The choice to move to London wasn’t made lightly. I had a hard time coming to terms with leaving my beloved Berlin. The weeks leading up to my departure didn’t feel very final.
Disclaimer: I found this entry that I'd written in my first week in London. That was just over three weeks ago now and my opinion has already changed slightly.
I didn’t go and visit all the districts or pay for an expensive dinner at one of the top restaurants. I spent hours in my favourite neighbourhood cafes reading and enjoying the calm, quaint streets of Prenzlauerberg and the delicious coffee to be found almost everywhere. I relaxed and spent time in my apartment where I had all the privacy I could hope for, knowing that I would not be afforded the same luxury in London. I cooked and baked in my clean kitchen and invited friends over for drinks and dinner.
Berlin was my home for two years and in that time I had lived in four districts. I am glad not to have any regrets regarding not doing enough in my two years there. I really feel satisfied with the amount of sight seeing I did. I reached a point where I could confidently stop and answer any number of questions from a lost tourist. Need directions? No problem, I can tell you exactly which U bahn, S bahn, tram, or bus to take, where to switch and where to get off. I could probably at a stretch tell you the opening hours and admission fees of a number of museums and attractions. Best of all I could tell you a bunch of free sites to visit in Berlin which are sure to charm you.
After my first week in London I have obviously made blaring observations about the way the city runs here, the people and the infrastructure and scoped out the café and restaurant scene in a few locations. I miss Berlin and the places I made my favourites and my go to places. At this point I don’t think that I’ll ever find the same quirky, little bars, cute, welcoming cafes. I can see now why there are so many Brits in Berlin who are madly in love with the lifestyle of Germany. Although Berlin is a capital city it has only a few areas where you feel bombarded by a rush of tourists. You can easily be a tourist in Berlin and feel like a local in a widely spaced district. London seems to be busy everywhere I have been. The sheer density of humans walking along the footpaths here is overwhelming. The tube is always packed and the streets are so loud.
People I’ve spoken to so far have questioned my complaints about the business and noise and brought up the comparison with Seoul. Yes it was incredibly busy there too but there was something less urgent about the hustle and bustle and something more carefree and fun about the atmosphere. The urgency with which everyone behaves as they are rushing from A to B is so intense here.
Maybe it just takes time to get used to. Perhaps I’ll get to a point where the noise fades away and the crowds are just a passing blur. But I hope by that point I haven’t become jaded in some way.