Berlin is a cool city. It has impeccable nightlife, impeccable public transportation, and an impeccable art scene. Living there for a few months, I felt half tourist, half local. I soaked up the vitality and creativity. I felt the magical summer. And I saw other dimensions; things tourist guides don’t tell you, and locals don’t notice. I saw Berlin.
Unusual things I learned about Berlin
1.You can ride the tram and train for free because no one checks your ticket. If they do check and you don’t have one, it’s a 100 euro fine. It’s tempting to risk it but also dumb.
2. Recycling is the default. There’s a bin for compost, paper, plastic, brown glass, green glass, and clear glass. Berlin loves the Earth.
3. People “walk” their dogs while riding their bikes. (I hate this.)
4. Everyone is stylish; old people, bus drivers, the disabled, and kids. (I love this.)
5. Despite an open container law, no one is ever drunk and belligerent.
7. Beggars stand outside of banks. (Genius.)
8. It’s considered rude to talk or laugh loudly. (I’ve been hushed.)
9. Public displays of affection are omnipresent and raw. I’ve witnessed tongues twisting and fingers fondling. People get down for the getdown. No shame.
10. If a pedestrian walks on the bike path or a car fails to yield to a cyclist, pandemonium! Bow down, snitches. Cyclists rule.
11. Graffiti is taken very, very, very, seriously.
13. Ice cream is expensive. (Darn.)
14. Wine is not. (Yay.)
15. Berlin has fake beaches – parking lots filled with sand, lounge chairs, and umbrellas.
16. Heels aren’t a thing. Day at the park, sneakers. Night at the club, sneakers. Wearing a dress, sneakers.
18. Cashiers don’t hand your change to you. It’s placed on the counter.
19. Dogs are well-trained and well-groomed. (Pugs are the most popular.)
20. Toddlers ride bikes. They wear helmets, obey traffic lights, and don’t use training wheels!
21. Everyone speaks 2+ languages.
22. The best part about Berlin? You can be yourself. Tattooed face, blue hair, cheek-less pants? Fine. Girls with bald heads, men in high heels? Fine. Accept who you are and be proud of it. Berlin doesn’t want you to conform. Berlin wants you to be you.