Friday, February 5, 2016

Ich Bin Eine Berliner

If Prague is the Louvre, Berlin is the haphazard pages of a child's coloring book.

Mostly decimated after WWII and then immediately split into opposing sectors, each instructed to demilitarize Germany (read: blow the living crap out of anything the Nazis could potentially use against any of the Allies or the Soviets), Berlin has barely had a chance to live. It is the youngest 800 year old city that I can think of because, as a modern state, it's really only 27. I'M older than modern Berlin.

What it lacks in eye-catching architecture, it makes up for in charm. Free museums, impressive graffiti, affordable restaurants boasting all kinds of international cuisine, bakeries with freshly made goods, and history - albeit oppressive history - around every corner. Most of the buildings, even the ones in former West Berlin, are pretty dreary looking, and reminiscent of times where grey, concrete slabs were the height of fashion and then off efficiency. But artists - both commissioned and not - have lifted their brushes (or rather, their spray cans) and have added some color to an otherwise very drab city.

Even though the buildings lack panache and I'm starting to believe that there is one loud ambulance for every fifth person in this city, Berlin has a certain je ne sais quoi, and I really like it.

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