Berlin is the familiar, now, and no matter when it makes itself a place in my summer holiday, it is a welcome thing. For me, the beaches of Naxos and Corfu have their appeal, but I would leave them in a second to be back in Berlin. And here I am.
I’ve spent about two months in Berlin over the last several years, and every visit is as good as or better than the last. I’ve stayed n Mitte, Prenzlauer Berg, Kreuzberg, and now Friedrichschain. When I tell people about the neighborhoods – I’m a half-decent tour guide for the first-timers at the hostels – I explain that Mitte is the business-casual neighborhood, full of young and middle-aged workers in the city. Prenzlauer Berg is for the yuppies (my people) – farmers’ markets and bookshops are mainstays. (Berliners reasonably resent the gentrification that’s transformed that bleak place into a yoga-and-latte paradise, but it’s quite nice for a visitor.) Kreuzberg is a safe but ultra-hip neighborhood dominated by late-night beer shops, graffiti, and live music. Friedrichshain is a work in progress, I think. Lots of restaurants and cafes, sure, but still home to living-room-like bars clouded with puffs of smoke, casinos, and less in the way of nightlife than Kreuzberg or more centrally located neighborhoods. But I’m at home when I am here.
Even with Tegel. I have always disliked Tegel Airport because it’s not connected to the city by train – only by bus and then perhaps by train (depending on where you are headed). This visit, however, I went from gate to bus to S-Bahn to Frankfurter Allee inside an hour. I suppose I only dislike Tegel for departures – it has outgrown its ancient infrastructure by leagues. But I’m coming at least to know it.
It’s time again – Check out the main page for 2017 for all of my year’s travel posts!