Thinking about a city trip? Berlin is the place to make new discoveries!
I randomly booked a trip to the German capital about two weeks ago. I had a small budget, so I searched the Internet for cheap flight tickets. Eventually I found a two-way passage from Rotterdam to Berlin for 66 Euros! Now just fix a place to stay and I was set to fly off… I decided to look for cheap hostels near the city centre and (lucky me) found one that offered a 4-night stay for 60 euro, yaaaaay!
The week after I was sitting in the plane, full of excitement, wondering what new experiences I would have. I had great expectations of Berlin, which were fulfilled but not exactly in the way I expected them to be… I thought I would arrive in an extremely modern airport, well organized, clean, maybe even fancy but that wasn’t the case. It all looked pretty old-fashioned, as if I had gone back in time and had landed in the 60s or so. I didn’t speak a tiny bit of the language but could understand a considerable amount of words, as German was similar to Dutch.
I made my way to the train station and while I was travelling north towards the area were my hostel was (in Gesundbrunnen– I will never forget the name of that station), I started having my first impression of the city (and it’s citizens). First of all it is a very multicultural and mixed citizenry. Then, it also came to my attention that people from Berlin have adopted a rough style/ appearance, which makes them seem depressed and rebellious. This might have remained a way of self-expression people use to express all the suffering the city had gone through in its past. The style of people actually reflects the decadent, messy, destroyed appearance that remained in Berlin and had been conserved to remember the past. The deeper I started observing the more beautiful and enchanting the city became.
Art, history and culture are a major theme in every corner of the city. Ranging from different time periods you can find a variety of creations or simply conserved areas of the city that tell fascinating stories about Berlin’s past. The place that I thought was most characteristic of the trashy style the city possesses is Haus Schwarzenberg in the area of Spandauer Vorstadt. It is one of the hidden jewels of urban culture. In the 90’s students and artists transformed the place into an oasis of colors with their elaborate graffiti. The impressive street art paintings found here are conserved as a monument. Other jewels of Berlin, I believe, are the Neue Synagogue and the Berliner Dom. Both the church and the synagogue are a symbol of the city’s early multicultural sphere. They can literally be considered jewels, as they are the shiniest and imposing buildings I have encountered there.
Of course my list of favourites is infinite… haha. Berlin has showed me many unexpected sides and hasn’t ceased to surprise me throughout my whole stay. I was literally running around with excitement until the very last day of my trip. If you are looking for inspiration or if you simply love art, want to discover a new culture, or want to get new perspectives (from the old ;)), then you’ll probably find yourself on the plane to Berlin in the near future…