This is my second time in my beloved Germany. But Berlin somehow doesn’t feel like Germany to me. And no wonder, this city has been built up again by two foreign, very different, countries. It is a melting pot full of cultures and people from all over the world. A Rainbow city.
I have been looking forward to see Berlin for a while. I was always about to, near to, almost there, but never made it here. I guess, like everything else in life… it was about timing.
Berlin was gray and rainy when I arrived. I expected and hoped so. If it didn’t rain it wasn’t going to feel like Berlin.
Berlin is imposing, in-your-face kind of city. It is big and full of history. It was powerful, ruthless, destroyed and rebuilt and never, ever lost its strength. It is a die hard kind of place.
As I walked out of Alexander Platz station to find my hostel, I could feel history under my feet. The historic, relatively recent, events that happened here followed me block after block. I walk under the rain in a vibrant, intense atmosphere that lingers in the fresh air.
I collapsed on my bed in a shared room past midnight, I don’t know if it was the exhausting trip or the fierce energy of Berlin that took me by surprise. Unexpected hit.
Next morning, still raining, I walked out of the hostel and headed to the most famous spot: Brandenburg Gate. That way I can really acknowledge I was there.
It is still very interesting to me after over a year of travel, that when I get to a place I have seen so many times on TV, magazines or pictures they are so different from what I imagined them to be. I never feel disappointed by any famous spot. They could be bigger, smaller, dirtier or older than what I had thought but I am never disappointed. I accept them as they are. They stand tall, these monuments, fountains or towers, telling the world: Yes, this is me, like me? Don’t like me? It is no difference to me. I was here way before you and will still be here long after you are dust. I kinda admire that arrogance or confidence.
Anyways Brandenburg Gate was indeed magnificent. “This is Berlin” it proclaims. It was from here that the history of the world was changed forever. Terrible things began here, but they were huge whatsoever.
And Berlin is Huge. In all the senses of the word.
Coming from Rome, I can recognize a powerful city when I see it. Rome’s power may be long dead but Berlin’s is still there. Alive, pulsing and all over the place.
Later that day I visited the Jewish museum. It feels like a huge weight over you, a cold, gray place. Emptiness. Reflecting the memories of some of the darkest years in human history. Have we learned from our most cruel and inhuman ways?
Berlin of course is full of Turkish (amazing) food. Under the rain I headed to the Market and grabbed a freshly made Falafel. I ate this delicious mess standing under a canopy, observing with loving eyes all the other Arab culinary creations I am so fond of. Oh how beautiful Love is.
And I do Love this country. Every time I come to Northern Europe I feel more myself. Maybe because I am so impulsive and intense that a city like Rome, equally intense is too much, and our energies just explode together. But the colder North settles me down, it gives me the equilibrium I need. Ok, the Kebabs and Falafels have a defining role in this feeling… But the way of doing things here goes more with my personality, it gives me a steady ground.
I don’t want to leave. I want to keep being cold, and I want to get wet with the rain. I want to drink German beer and eat street food every day. I want to not understand the language, I want to be challenged by it. I want to feel I am at the center of the world. When you are in a strong city like this, you have no option but to feel strong yourself.
Comparing Berlin, one (if not The One) powerful Capital of the world, to The most powerful city in the ancient world like Rome, I can see chaos in both, I can see new and alive power in Berlin, and the skeleton of the giant that Rome was.
One powerful city long dead, the other in the climax of its glory.
Hello Glorious Berlin!