Twenty years after its post-Wall rebirth, Berlin is a scene-stealing combo of glamour and grit, teeming with top museums and galleries, grand opera and guerrilla clubs, gourmet temples and ethnic snack shacks. Whether your tastes run to posh or punk, you can sate them in Berlin.
When it comes to fashion, art, design and music, the German capital is the city to watch. A global influx of creatives has turned it into a cauldron of cultural cool reminiscent of New York in the ’80s. What draws them is Berlin’s legendary climate of tolerance, openness and experimentation infused with an edgy undercurrent that gives this ‘eternally unfinished’ city its street cred. Cheap rents don’t hurt either.
All this trendiness is a triumph for a town that’s long been in the cross-hairs of history: Berlin staged a revolution, was headquartered by fascists, bombed to bits, ripped in half and finally reunited – and that was just in the 20th century! Famous landmarks such as the Reichstag, the Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie and what’s left of the Berlin Wall are like a virtual 3-D textbook in a city where you’ll find history staring you in the face every time you turn a corner.
Perhaps it’s because of its heavy historical burden that Berlin is throwing itself into tomorrow with such contagious energy. At times the entire city seems to be bubbling over into one huge party. Cafes are jammed at all hours, drinking is a religious rite and clubs host their scenes of frenzy and hedonism until the wee hours. Sleep? Fuhgeddaboutit!
Yet despite its often hectic pace, Berlin functions on an exquisitely human scale. Traffic flows freely, public transportation is brilliant, you can walk without fear at night, clubs have no velvet ropes and your restaurant bill would only buy you a starter back home. Come and join the party and be swept away by the riches, quirks and vibrancy of this fascinating city.
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