notes from berlin: how to explore a new city
Adventures and magic in a foreign city.
Published Feb 20, 2015 12:00 PM
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Before I moved to Berlin, I had only heard about the inspiring atmosphere of the city. And suddenly I found myself right in the middle of it: From living room concerts to street food feasts, there’s this incredibly creative spirit in the air. And while living costs are still comparably low, creative ideas are more likely to flourish.
So when spring had sprung in 2013, from one day to another I had my own idea for an online magazine: I imagined all these creatives living in this city from all around the world and wondered what they love about Berlin and why it’s such an intense place to be right now. So I started reaching out to people that I found inspiring and asked them to write down their own story.
From writers and photographers to bloggers and shop owners, everybody has something interesting to tell and share about themselves. For the feature itself, we then always meet at their favorite place to take the photos. There’s just something so inspiring to meet with other likeminded creatives over a cup of coffee and listen to their stories.
After some time, other enthusiastic editors joined the team to open chapters in their own city. This way, Best Wishes Magazine not only works as a collection of creative success stories, but also as a personal travel guide made by locals. At the same time, as a food & travel writer, this has become my favorite way of exploring a new city. Besides visiting the usual sights, it’s the small spots frequented by locals that makes one really experience the city life.
My most treasured travel memories come from stumbling upon these neighborhood favorites. Only recently I’ve spent some time in sunny Lisbon and at almost every green park or viewing platform, there’s a kiosk, a small green shop with its signature square architecture inviting you to sit down after exploring the city all day.
As the locals do, I ordered some pastéis de nata with my espresso. Old Portuguese men were playing chess in the shadow of the trees, dogs were chasing each other and loved ones were sitting side by side, leaning their faces towards the sun, their eyes closed, smiling. It’s the coffee culture that really lets you experience the daily life in a city – from Italian espresso bars where one orders standing at the counter while having a chat with a neighbor to the impressive coffeehouses in Vienna where time seems to stand still. Back here in Berlin, the cafés are much more improvised. This city has always been about change and there’re many people who switched careers to open up their own place.