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Berlin: An Authentic View of Germany’s Capital

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Berlin. Under a bridge.

A group of friends went to Berlin for a long weekend in November.

There are some trips that are just short reprieves that quickly fade from memory. And then others should feel short because they are, yet are somehow so meaningful that they completely alter your state of mind. They pull you out of the parts of your life where you’re stuck and into the version of the world you wish existed, showing you that it’s possible to feel differently.

My recent trip to Berlin was one of those latter journeys. It’s hard to say precisely why. Maybe it was because I was so present and engaged with what was in front of me that I forgot about my responsibilities or worries in a way that felt revolutionary, as if my real life had completely faded away and all that was left was the experience at hand.

Perhaps it was because I was in an environment in which I fit in, something that rarely happens to me, a perpetual and professional interloper. Or maybe it was because I was surrounded by friends who showed me the type of platonic love I wished to experience during every mundane interaction. Perhaps the beats of Tresor rearranged my brainwaves, or I became entranced because the city is, as David Bowie said, “the greatest cultural extravaganza that one could imagine.”

Whatever it was, this short trip felt like true contentment. There was a warmth and glow to every interaction, a knowing nod of acknowledgment with every rumpled, hooded stranger, a sense that somehow I’d returned to where my soul was waiting for me. In other words, I had a very nice time in Berlin. I wonder why it took me so many years to go back.

And it seems I’ve brought back whatever magic I picked up in Germany because people keep looking at me and smiling. On the train and the streets, people make eye contact and nod for apparently no reason, as if there were some invisible sheen about me that I didn’t previously possess. I’ve come back softer and nicer and less tired, with a renewed enthusiasm for life and work. If only every short holiday could be like this.

My dear friend Aurélien Thome, a musician and audio engineer based in Paris, took some photographs of our trip. They’ll give you a glimpse of what we saw as we wandered around Germany’s capital. We spent most of our time in Kreuzberg, which I still think is somehow the most interesting neighborhood in Berlin, even 10 years after my first visit to the city.

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