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Berlin [Dec. 16th, 2015|01:20 am]
Forget Manhattan, I wanted to take Berlin.

There's a weird symmetry to my trip there. Last time I went to Germany, I was interrailing, after being at the same hippy place I was before, and after someone went on a massively powerful journey for me.

This time, I felt too 'clean' to do my usual thing and slink over to Amsterdam for some THC-assisted downtime. In the search for alternatives to the Netherlands, a friend suggested Berlin and it seemed like a good idea.

I'm glad I went. My glib line that I'll tell anyone who listens (and those who won't), is that Berlin is a bit like the Fallout but without the radiation, and that bottles have value, rather than their caps.

Yes, the Fallout reference is about the pfant system, but also about the fact that in some parts you will see perfectly legitimate restaurants and clubs in shacks made of corrugated metal and spare plywood. The first time I saw this, I was on the S-Bahn on the way into town, and I had time to look at it as it was directly in view while we were stopped in a train station.

There were bits of Berlin that had grass and weeds growing through old concrete but, unlike similar places in Dublin, those areas didn't feel dangerous.

I saw only the barest fraction of the city, but I think I love it. By the second day, I already wanted to come back. I also want to bring friends.

One place I hit was a fetish club on its no-dress-code night. It was an amazing place, a semi-permanent shack, its interior adorned with UV-reactive images of a pornographic nature. There was electronic music with a steady beat. Just the week before, I'd been trance dancing. I did more of it that night. It was fun. I think people tried to flirt with me, but I suck at flirting, so I didn't try to return the favour. It was just dancing plain and simple. Occasionally, I'd break for a drink and a smoke. Then back to dancing. I did it for just an hour, but it was fun. I left mostly because I couldn't see enough space on the floor to dance the way I wanted to.

Then there was the alternative pub crawl. I have mixed feelings on that, but that's down to certain events. (Basically homophobia (not directed at me) from some London lads, but at that stage of the night, I wasn't able to do more than attempt to look menacing and interested in the situation; if anything kicked off, I'd not have been able to do anything) That said, I saw some wonderful bars like an absinthe bar, and a ping-pong bar, and a goth bar (the tour guide said he was really glad I was on his half of the tour, because he reckoned I'd enjoy the goth bar, and I did). Then into a club in a bombed-out railway station for a hip-hop night. Not quite my scene, but an enjoyable end.

The rest was just me slowly meandering through a small part of the city. Of course, like any city break, I only felt like I knew how some separate bits of the city connected at the end of my stay. That said, I've been to London many times, and I still don't have that feeling (despite walking from Camden Markets down to my hostel near St Pancras one night).

Overall, the city was wonderful to me. It was cheap, it was sharing, and I managed to find a hotel in just the right spot (turns out the Hotel was overtly LGBT-friendly), and I was near a portion of the city that's finding its feet as the indie designer part of the city.

I never got the time to see any of the hackerspaces, but I know I want to go back, so I can try for that next time. There's so much there, there's so much to think of the places, and I can't wait to figure out when I'm going again. :)