Berlin Comes Alive

Actually, Berlin, in and of itself, is alive. Within 30 seconds of taking the S-bahn from Hauptbahnhof towards Friedrichshain, I knew Berlin would be a gem. A hot-bed of creativity, music, art, startups with an active nightlife, it’s no wonder ex-pats from the world over come to and then are charmed to stay in Berlin to make it their new homeland. Perhaps Berlin’s history as the capital city joining the Germanic feudal states in 1871 after the Napoleonic wars has something to do with it, or its reunification in 1989 when the Berlin Wall came down after having separated the East from the West after 28 years.

Berlin is diverse not only in its people, but also in it’s land and land use. Scattered about are pockets of land that exist for people to use in the manner that they choose: unique playgrounds and jungle gyms for kids and adults, a rock climbing wall part of an outdoor club/venue, an abandoned amusement park that is now locked up, an old airport that people now use as a recreation space for running, biking, bbqing, rollerblading, and walking their dogs.

And in fact, it is in Berlin that I first truly felt that Autumn was here. With no lack of parks, squares, or forests, trees are everywhere and the colors of the changing leaves come alight, dancing whether set against the  weathered Berliner Dom, at Boxhagener Platz where the Sunday flohmarkt takes place, or a graffitied wall. The leaves become part of the setting, and once winter arrives, they will fall to create a new setting, as if an analogy for Berlin: transient and constantly evolving.

Berlin–beautiful, inspiring, alive. In 1963, JFK said the following in response to the erection of the Berlin Wall:

“…All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words ‘Ich bin ein Berliner'”