Here’s the thing about traveling within Europe: If you make your starting point as close to Central Europe as possible, within a couple of hours you can literally be in another country. Whether by train, car, or plane, traveling around Central Europe is easily done.
On my most recent trip to Berlin, I took a direct flight from Geneva to Berlin. In less than 2 hours, I went from the Swiss Alps, to having the perfect coffee with Berliners. Where places like Rome and Paris are swamped with tourists during the summer, Berlin remains a sea of tranquility. Berlin is the capital of Germany and is known for its fashion sense, galleries, parks, street art, and food. David Bowie found Berlin to be “…the greatest cultural extravaganza that one could imagine.” Fun fact: Hollywood screen legend, Marlene Dietrich, Broadway and television director, Mike Nichols, celebrated thespian, Audra McDonald, and the multifaceted actress, Zazie Beetz, were all born in Berlin.
In 5 days, I visited the House of World Cultures (Haus der Kulturen der Welt), cycled 50 miles (it’s flat), and strolled through the majestic Potsdam Gardens of the 18th and 19th century. The marriage between the architecture of the gardens and the palaces are a delight to see. They are the perfect backdrop for any picture.
I was happy to see an agreeable mix of generations having conversations on sidewalk cafés and in bookstores (one of my favorite things to check out in a foreign city). 3.5 million people call Berlin their home. It shimmers with a cosmopolitan buzz without the hassle of a city like New York (less congestion of people and cars).
You can literally bike anywhere in Berlin if you have the time and know how to pedal. You don’t even need to own a bicycle because you can rent one through the app Berlin on Bike (15€ a day and e-bikes are also available at 40€ a day). It goes without saying the Germans would organize wonderful and safe bike lanes. Make sure you check out the Kollwitzplatz Farmers Market at Prenzlauer Berg. There, you will find all sorts of food and drinks to tempt the palate, as well as an array of high-quality clothes, accessories, and home decor. Pretty much everyone speaks English in Berlin, so don’t be shy.
If you choose to go by bike or walking, Berlin is an adorable place to explore with friends or a significant other. Love is in the air there, from the young to the young-at-heart, you can feel and see the love.