It’s a matter of resonance. I finally understand why I feel so much for Berlin – not only the city, its people as well. I like Berliners. I watch them with curiosity and admiration. Young people, families, children… The best place to watch them is the U-Bahn. I like how they talk in a low voice. I like that they read. I like the way they dress, out of synch with trends, in sync with themselves. I like how couples hold hands and lean on each other’s shoulders. It’s beautiful. It’s refreshing. It’s inspiring.
So this might be it, I concluded. It’s about resonance. I resonate with Berlin and, most importantly, with its people. I am next to them and I know our thoughts are similar. This makes me feel good. It connects me with them and, in a broader sense, with their city. We are edgy, yet we are kind. We are considerate of the other while enjoying our own freedom in the city that allows us to be ourselves. We make eye contact. We like to wear black. We like to hold hands. We like the U-Bahn. We love Berlin.
I wrote this in October 2016, on a previous trip to Berlin. Having returned from the city again yesterday, I thought of these words and looked them up in my diaries. Two years later and my feelings for Berlin are unchanged. So I leave these words here, together with some fresh photos taken in the city over the last few days.
In Mitte we had our hotel, our favourite place to have a healthy breakfast, the place where we patiently queued for ice-cream every evening, and the romantic restaurant where we dined on our last evening in Berlin. I still think Mitte makes the perfect base for a stay in the city.
Oh, Friedrichshain! Whatever we did and wherever we went, we still ended up in Friedrichshain every day. Not that it was on our way to other neighbourhoods – it was not. But this is where we came to feel the Berlin vibe over and over again. On a bench facing Boxhagenerplatz – or on any other street in the area – a beer in hand, we sat and watched the world go by. To me, that is simply the best thing to do in Berlin. When we got dizzy, we went for lunch at the Vietnamese restaurant facing the square, and there, too, we had to return because we simply loved the food. And the view. And Friedrichshain.
I know Kreuzberg is the neighbourhood to visit when in Berlin, and so we came here on this occasion, as well. Just like before, I did not feel it. Perhaps it’s the tourists. Perhaps I am missing something out. Either way, our visit was short.
Prenzlauer Berg is an ex-lover. A handsome ex no longer interesting because handsome only gets boring after a while. We went for a walk one day, but we didn’t even stay for coffee. We just admired the beautiful apartment buildings along the gentrified streets, then got in the tram direction Friedrichshain to spend time in a place less sanitized and more real.