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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Get a Club Mate just about anywhere.
- Order a Moscow Mule anywhere because it is THE cocktail of the century (but sadly not in copper mugs).
- Wear a Canada Goose jacket and not be a douchebag (they are insanely popular here).
- Walk a dog off-leash (if I had one…everyone else does).
- Stare at boys for 10 minutes without it becoming weird and creepy.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. )
- 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.
- Eat a burger in a former public toilet. (Bugermeister.)
- 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.
- Find a gym membership for 20EUR a month. (I have yet to do this. Foreign gyms intimidate me.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- Dressing like a total dirtbag at a club is encouraged and accepted.
- 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.
- See castles inside the city (and Potsdam) that are actually older than my native country.
- Eat currywurst and unlimited sausage any time, because it’s a totally acceptable meal.
- Visit 4898429329 different neighbouring countries in a matter of days.
- 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.
- Have sex at a club, and not be condemned for it. (Unless I get syphilis. So no, I don’t do that.)
- Have dates with people that turn out crazy awkward, but then I don’t have to worry about ever running into them again.
- Listen to insanely amazing techno and house music without being branded a loser.
- SLEEP! I haven’t had insomnia since AUGUST! (Except for that brief time in Spain.)
- 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.
Just another weirdo in Berlin.
There’s plenty that I miss about Canada too. But damn, the Germans get a lot of things right.