Thursday, July 8, 2010

Berlin First Impressions

I love it. Berlin so far in the two days I've been here has surpassed all expectations and, depending on how the rest of the trip goes, most likely will take my pick as favorite city I've ever been to. It's like a mix of Madrid and Paris, with the best of both worlds. It has the history and sight-seeing of Paris mixed with the social and nightlife of Madrid as well as the great public transportation. Thomas (for those of you that don't know he is the friend I'm staying with here) has been amazing and has taken me around to all of the best sights. He's better than a tour-guide and he knows the history of nearly every building we pass.

Berlin as most of you know was split into two parts East and West. The architecture of the city reflects this as East side buildings have communist architecture and the west has architecture of France Britain and USA. Berlin is adamant on keeping their history when they rebuild and they have preserved/built onto old buildings while maintaining the older ones historically. An example of this is the wall which has been kept up and has historical pictures and descriptions next to them describing their significance.

the city is also very young. Many students come to study here and so the age of people is young, but the city itself is just beginning to become amazing. They have a lot of crazy buildings that were all finished within the last decade and they are constantly adding more. Another good thing about Berlin are the prices. The city itself is one of the poorer ones in Germany and that means the prices are ridiculous. It is not unheard of to get a meal for 2 euros. And just a showing we got 9 .5 liter bottles of quality beer at a store for less than 8 euros. Pretty crazy if you think about it.

The city has so much to offer with all sorts of different parts (the higher class downtown reminiscent of the area of Paris I was talking about with all of the fashion designers in contrast to an artist's street where they took old abandoned buildings and turned them into gallerys). Germany is all about keeping a hold of the past in order to make sure the same mistakes are not repeated. They are also into recycling old buildings (old war factories for example have been turned into massive night clubs) and many historic buildings have been turned into museums.

Anyways I can't talk enough good about it. I'm sure I haven't covered all parts and I'll go over what I've been doing in a later post but to sum it all up you should not go to Europe without visiting Berlin. It's constantly changing and in a few years it will only be better.

BTW: watched the Spain Germany game last night and as many of you know Germany lost which meant many people were sad, but the most interesting thing to me was that there is a tradition in Germany where this octopus will predict which team will win: and it has a 100% record so far for Germany haha. It picked Spain to win and they did and now people don't like Paul the Octopus anymore here. Read about it below

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