The best part of staying with someone you know in a foreign city is immersing yourself into another culture. I love being thrown into a world different than my own. Instead of going to the hotel bar, I find myself in a graffiti covered coffee shop with perfect lattes and beautiful baristas. I get lost several times a day, stop for glasses of cold Riesling and ask strangers for directions.
While my brother works I wander the streets of Berlin, only letting down my non-tourist facade when someone strikes up a conversation and I respond with a puzzled expression.
I walk through the twisting and turning streets and sometimes come full circle. Still, I enjoy the adventure and finding my way, stopping in food shops and beautiful clothing stores to look, touch, and on the rare occasion buy.
I dodge the many cyclists on these busy sidewalks, learning to keep out of the bike lane and to watch wherever I'm crossing. I envy the stylish girls racing down their streets in their bikes, and for a moment imagine myself living here, learning German, and even better, learning to ride a bike (I know, I know).
I've had precious moments meeting up with one of my best friends who lives and works in Berlin. Last night we met up for dinner at 8, realizing by 11 p.m. we hadn't eaten a bite and searched the streets for an open kitchen. Time disappears when the conversation is so easy.
We met up today again, over plates of hummus, couscous and salad, then strolled the streets before she had to return to work. She handed me a map and pointed me in the direction of a gourmet food store, and I went on my merry way.
It's a very livable city. If you like to walk, bike, eat, drink good coffee and immerse yourself in design and good conversation I believe you can be happy here.
Berlin I have to say you are winning me over.