What I love about Berlin: All the cyclists.

Things I can do in Berlin that I can’t do in Canada

Part of the appeal of moving to Berlin was the general weird/alternative atmosphere that Berlin is famous for. It’s not so obvious until you reaaaaally get into the city. Now that I’ve been here a few months, there are plenty of things I can do in Berlin that I can’t do in Canada.

Also I suppose a lot of this applies to Germany in general, like the German stare (yes, it’s a real thing).

I have a little collection of quirky things I’ve observed and loved so far that I can’t do when I move back home. It’s gonna be a hard transition. A lot of these have to do with alcohol. Yes.

  1. Buy a bottle of beer for less than a Euro at a local Späti or Kiosk. And the cashier will have a little bottle opener by the cash for me to pop ‘er open.
  2. Order a Mate Vodka at the bar. The bartender will give me a bottle of Mate so I can chug a few mouthfuls before he fills it with vodka.
  3. Get a Club Mate just about anywhere.
  4. Order a Moscow Mule anywhere because it is THE cocktail of the century (but sadly not in copper mugs).
  5. Wear a Canada Goose jacket and not be a douchebag (they are insanely popular here).
  6. Walk a dog off-leash (if I had one…everyone else does).
  7. Stare at boys for 10 minutes without it becoming weird and creepy.
  8. Literally party at some clubs for 48 hours, like at Berghain (possibly the most famous club in the world). Not that I have. I’m almost 30, for chrissakes.
  9. On that note, I can be in my 40s and 50s and party with the youngest of the lot, and it wouldn’t be weird at all.
  10. Find a doner kebab on pretty much ever corner, because they’re a citywide craze, and literally the best goddamned thing that’s ever happened to the world.
  11. I can hand-pump water from a well in the middle of busy Kreuzeberg. But I won’t. (Cheryl and I emerged from a bar one evening to see a man doing this, and filling buckets of water like we were in the middle of rural Africa or something. We were so confused. )
  12. Find a place that’s a nondescript video store by day, but turns into a ridiculous happy free-for-all on the weekends with foam and confetti bombs. There might be a shirtless chubby man bound and gagged and dancing around a stripper’s pole, because hey, Berlin.
  13. Eat a burger in a former public toilet. (Bugermeister.)
  14. Do all my freaking banking without withdraw or transfer fees. ALL OF IT. Also, Germany has no idea what cheques are, and for this I am grateful.
  15. Find a gym membership for 20EUR a month. (I have yet to do this. Foreign gyms intimidate me.)
  16. I can go to unbelievably fun Christmas markets and drink mulled wine around a fire without having to be separated from the rest of the public by unnecessary non-drinking borders because people who like casual alcohol are apparently a threat back home.
  17. Go to a wine bar where you pay 2EUR for a glass and then pour yourself UNLIMITED WINE and then you pay what you think it’s worth. Can you imagine opening this place in Newfoundland? They’d be out of business in a week.
  18. I can easily sort all my garbage and recyclables because the government makes it an absolute necessity. There are like 400 different bins for different materials, and the system is so effective, I’ve only thrown out two tiny bags of actual trash in the whole four months I’ve been here.
  19. I can eat a different ethnic cuisine every night for a full year and still not cover it all. (You can probably do this in a lot of Canadian cities, but not Newfoundland.)
  20. Dressing like a total dirtbag at a club is encouraged and accepted.
  21. I can date without worrying about mind games or being led on, because Germans will straight up tell you if they’re looking for something serious or if they just want to screw you.
  22. See castles inside the city (and Potsdam) that are actually older than my native country.
  23. Eat currywurst and unlimited sausage any time, because it’s a totally acceptable meal.
  24. Visit 4898429329 different neighbouring countries in a matter of days.
  25. Visit parks with live outdoor karaoke. Also, a Thai market every weekend where locals come to see up their food stalls and nobody seems to care even a little about legal matters.
  26. Have sex at a club, and not be condemned for it. (Unless I get syphilis. So no, I don’t do that.)
  27. Have dates with people that turn out crazy awkward, but then I don’t have to worry about ever running into them again.
  28. Listen to insanely amazing techno and house music without being branded a loser.
  29. SLEEP! I haven’t had insomnia since AUGUST! (Except for that brief time in Spain.)
  30. Ride around town on a bike without worrying about being hit by a car. Cyclists own the road, and they have PLENTY of it. And drivers aren’t total jackasses.


wearing whatever I want in Berlin

Just another weirdo in Berlin.

There’s plenty that I miss about Canada too. But damn, the Germans get a lot of things right.

  • December 16 2015

    LOVE this list (and absolutely love your top!). I’ve been a reader of your blog for a while now, and I’ll soon be in Berlin as I’m considering it as a base. I’m therefore loving all of your Berlin-related posts!
    Andrea Anastasiou recently posted…The Beauty of Winter in Munich

  • December 16 2015

    I’ll be visiting Berlin in February and this post is making so excited! Also laughed out loud at #16 – gotta love those archaic Canadian alcohol laws!
    Ashley recently posted…Edinburgh Eats: Satisfy your Sweet Tooth

    • December 19 2015

      WOOT! Look me up when you arrive!

      And RIGHT?!! Haha. I love how casual beer is here. It’s not even considered alcohol — it’s considered bread.

  • December 16 2015

    They’re so insanely sensible. The commonwealth really needs to play catch ups.
    LC recently posted…I Read a Lot of Books this Year. Here’s Some of the Best

    • December 19 2015

      Agreed. Going back is going to be such an adjustment!

  • December 17 2015

    Wow, tell me more about #7 – this is one of my hobbies.

    • December 19 2015

      Bahahaha. Come to Germany and you can do it freely, forever!

      • December 21 2015

        Booking a flight!

        • December 23 2015

          Hahaha yesss!

  • December 18 2015

    You really make me want to move to Berlin.

    • December 19 2015

      Just doin’ my job. ;)

  • December 19 2015

    Sounds like paradise but more importantly where the hell did you get that JT shirt?

    • December 19 2015

      Hahahahaha, Shelfies!

  • December 19 2015

    You forgot wear lime green skinny jeans and be thought ordinary.

    • December 23 2015

      I was hoping my Trudeau shirt was an accurate demonstration.

  • December 20 2015

    But #24!! That’s the main reason I’m so envious of Europeans!

    • December 23 2015


  • December 28 2015

    I always wondered what the big deal about Berlin was, but this list has convinced me! As far as practical life concerns go, I could definitely do with #14, #18, and #30. The rest sound pretty great too :)
    Robin recently posted…A Short Washington Jaunt

    • December 30 2015

      Hahaha, yessss! It’s gonna be hard to go back…

  • October 13 2016
    A Münchener and a former resident of Canada

    Walk your dog without a leash? Those days are over soon. At least in Munich. But I know what you mean. In Canada, this seems for some reason to be a faux pas, even in desolate areas and eventhough virtually all Canucks I have met love dogs.

    • October 13 2016

      I really loved that about Berlin — how well trained and well behaved the dogs were. It was amazing. Canada is SO strict about dogs.

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