Time and time again throughout my trip I've continued to hear that "Berlin is an AMAZING city to visit." I didn't find this to be the case. I've traveled more through Germany than any other country in Europe, and in every other German city I've been to I've felt welcomed by the people. Germans, who I feel have a very poor reputation back home, have always been friendly and warm to me during my visits. I've general dismissed this stereotype. Berlin, though, did not meet my expectations.
Almost immediately upon arriving we settled down at my friend Alex's aunt's garden home. This particular cottage was great and fit with everything that a group of travelers could ask for: a bed, beer, and food. Once settling down and getting some dinner in us, we headed out to the "clubs" of Berlin. Now before I dive too much into my experience in Berlin, keep in mind that the city is known for its club and hipster atmosphere. Think Brooklyn, but German.
Almost immediately upon heading out for a night, though, I felt turned off my nearly everyone I met. These Berliners were rude, unfriendly, unwilling to communicate in English (which everyone under 30 knows well and every other country has been the go-to common language), and seemingly distant. Never before in any other city throughout Europe have I felt so disconnected from the people of the country, and this is coming from someone who is a general fan of Germany.
Aside from our experience out on the town the first night, the following day our group (both Alex's along with "Alex whose family is from Poland's" entire extended family) spent the day touring through the city of Berlin. The city itself is a beautiful place, featuring all of the political buildings of the German government, the Brandenburg gate, and several old museums. The "Hop on Hope off" buses throughout Europe tend to be quite touristy (which this one was as well), but since I'd never actually ridden on one, I can say that it really is a good way to see a city throughout the day. The buses drop tourists off at every key destination throughout the city, and during the ride you get a fairly comprehensive overview of what you're actually looking at (something that just walking the city alone doesn't provide).
Overall though, like I said, I was unimpressed with the city as a whole. I didn't feel the people were very friendly, there seemed to be a lack of things to see and do, and I don't think I'll be heading back any time soon. Though our accommodations were fantastic and the company I was with even more wonderful, I felt that I didn't walk away from Berlin being all that blown away like everyone said I would be. Some highlights of the city included the Parliament Building, the Brandenburg Gate, and the giant park in the middle of the city, though like I said, none of it was enough to really get me to want to come back again.