ThysdrusRoman Coliseum of El-Jem

Panem et Circensis

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Location: Tunis, Tunisia, Tunisia

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Few Impressions About Berlin And The Berliners

It's been already more than a week that I am in Berlin and all in all, I am enjoying my stay here.
To show one's appreciation of a place, a person, an event remains always of the domain of the subjective so what I am going to relate here is but some personal observations and notes I jotted down while here in Berlin.

The first impression I got from the city: how boring it was! but as soon as you get into the city and you visit its most prestigious places you will definitely fall in love with it!Berlin is such a big european city but nevertheless underpopulated compared to other metropolitan cities in Europe. The most striking feature in Berlin is the still visible contrast between the East and the West. Indded eastern Berlin is witnessing a huge transformation. Infrastructure projects and construction sites are everywhere. The city is really growing and catching up with modernity however,there are certain places you can still smell and feel the remnants of Communism like the underground or what the germans call the U-bahn.

Berlin is such an organized city that finding a parking lot is not really a big deal. The roads are big and you can feel this everywhere. The transport system is both organized and efficient.However, one striking specificity that I couldn't explain is the fact that in Berlin you can hardly find a place with air conditioning! People say that they don't really feel the need for air-conditioning and they can live without it. Honestly Berlin's weather during this month of august is quite acceptable for it doesn't get very hot besides there's no humidity which I conisder a real blessing (compared with cities like Washington, DC!;)).
I came to the conclusion that Germany being such a leading european country when it comes to energy consumption and energy preservation, is but a reality. Environmentally speaking Berlin is a quite clean city. I found the awareness of Berliners about the need to protect their environment really amazing! It must be in their collective subconsconscious, I guess. For instance, empty plastic bottles can be exchanged for cash (25 cents a bottle!) in all supermarkets and malls so I don't think it a wise idea to throw your bottles in the dustbin!

Generally speaking, the Berliners are friendly people but you need to be careful when you first meet a Berliner and you ask about something for they might smash you on the face (figuratively speaking of course!) and you will think at first impression how rude and rough they are but as soon as you engage in some chat with them they become really very friendly and easy-going. A Berliner told me that the reason of this behavior is deeply rooted in the history of the city which was known as a city of soldiers and arms and that's why people tend to be a bit rude and rough.

Berlin seems to be a less expensive city than other big european cities (take Paris for instance). Eating out is a joy and the night life is even more enjoyable. For those who like shopping most international fashion trademarks are available but nonetheless quite expensive. In a nutshell, something I will keep in mind from my stay here is how really organized Berlin is!(to be continued).


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