Thursday, July 16, 2009

Berlin, Germany

Berlin, capital of a unified Germany since 1999, is one of the planet’s most dynamic cities. This is the European Shanghai, where construction is always occurring. Berlin is the European city that is most able to preserve its history while also embracing the future head on.

Berlin is chic and cool. Just look at the Reichstag, the German Parliament building, with its Baroque façade and modern interior, topped by Norman Foster’s glass dome. Or gaze towards the Holocaust Memorial, with its uneven, solemn gray columns that create a maze for those wishing to cross it. Walk for a few minutes and one will arrive at the Baroque Brandenburg Gate, the symbol of Berlin. This is how amazing Berlin is; old and new, Communist and stylish, the city has it all!

With my friends Gabriela and Alex as my hosts and tour guides, I got an insider’s look at this thriving metropolis. We visited a typical “living room” bar in Prezlauer Berg, the city’s trendy district. We listened to music generated by Berlin-style music boxes. We relaxed by the city’s sand volleyball complex, soaking up some needed rays. We savored the most delicious doner on the planet--chicken, with veggies and goat cheese. And lastly, we enjoyed the best view of Berlin, on top of Viktoria Park, all the while drinking German beer.

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