Blogging from Berlin – Germany v Greece
Not a great start to the day, being totally dehydrated, a raging headache I was unable to contain, but the evening made up for the bad start.
Walking through Schoenberg seeing almost every Bar that was open with the TV on watching Euro2012 – I am not ‘into football’ by any stretch of the imagination – the sense of community was almost physical, the Greek bars watching as avidly as the German ones.
The political allegory will have escaped no-one, but that was unimportant tonight.
Sitting down to eat was amazing, the whole street cheering as the Germans put one goal in after another, and the solitary Greek bar cheering as Greece scored one of the goals. The thing was that there was no animosity, it was good humoured. This is the side of football, and of Berlin, that rarely gets reported, the sense of community. Walking around Berlin, at whatever time is a safe occupation, it feels as if crime does not exist, though I am sure that it does, somewhere. As the cars went past there was a lot of car horn tooting, all good fun, all good humoured, the national identity confirmed.
In the UK, especially Swindon where I live, I would not have ventured out, if I had I would have been prepared for the vague sense of threat that permeates the town when too much drinking had taken place, and no way would I have gone in a pub with the vaguely distasteful loutish behaviour. Berlin is far too sophisticated and chilled for that.
There is a certain of sophistication about this city, and two quotes that sum up the city, the first is from the Gay Mayor of Berlin.
‘Berlin may be broke, but we are still sexy’
and the second is from a Guide Book
‘Berlin is like the naughty younger of brother of other German cities’
and both are true, it is relaxed, full of history, the capital, excellent transport systems, but still fun!
…. and walkable