Berlin

I visited Berlin in early 2012.  I did so partly on the recommendation of Michel Bauwens, whom I had met in late 2011, and whose opinion I value. Others had also advised a visit, and so off I went. I had visited briefly back in 1993, and had hazy memories of an impromptu nightclub on the ground floor of the Kunsthaus Tacheles, with the carcass of a fighter jet hanging overhead (the Tacheles is still there, but there is now increasing pressure for its use by artists for the past 22 years to finally come to an end).

I found Berlin to be a very attractive city, although having spent the past ten years in the sub-tropical climate of Hong Kong, I found the cold temperatures (-20 Celsius occasionally) in the early part of the year difficult to adjust to. What I appreciate more than anything else is the Berliners themselves. In many parts of the city, walking in to a cafe or bar, you invariably find people engaged in considered conversations about something more substantial than simply gossip, celebrity affairs, sports or such-like. You might instead find people discussing politics or the economy, or some other social issues. One gets the impression that even the average person in the street is informed and interested in worldly affairs, especially the younger generations.  Whilst this may not be strictly the case for everyone you talk to, Berliners certainly are more orientated towards an interest in these kinds of issues than the average folks of any other city that I know. As you might expect from young people who are engaged in such topics, many adopt some kind of progressive or critical position vis-a-vis the status quo, and are keen to articulate some form of alternative approach. I recommend a visit to anyone who has a similar interest in such matters.

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