WordCamp Europe, the catalyst for the travel, was held in Berlin this year and kick-offed the EU 2019 trip. Berlin is a large and beautiful city. The architecture, food, public transportation, and shopping were great. The open squares and beer gardens were plentiful—European cities know how to create large social spaces. There was also a lovely smell throughout the city due to the thousands of linden trees that were in bloom.
We stayed in the southern part of Mitte, the central borough of the city. The location was fantastic. It was easy to walk to all of the attractions and food of central Berlin. Our hotel was next to a U2 station, making it super convenient to get to the WCEU venue and to other districts within the city.
The city is extremely bicycle friendly. The bicyclist… lets just say that pedestrians are third in the hierarchy of owning the sidewalks and streets. 1-bicycles 2-cars 3-pedestrians. It was, however, impressive to see how many people ride their bikes as their primary mode of transportation. It is inspirational.
In dealing with its past, the city doesn’t hide the atrocities that happened in and around the area while under control by the Nazi Party. Rather, it is magnified. There are many markers, monuments, and memorials throughout the city to the memory of those that were taken and/or killed. It is a dramatic reminder that people are people and that we need to push back on anyone in power who divides people based on gender, race, religion, etc.