Berlin was so engaging there wasn’t any time for me to think about a post. Now that I’m waiting for my flight to Brussels, here are some highlights:
Obviously I drank a lot of beer. This is at Brauhaus Lemke in Mitte.
- Exploring the different neighborhoods and parks. I really liked Mitte, Kreuzberg, and the area around the East Side Gallery. At night I went to a cool bar on the east side of town with a hip hop show that was so much fun!
- Cycling. I was able to get a bike thanks to the BikeSurf community, which provides shared bikes at a pay-what-you-want rate. Berlin is safe and friendly for bikers and as someone who cycles around at home, it felt really comforting and natural to zoom around all day.
- Food! I ate so much for so cheap. I had tons of coffee and a lot of Turkish food. You could go out for every meal and never get tired of your options.
- Green space. Berlin has lots of parks around the city and ACTUAL trees. Amsterdam was making me feel claustrophobic with all the pavement. I noticed the difference in the atmosphere as soon as I arrived in Berlin. Viktoria Park is especially pretty and has a large hill offering a great view if the city. Just sitting in the grass there was so restoritive and badly needed after 3 days of running around.
Sunset along the Spree
- The art was great and there are too many things to say about it for this post. The street art, the independent galleries, the public exhibitions and sculptures. The city changes visually everyday. And then there are all the museums I didn’t even set foot in.
- The people! Really friendly people were everywhere and very interested in chatting if it was possible (I don’t really know German). I had conversations with people from every continent and hearing what brought them to the city and why they like it was amazing. There were a lot of smiles and lots of laughter.
I think I will need to go back for more someday.
Thanks for reading,
A treat waiting for me in every major city of my upcoming trip: a bike tour or bike for borrowing! I could not be more excited to see Amsterdam, Berlin and Brussels from a bike seat.
The first time I took to the streets of a new city by bicycle was on an autumn trip to Los Angeles with my mom. She picked out an amazing bike tour of L.A. public and street art, which became private tour as everyone else in the group dropped out due to threat of rain.
View of Madrid bike lanes at night
Our guide was young and completely immersed in the art scene and did a fabulous job taking us 10 miles or so around the city over the course of 4 hours (more about that tour here). He got a bit carried away with his own enthusiasm for his city, and also took us to see historical buildings and even tried to sneak into a studio of a well-known former street artist – and I mean literally sneak in. Maybe because we could have so easily fled on our bikes if we were seen? It was a ton of fun and revealed a side of the city that we did not know was there.
Because we were a group of three, all cyclists, we were a nimble and compact group able to zoom through traffic and across neighborhoods of every kind. My mom and I got the feeling that we had seen the city in a way we could never have just on foot or by using a car. Biking gave us freedom of movement while also keeping us open to the noise, smells and sights of the city.
An afternoon ride in rainy Tacoma
Since then, I’ve had the privilege of cycling in several American and European cities, usually with a bike sharing program or simply borrowing one from an Air BNB or other host. It’s always been a lovely way to get to know a place and very useful in dense urban areas.
At home in Minneapolis I’m a part-time bike commuter, bike for transportation to social commitments and spend time with friends on random rides around the city in a cycle-friendly wardrobe.
Thank you for reading,