The reason I was went to Berlin was for a blogging conference called The Hive. It was the first year for the event and one of the first in Europe. Since I just recently launched The Kale Project, I figured it would be an interesting and worthwhile event to attend.
The last time I was in Berlin was in 2005 in the midst of winter. Aside from the fact that I was wearing horrible outfits (I took the whole Spanish/Euro thing a bit too far at times), Berlin left a lasting impression on me and I left the city excited to one day return. My second experience reaffirmed that I still love Berlin. While the city is not beautiful like Paris (so much of it was destroyed during the war), there is a vibrant and creative energy throughout - which I do not feel in Paris. Perhaps it is because the city is extremely international - I heard so many different languages just walking the streets - or it might be because the city has overcome so much in the past twenty years that being progressive and more open-minded is the only way to recovery.
As the city has rebuilt, they have done a great job at including the history around certain monuments and areas. Also included on the signs are pictures of what Berlin looked like in 1989 when the wall fell and it is incredible to see the changes. Standing at Brandenburger Tor (above) and thinking that only twenty years ago, this gate was one of the critical points directly between East and West Berlin but now is full of tourists made me stop and sit. It is humbling to think how much can change - for better or worse - could happen in such a short amount of time.
A piece of the Berlin Wall - with new art (to much criticism) about the ongoing issues with Wall Street.
A Holocaust Memorial.
Kids playing very entertaining music on the street on a Friday afternoon.
And of course I drank some beer. Coming from the country of wine, it was refreshing to be in a place where to have a large, cold beer is not frowned upon. It also was an extra bonus that the weather was absolutely gorgeous and the sun shone the entire weekend! It made drinking my beer at dinner that much more enjoyable! I also was re-introduced to Curry Wurst which is a traditional dish/street food that I (over) enjoyed back in 2005. The top-left photo is from the 'bodega' type shop right when you walk in.
Last but not least is the conference. It was held in an amazing co-working space called Betahaus. The concept is not new but this one had amazing energy and was done really well. The idea is that you pay a certain amount of money for a day or even a month subscription to use their wifi, printers, scanners, office space but at an affordable price. It's great for entrepreneurs, people that work from home but don't actually want to work at home or start-ups. And to add to the concept it's all centered around a hip coffee shop/cafe. Of course. Again proof at the creativity I felt in this city.
I met some really interesting people at The Hive, learned a few things that led me to new ways to think about The Kale Project and felt so fortunate to be surrounded by people from all over Europe who love expressing themselves through words and visuals.