photo: Deutsch for Dich
Earlier this month marked my third year anniversary of living in Berlin. Though I have a permanent WG in Schillerkiez (the best Kiez in Berlin), a handsome German boyfriend with no interest in polyamory (the holy grail!), and a close-knit group of hilarious friends, I still don’t feel like a true Berliner.
Why? Because I don’t speak German.
I can read and understand most things, but every time I try to say something other than “Tschüs!” I freeze.
When I was visiting family in the USA a few months ago, I was amazed at my charisma. I was cracking jokes with the Waffle House waitresses, articulately asking for directions to the nearest Target and politely inquiring where the Kombucha section was in Whole Foods. I couldn’t believe how confident and shiny I was, not just around my family and friends, but out in the real world. Who was this girl? In Berlin, I shrink inside of myself every time I have to speak German with anyone. Upon returning and feeling my shiny-self dull more and more, I decided that learning German was no longer some frivolous thing expats like me talk about doing, it’s something that I needed to do order to let my true self shine.
Lycra, lights, DJs, sweat and slings. This could be another night at Berghain, but instead we find ourselves at the Velodrom at the 107th Six Day Berlin race– the world’s oldest six-day bike race- thanks to the kind invitation of GASAG who is one of the sponsors of the event. Do you want to experience it as well? We have tickets for you to win!
Berlin is a city of bikers. We use bikes to get around town and to work more so than most people in other large cities. And, most of us have a close relationship with bikes. They can be a fashion accessory. They get you where you need to go. And, they are generally more reliable than the last person you talked to on Tinder (just don’t park it near Kotti, otherwise it will also disappear).
photos: Felix Russell-Saw
Sometimes I wonder if our generation is more obsessed with fairy tales than previous ones. Faced with a reality of the gig-economy, serial dating and an all too uncertain future, who can really blame us? And honestly, nothing prepares you for life in Berlin quite like a steady diet of stories about abandonment, witches and cute animals. The revelation that fairy tales are not real (for better or worse) is one of the milder let-downs of adult life. As grown-ups, we just have to conjure up our own magic. The good thing about this is that we can be whoever we want to be. Siding with the witch, especially if she is beautiful and satisfyingly revengeful might be the best choice in the end.
I have met a lot of people in Berlin and despite an excellent memory I surely don’t remember all of them. Few people became part of my personal lore and some just vanished. And there is one that managed to do both: I call him Hansel.
illustrations: Berk Karaoglu
I came across an article offering “Unique Ways to Meet Quality People”. Since dating apps have become a haunt for the visually unfortunate and dull over the last years I was keen to find other options to acquire a “quality” mate. Please humor me when I say that I’m not quite sure how to spot a “quality person” in the wild and the guide offers little advice on that matter. But I wasn’t going to be stopped by such a minor obstacle. I followed the instructions step by step (or as close as personally possible). Here is what happened…
photo: Urte Kaunas
There are so many stories written about Berlin: a city of inspiration, creativity, lost and found spirit, art and music, crazy dance floor love fairytales and never ending discoveries. In the end, every story reflects its personal angle and puts a different color pallet to fill the page. Berlin is made of many different routes – so let’s ride.
Getting into the streets by a city bike, having a cup of beautiful coffee on the way, observing the people in the streets, having spontaneous chats and exploring the local cafes and restaurants sounds like a perfect idyll of a day in Berlin.
For our brand new guide we got together with the charming Edoardo, head barista of Refinery High End Coffee in Mitte and Kreuzberg, and teamed up with Creme Cycles and the bikecitizens app to create a bike tour that unites the spirits of Berlin, delicious coffee and beautiful bikes.
Our tour starts in the most beloved and diverse districts of Berlin: “Kreuzberg is purely bizarre: you never know what to expect from the people, it’s ever changing and there is always something odd to discover,” says Edo before we start our tour…
photo: Camilla Bundgaard.
Perhaps one of the main thoughts when thinking about Berlin, at least for young people that is, are its popular nightclubs, music venues, events, clubs and techno parties. In fact, Berlin has been gaining a reputation of this wild and sleepless city where the party never ends. However, Berlin is much more than just an endless rave – not to mention that it was the capital of Nazi Germany and it was also infamously divided during the Cold War – and its historical landmarks are a crucial part of what makes Berlin such an interesting city. So, although we usually try not to write about mainstream tourist sights, through the big urban icons listed in this piece you will get to understand a little bit of the history behind them.
illustrations: Nicola Napoli
As far as I can tell, there is no greater threat to a child’s physical health than Berlin’s playgrounds. Don’t be fooled by their cute themes, like Underwater World (Kreuzberg), Dragonland (Friedrichshain), and Indiana Jones (Kurfürstendamm). Strewn about these playgrounds are sharp nuts and bolts, rough rope bridges, and slides of heat-inducting aluminum. But do Berliners seem to mind? Not one bit.
I’m convinced that Berlin’s playgrounds teach impressionable young Berliners to associate good times with the rusted nails, exposed wiring, and holes in the dirt. That’s why the most popular nightclubs among adult Berliners resemble decrepit playgrounds. Berliners have become masters of recreating the Lord of the Flies landscapes of their youths.
What’s interesting, however, is that this reenactment of childhood playtime doesn’t stop at shoddy construction. Here are a few other similarities I’ve noticed between playground and club fun.
Are you one of those people who have a contract for a gym and hardly ever go there? Especially at the beginning of the year, people have the intention to work on their body, preparing for summer. But let’s be honest: when the summer is finally there, who wants to still go to the stuffy, stinky gym? We think there are better options to do a body workout than going into a studio.
There are many options to train your body, fitness trends like Yoga, Pilates, Crossfit… But did you ever try Natural Movement? Sounds like something you can only do in the wilderness, but hold on, Berlin also has its spots for this! Natural Movement offers you to explore your body’s full range of motion and agility. By practicing, you will start to gain the skills, strength and condition essential to adapt and perform in any environment. And please, don’t worry to look like a little monkey, we love monkeys!
photos: Tania Strauss
My story is not different from anyone who has moved to Berlin and got stung by its venom. The venom is strong enough to infect you and leave you alive with its side effects, happily suffering. My friend describes it as “Berlin biting you in the ass”. This is quite accurate. You see a bite in the ass leaves a mark, a literal mark and a feeling. So does Berlin.
I moved to Berlin exactly 300 days ago. Just writing this is making it even harder to believe. 300 days. That is the longest I have ever been away from home. Well, I am kind of confused now as to where home is, but Berlin seems the most appropriate next to this word. I have found a home in the coldest, greyest, probably cruelest city in Germany. It is also the coolest, most liberal, accepting and very different from the rest of Germany.
photos: Min Kyung Choi
Dearest Berlin, let us dance!
Already wearing your prettiest summer-dress and smiling your brightest smile!
Finally your days are long, your nights short. Melt into each other. Have no beginning and no end.
The melancholic spirit of winter seems long past and is forgiven.
Dark November blues melt simultaneously with my frozen lemon popsicles.
The sky painted in radiant blue. This is why I fell in love with you, Berlin.
Everything is blooming and the city is raging with life. Listening to street musicians while bathing in the sun.
Watching shimmering shadows dancing in the moonlight.
Dreams seem to come true during summer.