I consider myself a Berliner who is also British hence, the blogname “thebritishberliner.” I have been living here for 14 years (Yikes!) and I have loved every moment of it but if you had told me that I would ever live in Germany, not to talk of Berlin, I would have laughed in your face.
Why would I do such a thing and live in the city that has a history of getting rid of people that they don’t like, and is technically in East Germany?
Well, I have never been a person shy of challenges. In fact, once upon a time, I lived in Eastern Europe just a few years after the fall of the Iron Curtain. Now, that’s an adventure all of its own …..
Yes, but why Berlin? I hear you ask.
Well, I didn’t plan to come here actually but my boyfriend at the time was German and happened to live in Berlin so I came to visit. Only to visit mind. I wasn’t convinced that Germany was “it”. I was quite fond of the Czech Republic you see….
Anyway, I was living in the British capital in those days wouldn’t you know, so I was quite able to commute from London to Berlin. In fact, I commuted for almost four years! I didn’t plan to do that either but there you have it.
Later in the relationship, it was obvious that something had to give. London was beginning to get trite and I was ready for another adventure, so I moved to Berlin.
It’s no wonder.
Did you know that according to the Berlin official tourism website Berlin is the only city in Europe with more museums than rainy days (that’s 180 museums folks, but considering that in my humble opinion as a Brit it hardly rains at all, that’s saying something right.…)?
Did you know that the very famous East Side Gallery (which was a part of the Berlin Wall) is the longest open air gallery in the world?
Did you even know that Berlin. Yes, Berlin, is Germany’s greenest city (Whaaaat?!) and that 44% of Berlin is covered with parks, forests, fields, rivers, lakes and canals? Surprisingly when I think about it, I have ALWAYS lived in places surrounded by water, but I digress.
I bet you never even knew that the largest department store on continental Europe is not the fabulous Harrods of London, that we all know and love, but is actually the amazing KaDeWe (Kaufhaus des Westens) and is 106 years old!
Please tell me that you have even heard that Berlin has about 960 bridges which is much more than the ever romantic city of Venice, has about 30 beaches, and that there are 9 castles (yes, you heard) and 6 aristocratic manors and mansions within the city of Berlin itself!
Berlin is a fabulous city. Its so exciting, engaging, out-there, disorganised, grimy and elegant all at the same time. With only about 3.5 million people, it’s a living city with over 776 years of history and glory.
When I moved here in the 90’s, it was still in the throngs of the East / West divide and you could see the birth of 21st century Berlin.
You could even smell the hunger of a new emerging city, but the reason that I finally decided to move to Berlin was the fact that it felt like home.
I had been to so many places and lived in so many cities. Heck, at the time I wouldn’t even stay with an organisation for a year before I was out there looking for the next job or looking for the next country to visit. I was quite nomadic in nature, was easily bored and had very itchy-feet but in Berlin, it was different.
Berlin is a city with a starved soul. It’s a city that calls to you. It’s also a city where you can find yourself and be yourself.
I found myself.
I moved to Berlin. I lived in Berlin. I stayed in Berlin.
l love Berlin.
Do you have a place that you call home? How did you recognise it? Do you still live there or do you have a vision of where that place could be in the future or even your past?