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Berghain, Currywursts And Other Culture Shocks

Photo by Cromeo.

After living in Berlin for the duration of six ‘summer’ filled weeks (they say summer, but the temperature mirrors that of an ice cold Australian winter), I am proud to say there isn’t a whole lot that will shock me. Soaking up everything that comes with the German culture ultimately means you will eat your weight in bread and currywursts, drink at least 20 steins by Sunday afternoon and remain fearless when riding your bike towards on coming trams.

When attending my first flea market in Berlin, I’m surprised no one mistook me for a hippopotamus simply for the way my large mouth hung open with shock and happiness. I had never witnessed anything like it. If I turned my head to the right there was a small colosseum of 2000 people cheering on the worst karaoke rendition of “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” I’d ever heard. If I turned my head to the left there was an impromptu salsa lesson occurring, and if I looked straight ahead, in the middle of a drum circle, there was a man wearing nothing but a blonde bobbed wig, a horsetail and trousers, all while serenading a woman with his guitar. This eye opening experience has led me to the conclusion that everyone is embraced in Berlin, no matter how crazy they act, dress or talk.

In saying that, the young Berliners can become clickier than Regina George in ‘Mean Girls’. Most are far too trendy to even glance at you through their non-prescription glasses. This goes hand in hand with the fact you will not be let into a club simply because your boobs are bigger than your head. This is not Australia: if you attempt to set out for a night in your tightest Kookai dress and heels higher than a Q1 scale replica, you will spend the rest of your night complaining in broken German to a taxi driver.

Whilst waiting outside the worlds biggest club ‘Berghain’ I witnessed three stunning girls who could easily have passed for models in the latest La Perla campaign, turned away after having waited for 40 minutes in line. I then saw a person (I’m still contemplating the sex of this human), dolled up in a blue fishnet t-shirt which allowed for an unobstructed view of their boobs, metallic gold hot pants and matching coloured ankle boots walk past the line and straight through the heavy metal doors without so much as a wave to the five security guards. I now understand why it’s a normal thing for people to spend up to three days inside this club, because they never know when they will be granted entry into the holy grail of nightclubs that is ‘Berghain’.

The fact that it will cost you 2000 Euros and two years of driving lessons to be granted a driving license in Berlin has contributed to the fact almost everyone within the city rides bikes everywhere. One brisk May morning we set out with our newly acquired bikes for a leisurely ride. I was so immersed in the architecture of the buildings surrounding us that I rode head first into a parked car in front of a heavily populated cafe. After a quick inspection of the car we made a swift exit from the scene with myself hobbling quickly along and my boyfriend carrying my now slightly bent bike.

The crazy madness that is Berlin is something every young traveler must experience in his or her lifetime. The immense history, mouth-watering food, social acceptance and nightlife make Berlin my favourite city to date.

Written by Caity Hennessy.

Categories: Stories
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