Berlin served as a landmark city for me, one that epitomized freedom and self expression. The second I arrived I felt Berlin’s dark, grungy soul penetrate me. Everywhere I looked, people walked about with their own unique style: colorful hair dye accentuating an equally amazing hair cut, ripped jeans, patches of bands sewn onto clothing and backpacks , leather and chained accessories. Berlin was an explosion of grunge fashion. What really caught my eye was the fact that not one human old or young looked at another individual in disdain for someone expressing themselves through their personal style, the reaction pretty much seen in any other city around the world when confronted with a boldly dressed person. I felt my heart grow with enough space for Berlin to sit in it amongst past cities that had stolen my heart .
I continued to walk in the warshauer district, trying to find my way over to my friends flat. Every 50 meters another duo or group passed by blasting music on their portable speaker. I automatically flashed back to the time I hiked Mt. Batur in Bali. Picture this: My friends and I wake up at 2 a.m. to get picked up by a taxi to take us to the base of Mt. Batur, a volcano that takes 2.5 hours to hike up to its peak. I’ve just fallen into a ditch filled with water because the darkness of the early morning masked its existence. Soaking still, I hop into the taxi. When we get to the base, I immediately throw some tunes on and began my hike to the peak. 2.5 hours of blasting music that heightened my mood and speed to the top had a different effect on those around me. I was met by glares from other hikers staring me down as if to say to me, ‘how dare you For interrupting our love for the sounds of nature and grunts of other hikers struggling to climb this volcano’. Coming to Berlin felt as if I’ve met my people, all of which agree that a simple walk from point A to point B would not suffice unless accompanied by music.
Looking past the crowds that flooded the streets, you see most Of Berlin covered in graffiti . I’m not talking about an alleyway or a neighborhood of graffiti, I’m talking about ALL of Berlin. Political pieces, pieces dictated by music, simple tags that are seen everywhere all filled the walls of Berlin. When looking at Berlin’s dark, controlled past you stand in awe looking at the beauty that has formed from revolting
Against a government that stole their rights to live without restraint. It’s like the city now bleeds pure art as a direct F-you response for all the turmoil that Berliners endured. It wasn’t until 1989 that Berlin was reunited with the destruction of the Berlin Wall. During the destruction of the Berlin Wall, the wall itself had stood for such misery that many Berliners came equipped with their own tools to help chip away the wall into oblivion. So to once be part of a city divided by a Wall, to a now united and free city, the only rules that are seen to hold weight in Berlin is the knowing the art of holding no judgment and having the ability to be limitless.
A.K.A. No F$&@! given.
I found my way to my friend Annika’s flat where she was sitting outside waiting for my arrival. I squealed like a child in a candy shop and quickly hugged her tightly. One might think that this type of greeting would be strange if they had known we had only met once before at a hostel in Spain, but Annika and I are far from fitting into the standards of the average human. Upon meeting her in Spain, her and a group of us decided to go on an adventure at night. We found a club still open along the beach that had a pool which closed earlier in the night. Being the devious bunch that has a knack of seeing red lights as green lights, we took a closed pool as a calling for us to all jump in. We began stripping our shoes and socks off but were kicked out by security when they noticed our intentions. This story alone should be a pre-warning of how Berlin with Annika was going to be.
Now back to Berlin. Annika showed me upstairs and we sat at her table drinking wine and catching up. Before you know it, we finished the bottle and went to buy more. When Annika grabbed one bottle, I quickly grabbed a second bottle already knowing the two of us together. She smiled and laughed seeing how true that exact statement of grabbing a second bottle was.
Next thing you know , 3 p.m. Turned into 3 a.m. Turned into two days later and Annika is calling it a night while Alana and I are ready to rage on a Friday night in Berlin. We headed to a club called Renato where Alana and I treated it like our playground. We searched each room for adventure and great company . Some rooms piled with bean bags, a few with lofts, another with a giant red bed and vines all over the ceiling. We soaked it up until the night turned into morning and the crowd got stranger and stranger.
It was morning time and Alana was hopping into a taxi to take her to her friends house. I looked at her and all I could say was , “I hate this part . I always hate when I have to leave you”. Alana and I had grown so close during our time in Europe. Being with Alana made me feel at home. Everything we did was in complete sync as if our actions were equivalent to finishing one another’s sentences . We hugged in agreement that the act of leaving one another sucked, but that this wasn’t a permanent goodbye, just a goodbye until our next adventure.
The rest of Berlin was insanity. Berlin has no sense of time. When you think it’s 9p.m. and check the time to realize it was actually 5 a.m. People are seen everywhere at any hour of the day or night and parties on weekends usually start on a Friday night and continue on until Monday afternoon. Berlin was a limitless city where anything and everything happened . From fetish parties to housing Hitler’s place of suicide, Berlin came as weird as it got and I absolutely LOVED it.
When it came time to leave I was part dead, part in a state of knowing this would definitely not be my last encounter with Berlin. Berlin taught me that freedom at this level can exist, where people continue to function as a society and also express themselves in every art form. Peace out Berlin, you will be seeing this girl again.