Rarely do I make expectations of cities and places. I’ve since learned to appreciate cities and places without much or any expectations at all. I learned to just go and enjoy and appreciate whatever the city has to offer.
In many cases for me, it’s always the interaction with the people that I meet that impacts my experience in a city. My experience with Paris, one of the world’s most visited and labeled as one of the most “romantic” city in the world, was very different from many who told me that it is “romantic and beautiful.” Don’t take me wrongly though as I like Paris – I was just there before going to Berlin – but I don’t think it’s “romantic”. Actually, it’s the last word I would describe Paris. But it is because of the friends that I’ve created in Paris that makes me visit it often. And through these friends, I’ve learned to appreciate Paris.
While travelling, I often meet people who like to suggest other places to visit. They say I have to visit this place and that place because of this and that reason. Berlin is one of these cities that people have always recommended me to go visit. Once they know that I like old buildings, culture, street art, eccentric culture, I often hear, “Hurly, you would really love Berlin.”
Well, I am here now.
And well, if you have been following this blog, you will notice that this is the first post since half a year ago.
Berlin inspired me to write this post. The late night conversations with new friends and strangers over wine and beer, a beautiful reunion, the thought provoking street art, the history, the thought provoking socio-political conversations with a stranger at a radical cafe…these experiences in Berlin inspired me and made me write again.
I’ve only spent a week in Berlin but it’s been a week that re-energized me. I am currently doing some short trips around Europe again while waiting for my flight in May to Thailand again. And quite honestly, travelling around Europe recently has rather been uninspiring and disappointing. The atmosphere is tense given the socio-economic and political climate. And politics is such common topics of conversations, especially that it is one of my interests. Yet it seems like every conversations that I have been having so far in my travel around many cities in Europe are filled with prejudice, hate and anger towards certain communities.
Berlin was different though. Among its many walls filled with street art are messages that are political, radical and inspiring. It is a beautiful city that is progressive and tolerant. I really like it. The progressive, liberal conversations I’ve had with the people that I’ve met here are so refreshing from the prejudiced, racist, hateful conversations I’ve heard so many times everywhere else.
I feel like my stay was really short though and I would really like to come back and explore and know Berlin better. Next year perhaps.