Observations, Berlin

Berliners are surprisingly disappointing dressers for an artistic, liberal city. The uniform is black, grey or army green jacket, sometimes in leather, jeans, and a hoodie or jumper. Muted colours reign.

Young people in Berlin laugh loudly, to the point where I often jump in surprise when it happens. This is nice. There are lots of kids and teens around, too.

They still smoke in bars in Berlin, strangely since most Euro countries have banned smoking indoors.

Dogs, big dogs, are regularly with their owners in everyday life. Like in a bookstore, train, cafe, gallery and so on. They are not designer dogs and are not just going for a walk.

The surface stereotypes of typical young Berlin life: donuts are big, and also drinking and staying out late, karaoke, photo booths, doner kebabs, and the ever present currywurst. Living in Neukolln is cooler and more authentic than Kreuzberg, and cheaper, but you may have to put up with a coal heater (if you're hardcore enough).

Berlin is quiet. It is not bustling and over populated. There is always a seat on the train, and park bench free and space in a store or street to walk, even in the busiest parts of town and busy attractions.

Berliners are quick to tell each other off and vocally get pissy at each other (ahem, and me) if they behave badly. They crack it if you say ride slowly or on the wrong side of the bike track, are j walking, standing in the door of the train rather than moving down, and so on. 

The tradition of DIY lives on in squats, people making camp in caravans by the river, bars that are illegally run from apartments, and so on. I think those movements are probably entering into the zone of being more cliched than exciting and experimental these days, but that is just a guess.


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Anna Metcalfe is a content maker, word writer and editor of things.