As I’ve mentioned before, my partner is German, schnitzel and all. And I have this unfortunate tendency of putting his native land into a box of currywurst, castles and beer. But it is so much more than its crazy long European history that involved defeating the Romans and all of those unfortunate children’s stories that involve deep dark forests. It is the land where type and graphic design were not only first developed, but also where they are still doing the coolest things. Did you know that a German company actually owns Trader Joe’s? Also Angela Merkel is killing it on the world stage these days.
And lately, I’ve been in a German deep dive, and I’ve mostly got my eye on Berlin. So I thought I’d start there. I’ve only been there once. A few years ago and only for a couple of days. But from the moment I stepped foot in the Kreuzberg I knew I had found my Toronto. The place I could see myself perhaps spending more than a few days some day. Let’s call this Day 1 of my Berlin Strategy.
Let’s start with visiting Berlin. A quick browse on Airbnb and you’ll find no shortage of intensely hip, minimally decorated apartments for short and long stays in the best neighbourhoods. Bri found the perfect one, and you can see all of her favourite fun and colourful Berlin things here.
Or maybe you’re one of those people who likes to really get to know a place. You know, not just for a weekend. Katie spent a couple of months here and found all the places you would never have stumbled upon during those quickies.
I have my eyes firmly set on Berlin right now. But I don’t exactly have plans to get there yet (unless someone wants to send me there!) Thankfully, German TV is going through the renaissance we’ve been waiting for ever since all those Nordic murder mysteries started showing up. And a couple of these series are even set in Berlin. Clearly a sign, right?
Deutschland 83 was the one that set it all off. Yup, set in the middle of the Cold War and that wall is still up. And a year later, The Same Sky showed up on Netflix. Both shows involve Eastern spies over Western walls, but each tell such incredibly different stories.
And on the modern side with fewer subtitles, there’s Berlin Station. More spies. But this time, there’s iPhones and ISIS are involved.
I’m also uber-excited for Dark. Germany’s answer to Stranger Things perhaps? Probably darker, less cute and will probably get under your bones a bit more.
The thing I love so much about Berlin is its diversity. Despite the tough central European exterior, it’s radiates a warmth that has attracted people from all walks and places over the last two centuries. Just check out its history and you’ll see why. It is basically not a mystery why the place is hemorrhaging with the cool kids. It’s an epicenter for creativity basically. I can dig a place that gets over being cut in half by war, then resurrects itself as the birthplace of techno. Also, it’s almost too easy to find very good Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese food in Berlin.
Check out all of the stories on Freunde von Freunden. Not only are these guys based over there, but they’ve got 300+ creatives profiled for your deep dive down the rabbit hole. Get a taste of what everyone’s eating over at Munchies. And make sure you make Berlin Food Stories your guide upon arrival. And get your butt to the Markethalle Neun stat upon arrival.
There are also a couple of wonderful ladies making the most delicious things (both in Berlin!). Luisa Weiss (aka The Wednesday Chef) knows how to make all the classic German desserts. And Marta Greber is capturing every single one of her crazy gorgeous breakfasts (as well as telling you where you should eat). Also make sure you check out her Instastories. Her accent is the cutest.