In times of Brexits and turbulent waters, traveling to the heart of the continent is an act of romanticism. Once you arrive, you’ll truly see that Europe is not dead, but is alive and well. The weight of history around every corner. The curious feeling of continually crossing a virtual wall. Berlin is young and multicultural. A Neverland Country, a bubble within an exhausted and predictable European Union.
Freedom and natural modernity, spontaneity, in a place that survives without large banking offices or a prominent industrial fabric. An average age of thirty and people who reinvent themselves every day, with the feeling that the future is today. Hopefully it lasts, although the feeling is that fashions and speculation will force you to find a new Berlin.
Let go, walk aimlessly until you find a real beauty that will bring you back to the world of the living. Urbe without schedules or established plans, when the sun rises millions of bikes take the city with the feeling that everything is happening here, now, enjoying every moment, every ray of light. The simple life: a bike, beers and, if accompanied, the sun.
You can get up early to bathe in the outdoor baths of Sommerbad, in Neukölln, good choice in front of the tourist Badeschiff, inside the river Spree. Better early and on gray days, to avoid crowds. On Tuesdays, on the roof of the Neukölln Arcade you can listen to live jazz while the sun goes down. Sitting on any terrace of Prenzlauer Berg-Unami is a good choice- and watching people go by. Cite with Nefertiti and enjoy its timeless elegance at the Neues Museum, by David Chipperfield.
Climb to the Communications Tower at Alexanderplatz, East German architecture and symbol of the city. Look out for Olafur Eliasson’s studio in an old factory north of the Plaza on the other side of the river. Walk through Karl-Marx-Alle and feel very small, as the totalitarian architectures intended. Visit the temporary exhibition of the Gropius Bau.
Go to the Theater in the RadialSystem V, next to East Side Gallery, an old central, example of recovery of the industrial patrimony. Go jogging along the canals of the northern part of Kreuzberg. Dine at the Biergarten of the old Clarchen Ballhauses, in Mitte, still functioning as a ballroom. Go to the small film Rollberg in Neukölln where they release films in original version. Stroll through the Tiergarten (listening to the song of Rufus Wainwright) and see the golden angel in Unter den Linden, under the lindens. Approach the archive of the Bauhaus and the embassy of the Nordic countries.
A small stop to replenish forces in the multiple stalls of street food. The best “köftes” are in Izmir Köftecisi and the famous Berlin currywurst in Curry 36. Enjoy a night out that can start at one of the small clubs in Kreuzberg (like Roses) and end in one of the world’s legendary meccas , Berghain.
Tempelhof, formerly allied airport now converted into an immense park for the city, invites you to lie on the lawn. Work by the architect Ernest Sagebiel, the passenger terminal is a boast of totalitarian architectures, a scale of other times. Today it shows the miseries of the West, serving as an improvised refugee camp for the war in Syria.
In fine weather, you can take the commuter train and move to any of the lakes that surround Berlin. Müggelsee is a good option nearby and with the possibility of combining train, ferry and bicycle. Or escape to Hamburg, a wonderful city, and discover the new Elbphilharmonie, by the Swiss architects Herzog and De Meuron. Szczecin, two hours from Berlin, is another good escape; Port, industrial and touristy, where some young Spanish architects, Barozzi and Veiga, have built the new Philharmonic