I did some couchsurfing (as I always try to do) and I couldn’t have been more fortunate to have met two amazing hosts who shared to me their Berlin.
Filip, from Croatia and now trying to live his dream in Berlin introduced me to his neighborhood in Neukölln. He lives with 2 roomates – Markus and August who are equally as fun to hang out with. I actually got a poster from August who works at a theatre and gave me a poster of a play as a souvenir.
One sunny Saturday, Filip, a new friend Melanie and I went to Potsdam, a city 24 kilometres southwest of Berlin’s city center. If you are looking to get away from Berlin for the day, Potsdam is a great city to visit. It’s got a different charm from that of Berlin. It actually reminded me of Versailles. It was a beautiful day with beautiful company and we took our time, walking and exploring, talking, enjoying the sun and the scenes around.
It was an awesome experience staying with Filip. We shared lots of stories of travels, dreams, life and relationships. There’s not a lot of people that I meet who can connect to deeper issues and it’s always a great experience when I meet someone who can make you think, dream and feel inspired. I look forward to reconnecting again with him in the future.
My 2nd host, Hennes lives in Schöneberg which is a more modern area of town – kind of a contrast to the street art filled neighboorhood of Neukölln. Hennes is one of the most easy going person I’ve met. He is always smiling even as he smokes his cigar by the balcony of his apartment. He took time even with his busy schedule to show me his favorite areas of Berlin and sharing our stories along the way. I know I will see him again next time I come to Berlin.
I was also able to connect with an old friend who I met in Joao Pessoa, Brazil, on the 1st year of this crazy enriching world journey. Now, after about 3 years, we met again, in Berlin, Germany. One of the many reunion stories that I share to the people that I’ve met as an example that there will always be some opportunity somewhere, sometime to meet and reconnect again.
Also, while in Berlin, I have been going to this cafe in Berlin many times since I discovered it. On my last day in Berlin, I decided to again hang out there with my computer and coffee. I noticed for the first time that they have this nice notice/warning/message posted in one of the walls of the cafe.
“In this place no physical or verbal insult that is racist, homophonic, sexist or transphobic in content is tolerated. The perpetrators involved in any physical or verbal attack will be expelled from the café. Everyone here is responsible for upholding this.”
What an amazing inclusive space message. I think that we need more of these messages everywhere to promote safe and inclusive space.
Later that afternoon in the same cafe, I met this guy Amine who’s refreshing views on socio-cultural and political issues are inspiring and enriching. As I mentioned in a previous post, traveling around Europe has been a little bit disappointing given the tense atmosphere brought about by recent political events that brought back this idea of nationalism and prejudice towards others. I miss being in a progressive, liberal, open minded city and my conversations with Amine made me realize that I actually really like Berlin.
I can’t wait till I am back in this city again.