Welcome to the Goethe-Institut CityScapes Blog.
From January through December 2011, these were the parameters for a playground of diverse, fascinating, vibrant tales: Responding individually to a collective impetus, a host of hand-picked young bloggers uploaded photos, texts, and multimedia. Every month, they were given a new theme. Step by step, they created a kaleidoscope of impressions, opinions, ideas and… plain fun.
This project has now ended. If you like what you see, you may want to check out the brand new CityTales Comic Blog.
Invited to study on the other side of the world and learn a new language can send shivers through you, and I was no different. Though what I was unclear of along with many other things, is the extremeness of a European winter.
As family and friends experience an unseasonal summer (is this possible to say in 2012) in New Zealand with cool temperatures and rain to boot. Berlin, Germany is having a mild and temperate winter with no snow seen. I can't work out if the Berliners' see this as good or bad. Snow has a clean pure quality, with a sense of nostalgia and an element of fun attached to it but it also brings a lot of problems. With accidents on the road (in the 100's typically on the first day), icy sidewalks and ash spread over the snow. What I do know for certain is it's freezing cold for me!. Scarfs, jackets (x2) hats, vests and socks (x2) have been ways of combating the chill and I'm still not winning.
Public transport that works makes a city feel open to investigation and exploration. How great it is to not have to rely on your own private transport, or asking a friend for a ride on where you wish to go. Berlin has over 173 U-Bahn stations boasting 10 lines to get you to and from around the city. With regular trains passing your local station you can be guaranteed to be on time. Even late night excursions you can still get back home at the end of the night or early hours of the morning.
Living in the neighborhood of Kreuzberg on the south part of the city, there is a constant hive of activity throughout the day. A walk around the Nachbarschaft (neighborhood) many ethnicities and social groups go about their daily life. Young, old, hip and square, families and students all seem to partake in this colourful neighborhood. Kreuzberg also known as Little Istanbul has one of the largest populations of Turkish people in Berlin with markets, mosques and food vendors spread around the streets.
And finally the study! Its great to be learning another language again and the Goethe Institut proved a wunderbar (wonderful) environment to learn and study. My pronunciation is slow, but with patience of an excellent teacher and class mates I'm getting better as time goes. The Goethe Institut is in a beautiful building with welcoming staff, an extensive library and even culture activities organised outside of class so you can brush up on Berlin and Germany's rich and diverse history. More stories to come!