noelle and i were only in berlin for six days. and two of those days, we felt miserably sick. so i didn't get to see as much of the city as i would've liked. i didn't get a real feel for it, the way i did in spain and france and holland. but we got to stay with born-and-bread berliners, and i think that's what's most important. i'll see the rest on another visit :)
the contrast of berlin was shocking after over two weeks of roaming the quiet, clean, charming old streets of amsterdam. these cities are complete opposites.
berlin is loud and wild and grungy and expansive and new.
the most noticeable difference is the architecture. about half of all homes in berlin were damaged by bombing raids in WWII, and over 10 square miles of the city was reduced to just rubble. so many of the buildings look relatively new. and it's eery as hell to think of why---to imagine bombs dropping and destroying everything in the very area that you're seeing... to imagine the horror and the rebuilding and the mentality that went along with it all.
the streets in berlin are much wider than amsterdam's very narrow pathways. everything in berlin feels more spread out, less compact, more distant. graffiti covers absolutely everything at street level--doors, walls, posters, street signs, light poles---especially the east side. it's got this inexplicable young, rebellious vibe about it.
the food was fantastic. noelle and i had our best/cheapest dining experiences in berlin. we had a new cuisine every day and could actually AFFORD IT?! whaaat? ;)
the german language is more difficult for me to understand that any of the other languages i've been around this summer. but man is it beautiful. it's not nearly as harsh as the stereotype claims and its much less cacophonous than dutch. i adored hearing it.
germans are admittedly nottt the friendliest of folk. they tend to keep to themselves and be very to-the-point. that's of course not true for all, because we met some awesome, open people during our short week there.
but next time i go, i'd like to know more. to really integrate myself with all the beautiful people i saw on the east side streets. to spend time finding out what makes them tick.