced by it. This photo shows one of the iconic murals on the remaining section of the Berlin Wall, now called the East Side Gallery.
The winters are long and cold in Berlin, but they create a sort of mystical atmosphere in the city.
The Brandenburgertor (or Brandenburg Gate) is the most famous former gate between East and West Berlin, and is one of the main attractions of the city. At all hours of the day and night you can find people from all over the world standing in front of the towering pillars, taking in its granduer.
The Berliner Dom is the most famous cathedral in Berlin. In the evenings you can catch a concert by the Berlin Philharmonic inside under the beautiful dom.
Once the sun comes out, things get interesting. The carnival celebration happens every year in May, just as the city comes to life for the summer time. The street parades and all-day parties take up an entire district of Berlin, and you can find everyone enjoying the sun and good vibes.
Everybody here knows how to have a good time.
If you enjoy jogging, riding a bike, long boarding, roller skating, or just having a picknick in a wide open space, then Tempelhof is the place to go. This former airport was used by the US Airforce during World War II to provide supplies to the residence of West Berlin, and it has since been turned into a public park. Lay out on the runways, in the grass, or make your way over to the beer garden... there is always something interesting going on in Tempelhof.
There really is something unique around every cornere here. Things like the horse head in the photo below become the norm after living in Berlin for a few months, and people who have been here for years barely even bat an eye any more. It might even be stranger if Berlin lost its wacky vibes.
Almost every weekend you can find a free concert somewhere in the city, ones playing everything from electronic music, to folk, to rock, even some Austrian polka, or open air Salsa and Samba. Below is a photo from the Fete de la Musique, which is a whole weekend of 100's of live, free concerts all over the city.
There is so much more still to discover and see in this incredibly diverse, spectacular city, and it's only been six months. Every day brings something new. The only way to really get a taste of it is to come explore it for yourself. I highly recommend that you do, and be sure to spend enough time here to really get to know the dark beauty that is Berlin.