Late night post here. As always when it’s 11.30pm and I’ve planned to have a good night’s sleep, an idea will wrestle me awake! And well, here we are. I’ve been struggling to write about my recent trip to Berlin and it’s a tricky one. I loved it the 3 last times I visited, and I mean really loved it. I was under its spell. But this time – it just wasn’t there for me. Now I don’t know if it was me, the time of year (freezing, worse-than-London freezing), or a case of too high expectations.
Let me show you what I loved about Berlin the first time round. First of all, I hung out with friends, locals to the area and my trips were a good mix of independent exploring and being led like a little child to the local much-loved places.
The only thing really missing from my little photo gallery is the humour and energy of the people. People happy to chat to you or make a comment about life wherever you are: museum, just passing by on the street, café, wherever.
Then we fast forward to my last trip in December/January, and well, I didn’t explore as much (because I hate the cold) and it ended up being that I saw a whole lot of Berlin’s nightlife and the inside of the flat I stayed in instead. I still visited some of my favourites like Transit, Milja und Schafa and discovered some new favourites like Glory Duck – but on the whole I think the picture was skewed because I mainly saw the night.
And lets talk about the night shall we? Berlin is outstanding for clubbing, bars are brimming all over the streets; I celebrated New Year’s Eve there and they really know how to ring in the New Year. But the truth is, I’m not a huge partier – so it’s only now, weeks later that it’s dawned upon me that that may have been the reason I wasn’t so enamoured with my experience this time around. Upon realising that it is such a part of what Berlin does well, I think I subconsciously thought – well maybe Berlin and I aren’t quite what I thought we were?
Ground this revelation in the fact that I saw myself possibly moving here in the future and it had previously been in my top places in the world (still is, I’m not that fickle) when I got home and poised my fingers on my laptop keyboard – I was a bit stumped on what to write.
But now as I sit in my room in London and my Berlin Lonely Planet guide peers at me from my ‘travel corner’, I realise this was a good thing. Very often, you can fall in love with a place and end up romanticising it in your head, travel can do that. But this was a good way for me to realise that Berlin is still a ‘real life’ place, with seasons that come and go and ups and downs. At least now if I do move there, I wont expect some fairly tale movie or for La La Land scenes of my life to play before my eyes; I can shake the glitter off and just appreciate the beauty of Berlin for what it is. And you know what? It’s still pretty damn awesome.
Check out my good friend and travel companion Grace’s review of Berlin and her favourite spots in (Re)visiting the Magic of Berlin.