Four years and four months, almost to the day, after arriving in the Netherlands, we’re heading off to pastures new. Starting in August, an exciting new adventure will begin in the German capital, Berlin. A new job, new apartment, new neighbourhood and a new language to try to master (never really got the better of Dutch). I was recently in Berlin for a few days when the temperature was in the high 20s, it was a good time to visit but I’m told the winter can be terrifying – and very, very long.
Four days was just enough to get a taste of this extraordinary city. Berlin is undergoing a huge transformation, made visible everywhere by the sheer mass of construction taking place. As you walk around its different neighbourhoods, it feels like an exciting, progressive place, facing only forward. It’s rightly thought of as one of Europe’s most liveable big cities and a renowned centre of culture. But it is still a city shackled to its recent past. Whether the abomination of the Nazis or the city divided by the Cold War, you don’t have to look far to be reminded of darker days.
It will to be a big wrench to leave the Netherlands, a place that we’ve grown to love, but I can already tell that Berlin is going to be fascinating. A few days spent exploring the city, was followed by a road trip back to the Netherlands – Bremen, Hamburg, Lubeck and Schwerin. I’d never been to any of these places before, and it made me realise how little I know Germany. There’s more to come from the road trip soon, for the time being here are a few impressions from Berlin’s sunny streets.