The popular Berlin blogger Vladimir Guriyev wittily and convincingly tells future emigrants in his publication what awaits them if they choose the German capital as their place of residence:
Recently, I have several times talked about Berlin on the phone to friends who are thinking about how to organize their lives after leaving Russia.
In general, I decided to write about it, and maybe it will be useful to someone.
In general, I really like Berlin, although there is nothing to praise it for.
Architecturally, it is rather ugly. In any city you can find places worth seeing, and in Berlin, of course, they also exist, but this is not Barcelona or Paris. In principle, as a tourist destination, Berlin looks rather doubtful to me, if you are not going to go to nightclubs all the time.
At the same time, Berlin is very, very comfortable for life. Especially in summer, that is, from April to October. And beautiful in his own way. A lot of greenery, low houses, parks. You can walk around summer Berlin for hours. You will not see anything particularly interesting, but you will rejoice and rest. I was only in Barcelona as a tourist, but according to this criterion, Berlin looks much better to me than Paris, and I can look at architecture in google images if I press it.
I also really like that Berlin is relaxed. This is the only city in the world that I know where I can go out into the street and immediately find a person who is even worse dressed than me. More precisely, I can do the same in San Francisco, but there it will be a bum, and here it’s a completely ordinary person who just pulled on the first thing that came across in the morning. If you see a beautifully dressed girl in high heels on the street, then with a probability of 99 percent she is from Russia, Ukraine or, possibly, Poland and has arrived recently, has not yet settled in. In six months, she will immediately cut through in something resembling worn pajamas and a tracksuit at the same time.
I honestly find it difficult to compare Berlin to other German cities, I know almost nothing about them, and some features of Berlin may be features of Germany as a whole, but I also like that it is goofy. In principle, the Germans love and know how to build procedures for each issue, but they do not cope well with unexpected challenges.
One of my favorite examples concerns electric scooters. They could be sold and bought, there really were shops that sold exclusively scooters.
However, these scooters could not be ridden because they were forgotten to be included in some kind of law. It took Germany a couple of years to correct this small mistake.
I also like that here, in general, no one is here to run roughshod over anyone. Every year there are 6,000 demonstrations in Berlin for any reason. The vast majority of them are very small, there are five to ten people with posters. Nobody is pushing them. Just a week ago, while driving my bike, I drove past one of these demonstrations, and there a bored policeman was just peacefully chatting and laughing with one of the protesters, because it was boring, the weather was good, there was nothing else to do.
The notorious pride has long turned into a regular city attraction, which is visited by all and sundry. But this, it seems to me, has happened in other countries as well. For the last couple of months, for example, I have been bombarded with an advertisement for the Israeli pride on YouTube - like, Volodya, come, it will be fun and cool.
By the way, I am sure that this was the case, but did Moses, leading his people through the desert for forty years, assume that, in the end, the Jews would have their own country, and one of the main tourist anchors for it would be the pride?
From the bad: the winter here is terrible, warm and rainy, the sky is constantly overcast with gray. Summers are also warm and rainy, but the sky is very blue, Berlin is easy to fall in love with in summer.
Berlin is very young and very leftist in places, so from time to time there are all sorts of stupid initiatives in the spirit of taking everything and sharing it. But partly because of this, here - and in Germany as a whole - there is good social support from the state. You can go down to the bottom in any city and in any country, but in Germany they will try many times to help you stay afloat.
The West is still very different from the East, mentally and in many ways physically. For example, in the West, kindergartens are still open until three or four in the afternoon, because a woman is not a person and must sit with her children. East Berlin is living proof that the Soviet Union and its satellites were ahead of their time in this respect: kindergartens there are open until six or seven in the evening, assuming that both parents are working.
All trees are numbered and listed! Order!
Delivery almost never calls and almost never delivers the package to you, even if you are at home. Parcels here are usually given to those neighbors who first answered the call or simply stuffed into the mailbox.
Public transport runs around the clock. And, in general, it is customary to swear at him, but, in fact, he is good, one of the best in the world.
Berliners by local standards are considered very rude people, but I'm fine. I like that in the cafe no one fawns on you. They are rarely rude here, but if you go to establishments of the middle price category, you get the feeling that there are a lot of you, and the waitress alone does not let you go.
(In my experience, by the way, there are more waiters here than waitresses; at least in Italian and Croatian restaurants).
In general, there is a slight feeling of incompleteness and unfinished business. A couple of days ago, I read the news that the police had carried out another effective operation to curb drug trafficking.
Here is how it was. a pipe burst in a Berlin apartment. The tenant did not open the door, the neighbors called the police. The police broke down the door and found half a kilo of "goods" inside. This huge victory turned out to be a little overshadowed only by the fact that while the police were breaking the door, the tenant jumped out the window and ran away, and now there is no way to find him, because the official tenant has been in prison for a long time, and it was generally unknown who.
But the pipe has been replaced, the city can sleep peacefully.
In short, Berlin is goofy but cute. Very imperfect, but completely unconcerned about it. Sometimes naive and idealistic, but mostly in control. Some things are spelled out very clearly, a step to the side is considered an attempt to escape, and some, on the contrary, are not spelled out in any way, do as you know.
It seems to me that the character of Berlin as a city is well described by the following illustration.
In one of the places I visit regularly, the entire toilet is plastered with printed on a color printer ads “Protect the trees. Don't use toilet paper."
Personally, I think it's still a joke.
But trees are important, and this is Berlin.
I don't have complete certainty.
Just feeling guilty about being a tree killer…”