I want to tell you how our first summer in Berlin went in 2013. This summer in Berlin was a big deal for me. I am a Filipino whose first time in Europe was to move and live here, which is completely different from coming as a tourist. As can be expected there are SO many things that are SO different here compared to Manila and Jakarta.
- May mga taong nagpapaa sa daan. (Some people walk barefoot on the streets) YEP. When we arrived in June it was still freaking cold 16 degrees during the day, but when the weather started heating up, we would see some people walking around the streets and subway platforms BAREFOOT. Whoa. Gnarly man. This is not the same as ladies walking barefoot, because their heels hurt from all night dancing in stilettos. Nope! It’s the “I want to enjoy the earth and rub my toes on the warm pavement,” kind of barefoot city walking. This isn’t done in Manila or Jakarta, unless it’s because you couldn’t afford shoes at all. Barefoot walking for an Asian like me is reserved for the beach. Kahit nasa beach nga, naka tsinelas pa hanggang sa papasok na sa tubig diba? Yung mga Koreano sa Cebu naka heels pa sa beach LOL!
- Long summer days. As someone from a tropical country, I couldn’t ever imagine the sun setting at 10 pm, until I saw it for myself here in Berlin. It was fabulous. People enjoying the outdoors until late! Loved it. Now that it’s fall the sun sets early and rises nearly at 8am. So much harder to wake up!
- Berlin in summer is warmer than I expected it to be. I was able to wear my shorts, sandals/flipflops and and flowing caftans. Very cool! A few days in the short summer, the temperature actually reached 39 degrees Celsius. Which brings me to my next point…
- Air-conditioners aren’t common here. In my warm tropical world, this was a shocking revelation. A city where airconditioning isn’t present in each house and office? Mindboggling. But now I understand because there were only a handful of night that were super warm. I am so thankful we brought our 2 small electric fans from Jakarta, but I wish we were able to bring our industrial fan (it didn’t fit in our shipment allowance any more) for those super warm nights that we couldn’t sleep. We tried leaving the windows open, but then the bugs started coming in haha! We would wake up next to lady bugs… which isn’t so bad aye?
- I love how casual it is here in Berlin! I am so happy to be back in a place where wearing flip-flops and super casual wear is perfectly acceptable. In Jakarta, it wasn’t really common to see people walking around the mall in flip-flops. People really dressed up, even if it was just to go to the mall (Blown out hair + cocktail dress + 5 inch heels!)
- They have artificial beaches. Obviously it’s nowhere near as nice as the real one, but hey you gotta make the best out of what you have. I was able to visit the Badeschiff with Deepa of Currystrumet.com and we sunbathed and had beers. Pwede na!
- Flowers are everywhere. I love seeing all the flowers blooming in Berlins many balconies. I always saw people carrying freshly bought flowers. Restaurants al fresco areas with colourful flowers blooming, and a flowers on vases on their tables. My best memory was this really macho-but-pot-bellied bearded man in construction overalls walking with the biggest bouquet of flowers I’ve ever seen. It just made me smile. (Click here to see my post on where we buy our flowers in berlin.)
- Kids playing in fountains. This is something new for me. I associate fountains with dirty water from pollution. But here the waters are running clear and people take off their shoes to dip their feet in water.
- Tour boats and water barges. I definitely want to go on a tour boat before winter. It’s still going on now, but those scenes of people in their sunnies on boats enjoying the warmth is something that I really loved seeing and want to experience myself. Now I would probably go on one of those boats that have are restaurant inside and enjoy the food while sightseeing. While we were at the Badeschiff, we even saw (I’m not kidding) a floating wooden teepee with people getting drunk on it. It was a tiny but they seemed to be having so much fun.
- I love how people really enjoy the outdoors here – sitting on park benches or on a blanket on the grass (sometimes minus the blanket!) and just chilling or having picnics. Because though it is warm, it is still a comfortable and pleasant temperature. It’s not a super-sweaty-arm-pit-kinda-warm. Click here to see my first time ever to have a picnic in a park)
Off the top of my head, that is all I can think of. I would love to hear about your random observations when you moved to a new city too! Do drop me a line!