Berlin: First Impressions

I have greatly enjoyed my first few weeks in Berlin. My preconceptions of this wonderful city have so far been correct, with a few pleasant surprises, and the occasional not so pleasant surprise, here and there.

Before coming to Berlin, I was expecting it to be fairly similar to the United States, especially in relation to the other places I have lived, such as Honduras, Kazakhstan, and Yemen, which are all developing countries, while Germany, despite the effects of the World Wars and the Cold War, is for the most part a developed country. Of course, Germany is not like the United States, but in relation to infrastructure, wealth, and human development, Germany is similar.

I expected Berlin to be much different culturally/socially than I have so far witnessed. This is due to the fact that we are spending most of our time in the heart of Berlin with, as far as we know, a large portion of people we see everyday being tourists. This leads to one of the unpleasant surprises, being that most shop owners or waiters will address you in English almost immediately, making it hard to practice German, when English is so quick to roll off your tongue. Hopefully when we leave Berlin to tour other parts of Germany, we can leave what I find to be a very touristy atmosphere behind. However, I do enjoy the overwhelming amount of history that one can simply see going to school everyday, not to mention the amount available off the beaten path and within the many museums around the city.

A pleasant surprise I have found, is the large number and variety of exotic supercars. If I were to list every car I have snapped my rubber neck looking at on the bus to school everyday, I am afraid the blog will consist of only my post. Let’s just say this: Astons, Ferraris, Lambos, McLarens, R8s, Bentleys, Maseratis, and a Bugatti Veyron.

A few other side notes: drinks are extremely expensive anywhere other than an Aldi, and universally more so if you want them cold. Take advantage of bulk drinks and any refrigerator you can find. On the same note, if the fridge you find is big enough to fit yourself inside, get inside, because air conditioning doesn’t exist here. Hardly.

Matt “Canada” Wever

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