We were chewing on some wasabi-coated nuts and pondering the possibility of lukewarm beer as we were sitting on the train, quickly rushing through the night. The train conductor announced our following stop, Rathenow, and between yet another handful of wasabi nuts, we started talking about the merit of cities. We might have been a bit primed by the previous stops, but somehow there was this somber realization in the air that most of those places were not even on our radar, as far as cities are concerned. Liam, who had already stated his desire to move to Berlin prior to going to the place, was mildly amused by my clear disregard for medium-sized cities. Yet about an hour later, our train pulled into Berlin main station, and we stood on one of the top floors, peering down into the massive structure, Berlin quietly scored the match point in the aforementioned contest for attention.
I had gone together with just about everyone from Den Haag and Anika had joined from the far East for what was going to be a 4 day marathon of walking through the city with wide-open eyes, eating cupcakes, going out, hunting for fries at 4 in the morning (which was somehow never accomplished), and trying to get some hours of sleep, before it happened all over again. We would visit some touristy hotspots for the newcomers and then end up at some other old and new favorites— the eerily vacated Tempelhof airport, a playground in Tiergarten, vegetarian Döner, clubs looking like living rooms with white and transparent LPs, glass elevators to the 16th floor and all whilst absorbing the atmosphere of the city. After a few weeks spent primarily sitting at the desk, everything seemed crazily vibrant.
My main impression of Berlin keeps on being the fact that just so much is going on— at any point of the day. Anika and I would squeeze onto the tram at Alexanderplatz, and it was packed full of people, entertaining us until we reached our destination. On the downside, this also meant that there was just too much to do for the limited amount of time we had. So much food had to be eaten, and if only to celebrate the fact that it was so cheap. I suppose we will all have to reassemble next year and go for another round. And now I’ll let some pictures say more than the proverbial thousand words. (See more of them here or check out the flickr slideshow for higher-resolution images).