What immediately comes to mind is simply the enjoyment I had being in Berlin. I left with a sense that I could live there. Granted this view was likely distorted by the gorgeous weather. With sunny, blue skies and pedestrian-friendly 70-some degrees, I was able to walk some six miles nonstop with my camera without breaking a sweat. That’s my Valhalla.
Weather aside, Berlin is fantastically designed for people. It’s walkable, trains and trams are aplenty to cover longer distances and the city is often counted as one of the best in the world for cyclists. True to form, just about everyone I met was happily without a car in their respective lives. The question of a car was often greeted with a confused look that seemed to imply, “Why would I own one with so many better options available?” Whereas in the States, my wife and I are often treated like lost lepers without a way home.
The focus of this trip was covering the Berlin Wall cycling trail, but that little historic adventure was saved for my second day. After landing and dropping off my bags at Ackselhaus in the charming Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood, I immediately set off to walking the streets of Berlin. My sense that I could live in Berlin was given to me mostly by my surrounding neighborhood. Despite a rough 20th Century, many of the buildings were well maintained and there was a calm amidst the tree-lined streets. Prenzlauer Berg had all the amenities of a major city without necessarily overcrowded streets.