Well not quite yet…
Myself and fellow Euroviews reporter Mercedes Robles are dining late night Berlin style, our route to our hostel has been severely deterred thanks to our decision to fly late night… Berlin style, but none the less we made it to the Holy Grail that is our home for the next week, all be it at four in the morning.
After a night of floating around on the nocturnal buses, waking up in between periods of sleep, deciphering the train system (somebody needs to write a song about the lack of S45’s running at night) and asking locals for directions in our best German accents- it’s about the roof of the mouth action, we’ve learnt- we took to Berlin with notebooks, cameras and just enough coffee in hand.
If Berlin wasn’t so renowned for being Berlin, we’re sure it would win some sort of architectural award. The high street is a beautiful sea of quirky structures that would do well on TED’s top architectural buildings of 2015 and David Bowie’s favourite places to wear fabulous clothes.
Amongst the hustle and bustle of what seemed to be some sort of high street, we negotiated our way into a coffee place which was typical of Berlin: with its arty interior and highly delightful selection of cultural based magazines I could read, instead of writing this piece.
Other drops of quiz knowledge included a highly expensive art frenzy waiting for us and that electronic music is the music of the future… but we already knew that.
By now Google maps was our best friend and the tube was following just behind as we debated between the direction of the stylised tube windows that flew past us, efficiently on time of course- how very German.
Berlin like every other capital is well connected: buses, trains and metros are more frequent than my newly ascertained ability to embarrass myself when pronouncing German words and the diversity of the individuals that walk the streets proudly show the image that the city has crafted for itself.
There lurks an energy that seems to be only apparent in the city itself and its force decided to make itself known when we turned up outside the Bundestag. There was something magical about looking at such a revered building, despite it just being well…a building. I began to get all nostalgic-to think, Angela could have been inside there, debating, thinking, and maybe even moving chess pieces instead of lending money to Greece; I wanted to run in and ask her how she was but that involved joining a line longer than the process of trying to become an EU member.
The German flags flew high and mighty, as they rippled through the brutish wind that destroyed any chance of my piece to camera looking good, the blue stars of Europe also stood tall next to the black, red and gold, as we thought of Germany’s position on the international stage and were reminded that they’re actually alright despite their obsessions with punctuality.
Back in the 2000, the mayor described the city as “poor but sexy”- this was his best way of marketing something that had clearly gone past its sell by date. The centre was definitely not poor (“how many euros for a latte?!”) but we’ve yet to explore our real niche of interest- Kreuzberg.
The current predicament Berlin is facing is a problem known as ‘Gentrification’; it’s really not as bad as the disease it sounds to be. Basically, property prices are flying up as the creative class seek the new hotspots the German god’s have provided for them and the younger generation aren’t too keen as A) now they have to pay more for living and B) now they can’t pay more, they have to move.
For Mercedes and myself, we want to dig deep into the dark underbelly of Berlin and find the neighbourhoods most affected by what one would assume to be a benefit for the city; we hope to tell you the stories of those affected but by also those who are coming in to the city. We also just sort of want to see people squatting and do a lot of cultural stuff- all looks good on Facebook, you see.
As I currently type away, Mercedes is planning our route to the Entrepreneurial conference we are going to have to pretend to like people at, so for the moment but with a very excited spring in our German steps- this is Guten Tag!