Graffiti (yes, we have it in New York...but either I don't notice it as much, or it has become so regulated and policed as to be uninspiring).
Non-chain bookstores. They are everywhere in Berlin--almost literally on every corner. This one was one of my favorites though, both because of the name and because a historical placard placed outside explained that the store had been a prominent meeting place in the former East Berlin, due to the fact that "the German people greatly enjoy reading" (oh, how I wish that were true of we Americans!).
Movies in German. Yes, I know, we get them in the States too, and I am lucky to live in a city where movie theaters actually show them. But being here has made me realize that we only get to see a tiny fraction of movies made in other countries--and the ones we do get tend to be ones that distribution companies think will match American sensibilities.
Art spaces. Yes, we have them in the States too. But they are usually crammed full of annoying people wearing oversized eyeglasses. Here I was the only patron in the whole place, thus leaving me free to roam the back rooms and hallways totally unhampered by the need to attempt fabulousity.
Hmmn. Okay, so we have this last one in the States too--but not all out in the open like that, and definitely not on a large enough scale that we would need to number them. (Even funnier--to me at least--the name loosely translates as "Without Coercion 3.")
Of course, not all has been unrestrained admiration on my part. I will be glad to go home for a number of reasons, some of which include:
- German cereal. 10,000 varieties of muesli, none of which actually taste good.
- German toilets. I hate them. Maybe they are all water-saving and green or whatnot...but when I flush I like to know that my stuff is really gone, you know?
- Spanish tourists. Perhaps the Spanish people as a whole are lovely--but the ones who vacation in Berlin win the award for the Loudest People on Earth. They also can't seem to stop making out with one another on the train. Why?
- German bedding. I like sheets. Why are the Germans so against them?
- Lack of 24 hour subway service. So lame as to not even require commentary.
Anyway, Berlin: it has been lovely. See you next year, zwanglos.