Despite my decidedly German last name, this is the extent of the language I know. Fortunately for me, there are many other languages being spoke in Berlin these days and everyone seems to be kept on the same page with English.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, being based in Europe is awesome.
Berlin is an interesting place. Dubbed one of the cheapest (western) European capitals, it benefits from having an influx of young go-getters tired of paying for $7 coffees in places like Paris and London.
Despite its tumultuous past, it feels young, fresh and very livable. Probably for those same reasons, it also remains one of the most visited places in all of Europe.
Checkpoint Charlie looks a little different than when I saw it in the early 90’s and has lost a little bit of its impact. Before, the original gates and razor wire remained and it looked like it did the day the Wall came down.
Now it’s a little island on a major thoroughfare sandwiched between a KFC and McDonald’s.
Obviously Berlin was heavily bombed so it doesn’t have the ornate pre-war architecture that a lot of other major European cities have.
What it lacks in that department it makes up for with an edgy, hip scene full of burgeoning artists, technology start-ups, and a whole spectrum of ethnic restaurants.
It feels like a place whose growth is heavily spurred by immigrants from all over the world.
We were in route to a family reunion a couple of hours outside of town so we didn’t have long to stay. However, we did get a nice overview of the city by joining up with the ever-famous Fat Tire Bike Tour.
Outside of the largest of Spanish cities, sometimes it can be hard to find good ethnic food when your palette wants a little change of pace. This is where Berlin was a welcome surprise.
Not only was there just about any type of food available, with a heavy emphasis on Asian, but you could also rely on getting some good, old fashioned German meat and potatoes too.
Me? I can’t get enough pork knuckle. Paired with the local brews and its hard to beat.