With three weeks of Easter break to fill, I have been taking the opportunity to travel around Europe. This past week I have been staying in Berlin. Although I previously spent six weeks in southern Germany, I regrettably did not make the time to travel up north and visit the nation’s capital. Returning after almost two years, I had forgotten how much I had enjoyed the little quirks of life that make Germany unique.
It was thrilling to rediscover favorite foods that had slipped my mind. I indulged in currywurst and döner, müesli with yogurt, peanut puffs, paprika potato chips, Spezi, and Milka chocolate bars. I savored the local produce and the many flavors of sparkling water offered in 1.5 L bottles for 0.69€ with a 0.25€ deposit. I crisscrossed the city on the U-Bahn and S-Bahn, never waiting for a late train or unsure of which stop was coming next. I ate lunch in the small parks dotted every few blocks, watching groups of friends and families with small children enjoying the fresh spring air. I crossed streets strictly according to the red and green men in wide-brimmed hats, rather than fighting for right of way as I do in England. I lounged in a plethora of imaginative coffeehouses and fought the urge to spend all my money in carefully curated bookstores. I wandered through neighborhoods admiring the graffiti on almost every surface, the poles covered in stickers and the windows papered with posters. I admired the wide variety of artistic expression that thrived in every corner.
Berlin is an amazing city, rich with history and culture, but I believe much of my enjoyment stemmed from the familiar comfort that I felt the moment I walked out of the airport. In the grand scheme of things, I have spent very little time in Germany and cannot claim to be an expert on German life. That being said, I thoroughly enjoy the little that I have experienced. Subtle aspects, such as the spacing between restaurant tables, and pervasive principles, such as the appreciation for expensive, but well-made products, feel right to me. I enjoyed Berlin immensely and I hope for the chance to return sooner rather than later.