Berlin

Posted on June 13, 2016 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments

Berlin  berlin

 

While many people dislike metropolises for their high density, fast pace, congestion, noise level, pollution, rudeness, and high property prices etc; Berlin, however, seems to be an exception because it still retains an unpretentious charm of a smaller city.

The city is relatively cheap (compare to London and other mega cities), it is also spacious, less crowded, friendly, and laid back. In my opinion, Berlin is cooler than London, New York and Paris, which probably explains why many young Londoners have moved to the city in recent years.

London used to be cool and full of character, but now it is ruled by property developers, corporate companies, mega rich foreigners, and wannabe hipsters. Not only it is over-crowded and expensive; homogeneity is making the city commercial, dull and uninspiring. All the independent shops l used to love have disappeared, and now the streets of central London are mostly occupied by chained shops and restaurants.

 

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berlin

berlin

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berlin  berlin

 

Being in Berlin, I was reminded of the London a long long time ago – when independent shops and street markets thrived, and when everything was at a slower pace. I could wander around the city centre and visit museums without feeling crammed. Cycling is safer and easier, and there is a vast amount of green space as well. From what I saw, Berlin seems to offer a better quality of life than London, so it is easy to understand why the city is a magnet for new start-ups, and people working in the arts and creative industries.

 

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berlin  Berlin

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berlin wall  berlin

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berlin  berlin

berlin

 

The creative and artistic energy in Berlin is palpable. Yet what I like about Berlin is that its past is very much in the present. There is so much history here, and part of it was rather atrocious to say the least. But Berliners didn't try to wipe away the horrors of the past, instead they chose to deal with it in an open, contemplative and positive way. I think it demonstrates the attitude of the Berliners, and this is something that I admire.

 

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phone box berlin  berlin traffic lights

biscuit truck berlin

berlin road sign  berlin

berlin road sign  berlin  berlin sign

 

Another intriguing thing about Berlin is the divide between the East and West. Twenty-seven years after reunification of the two parts, there is still an significant disparity between the two. West Berlin is notably richer, with historic monuments, elegant buildings and leafy neighbourhoods; whereas East Berlin is edgier, grimmer, poorer and more rundown. As much as I like the upscale West side, I find the East side cooler and more interesting.

 

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berlin  berlin

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Despite being in the design industry, trendy and cool places don't appeal to me much; I have always been drawn to traditional/ quirky/ secluded places. In Berlin, I like the classic Viennese-style Cafe Einstein, the atmospheric Diener Tattersall, the retro music/dance hall Claerchens Ballhaus, the the iconic and old-school Delicatessen Rogacki (their fish soup is fab), and the relaxed and unpretentious English Theatre Berlin.

 

english theatre berlin

rogacki

rogacki

cafe einstein berlin

Diener Tattersall

Claerchens Ballhaus

Top row: English theatre Berlin; 2nd & 3rd rows: Rogacki deli; 4th row: Cafe Einstein; 5th row: Diener Tattersall; bottom row: Claerchens Ballhaus

 

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couple in berlin

berlin  berlin

berlin

 

But like most wealthier Western countries, Berlin has been struggling with homelessness and many of the homeless are from Eastern Europe. They camp in parks and sleep under railway bridges, and it is hard to miss them when you walk around the city. I cannot imagine how these people would cope in the bitterly cold winters sleeping rough in the streets. It bothers me to see wealthy countries like Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and the U.K. not being able to tackle this growing crisis. Is this the price we have to pay for our capitalist society? Apparently, Finland is the only country in the E.U. that has seen a decline in homelessness in recent years. The country has implemented long term plans to offer affordable rental accommodation to people who have difficulties in finding a home for themselves. If other E.U. countries could follow what Finland has achieved, then perhaps we would see a transformation of the streets across Europe.

 

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homeless berlin

Homelessness and alcoholism in Berlin

 

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This post was posted in Photography, Travel, Social issues, Street life, Homelessness, Berlin and was tagged with Food & dining, street life, homelessness, Berlin

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