During my recent trip to Paris, I’ve also visited Berlin. It was for only 2 days, and it was my first time in Germany, but I still want to write a little something about it because I LOVED it.
- People! I always had the stupid impression that the Germans are cold and unfriendly. Man, was I wrong! Berliners are super nice and almost all of them can speak English really well. All the problems I experienced in Paris vanished when I went to Berlin. Oh, how happy I was when I was ordering in English and not dying.
- Speaking of people, as much as I loved Berliners, I wasn’t fond of the amount of Turkish people there was. This may sound strange, but when I’m away from home, I like to be immersed with the local culture. I don’t like to come across with other Turks, it makes me nervous somehow. I don’t know why. So yeah, I knew Berlin was sort of Little Turkey, but I was NOT expecting THAT.
- I said the same thing for Paris – and maybe this is a general thing about Europe – but I loved the parks in Berlin. My favorite was Tempelhofer Park (pictured on the left). It used to be an airport, and now they’ve turned it into a park. What an amazing idea! It’s this vast, green, beautiful space that just gives you… piece.
- The public transportation, man. Coming from Istanbul, I’m always a fan of a good, organized public transportation and Berlin does great on that. And I probably wasn’t the only one doing that so I don’t feel bad saying this. It’s sort of… free. I mean not really. But really. Wink wink. So you don’t have to go through a turnstile or swipe a card to open the doors or something, they just trust you to buy the ticket and hope for the best. For two days, I used U-Bahn several times, didn’t pay once, got lucky. But I heard stories that other people got caught. So you didn’t hear this from me.
- Speaking of trains, careful with where you want to go and which train you jump on. We were going to Alexanderplatz from somewhere in the city, we asked the guy there which train to take, and he showed us. We jumped on it, nobody stopped us, and yes, it was passing through Alexanderplatz but it was also going to Hanover. Thankfully, we realized it before it had moved so we got off the train on time, but had they asked us a ticket, we would’ve been screwed.
- The bars were really cool. Very hipstery but not as douchy. People are fun, too! I especially liked Klunkerkranich Rooftop Beergarten (pictured above). It’s on top of a mall – basically the last place I would expect a cool bar – and has great view, great vibe and great environment.
- Which reminds me. To me, Berlin had this New York vibe to it. Specifically Brooklyn. The streets, the hole in the wall type bars, the way people act, everything. I felt like I was back in New York – a cheap and close-to-home New York. Like a dream come true.
- And yeah, can you believe how cheap Berlin is?! Not just the food, the drinks, everything! We went to Primark in Alexanderplatz (yes, I am a tourist, thank you very much) and went NUTS. You would, too.
- Street art. Berlin is like a big canvas; the buildings, the bridges, the trash cans, the walls – you can find art anywhere!
- Well, this part is not specific to Berlin, but it’s the first and only place I’ve tried it. Couchsurfing! I was pretty glad we did it; it was free, the person we stayed with was not only not creepy, but also super helpful. He showed us around, kept us company. (Well, the strangest part was that he was a French guy living in Berlin who can speak Turkish! Unreal.) I was happy that we went with Couchsurfing and not a cheap hostel type of situation.
I’ve also visited Amsterdam for 2 days as well on this trip, but I can’t seem to remember that part well, because reasons. I shall write it as soon as it comes back to me.