“Paris is always Paris and Berlin never is Berlin.” Opening with a quote migt be a bit corny, but with this one I simply could not resist as it is just too true to not bring it in. Everybody that has been to Berlin before will instantly understand. Everybody who hasn’t, will understand after reading about the first-year Branders’ trip to the capital of Holland’s neighbour Germany.
Words by Hannah Purner.
Berlin is always sung about from the treetops and as creative Branders we for sure needed to find out what all the fuzz was about. Firsty we had to shake off any prejudice about Germany and its inhabitants – No humour? The love of following rules? White socks in sandals? Clearly anybody that believes in these stereotypes has never been to Berlin; these are Berliners! Even their mayor himself proclaimed the now famous Berlin anthem “Berlin: Poor. But sexy” This call rang out loud and clear: Berlin is constantly changing, in resistance to the very notion of anything normal or conformist. It is creative, liberal, individual and runs with the ‘anything goes’ mind-set that simply does not give a hoot if you are gay, straight, student, punk, professional or a freak. Berlin is one giant sea of eclectic, swirling, shaking, skint neighbourhoods surrounding one dull, bombed-out-and-rebuilt-in-commie-concrete centre.
Of course its history is impressive, but this city has so much more to offer. One day we walked 13 kilometres just looking for the Berlin Wall. Despite tired feet nobody complained, because there was simply no time to do so. There were so many little alleys, crazy street art hotspots and abandoned places to be explored!
So, no humour? Just take a closer look at some graffiti and street art and laugh your butt off about some hilarious, but also rebellious pieces. Following rules? If you just look at the activist youth of this city you will e realize that Berlin is everything but a follower of rules. Our guide told us that in one neighbourhood inhabitants actually set the new Subway Sandwiches store on fire twice because they simply did not want it in their territory. And once and for all, white socks in sandals? This may describe the typical sixty year old German tourist on holiday, Berliners definitely take a flying leap around this one. They amaze with crazy styles such as headphones as belts or like one described herself: “the tranny from the block”.
As Paris is always Paris, but Berlin never is Berlin. This visual report only gives so much of an impression of this always changing city, but are sure worth showing. After just a few days in this city we became fan forever.