Last September, as a last hoorah before my dear friend Katie moved back to Montreal, we headed to Berlin to visit a friend and see this wonderful European city that we had heard so much about.
This was my first time in Germany, though Zurich gave me an appetizer for the German language and frankfurters. As I imagined, the airport to city transition was fairly smooth, though we spent about ten minutes navigating the German ticket machine. Somehow switching the language to English didn’t help either. The weather was less than desirable. Very rainy. We arrived at our friend’s house, had a few drinks, then headed out for thai food. Though in Germany, all I wanted to do was eat foreign cuisine because it is something that I don’t have regular access to living in Rome. And boy did Berlin satisfy my longing for good thai food and the prices made me even happier. This super awesome city has a very low cost of living. For what I pay for my room in Rome I could have my own apartment and then some in Berlin!
Saturday we headed to the flea market at Boxhagener Platz, which was filled with vintage items, fresh juice, gourmet food and an all-around good time. The buildings were colorful and the stalls were enticing. I walked away with two pairs of earrings, a few necklaces, a couple of rings and a gorgeous vintage purse, which I circled back for. While trolling the market, we met an Egyptian man who lovingly referred to me as sister, the second stall owner to do so. It felt good. It felt good to be in a foreign country and be embraced simply because of the color of my skin. Let’s just say it isn’t something that happens that often in Europe. We spent about 30 minutes talking to him. He shared his stories with us. He had been in Germany for years. His stall was a bit of a hobby for him. He sold us things. Beautiful things. And he made us laugh.
As the sun poked its head out from the clouds, we began removing the layers and began the historic tour. We saw the remnants of the Berlin wall, Checkpoint Charlie and Parliament. We read stories of the lives that were affected by the divide and reflected in silent solace, grateful to be reading about this history as opposed to living it.
The time I spent in Berlin was not enough. I long to go back. I would love to live there, but there is always the problem of finding a job. It is a great city for creative types. Very inspirational. Great shopping. Great food. Great bars. It definitely has earned its way on to my short list of favorite European cities. Below are a few of the photos that I took.