Berlin: At First Glance

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Berlin is a city I have been wanting to visit for a while, so after spending a week in Zürich, this was my next destination.

Berlin has always appealed to me, for a number of reasons: The music scene. The art. The creativity. The sheer size of this city.

The German capital also happens to be one of the most vegan-friendly cities in the world right now, with more than 50 vegan restaurants and supermarkets, and a number of vegan-friendly options at many of the regular restaurants and coffee shops.

After only three weeks in Berlin, I feel like I have barely scratched the surface of this incredible city. Approximately nine times the size of Paris, to say Berlin has a lot to offer is an understatement. I’m going to have to spend a longer time here to uncover more of the gems this city has to offer.

Being such a big city, I did research beforehand to decide where I wanted to stay. The two areas that appealed to me the most are Kreuzberg and Neukölln, as these two areas offer some of the most vibrant creative experiences in the city. Both boroughs have great live music venues, and there are many artists and generally creative people living in these areas.

I’ve been staying in an apartment in Neukölln, which is situated in the south east of Berlin. It’s close to Kreuzburg, and I have been exploring both of these areas since I arrived here. I eventually did make my way to the city centre, which I enjoyed, and there are a loads of areas I have yet to explore.

Almost all of Neukölln smells like hookah smoke (due to all the hookah bars in the area), and I have a feeling this smell will always remind me of my stay in Neukölln.

Since being here, I have been surrounded by vibrant coffee shops, cafes, restaurants, and bars, and there are many beautiful parks to walk through. My apartment is a ten minute walk from Tempelhofer Feld, which is a massive park that used to be Berlin Tempelhof Airport.

The name Tempelhof comes from the Knights Templar, who in medieval times established the land where the airport was built in 1923. This park is one of my favourite locations to explore, and I have returned here a few times.

Tempelhofer Feld still has all the airport runways, where people skate, cycle, and kite-skate around. The open spaces are great spaces for picnics, and there is also an urban garden and a stage for live performances.

As convenient as the U-Bahn (Berlin’s subway) is, I’d say the best way to get around the city is on bicycle. I haven’t done this yet, but next time I am here this will most likely be my main form of transport.

I have spent most of my time in Berlin working on new and existing projects. I’ve made time to explore, meet people, and experience the sights and sounds of the city. I enjoy the local cafes and the friendly people who work there, and I regularly go for walks to get lost in the city and discover new places.

Something that has struck me during my time here is how little German I have heard. Even at cafes and restaurants, most of the staff seem to speak to each other in English.

A piece of advice for anyone who is new to Berlin: cash is king here.

I tried to use my bank card a few times on my first day in the city, and it turns out most cafes and smaller shops don’t have card machines. Keep some cash handy if you want to visit the local coffee shops or grab a snack from a cafe or spätkauf. Bigger restaurants and grocery stores have card machines.

My time in Berlin is coming to a close. For now.

I will return here soon to do more networking, record music, and launch my new startup. I look forward to spending a longer period of time here and seeing more of this incredible city.

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