A walk in the woods

Earth’s crammed with heaven,

And every common bush afire with God,

But only he who sees takes off his shoes,

The rest sit round and pluck blackberries

-Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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How can something as simple as a walk in the woods bring such pleasure and delight? It’s when we walk with purpose, taking in our surroundings and observing nature at its best that our soul rejoices in such beauty and creation.

The fall season is undoubtedly the most beautiful as many would agree. Golden leaves scattered everywhere and some still afloat in the air, making their way slowly but surely to the ground. Trees, bare as they may be, display such poise and stature, ready to be clothed with the next season’s gifts of snow and ice. Such wonder, my soul sings. Such beauty in simplicity that I leave the woods feeling rejuvenated, soothed and revived.

Dresden’s old and new

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Dresden is the only city of former East Germany (discounting East Berlin) that we visited and we were keen to see how different it would be from other parts of Germany. We were charmed by Dresden’s Alstadt (old city) with its distinctive Baroque style architecture and Soviet style pastel coloured buildings with cute windows poking out of the rooftops. Despite being completely bombed out during WWII with only a few buildings left standing, the old city was rebuilt to resemble its former glory. Dresden reminded us of Prague and this could be attributed to the Soviet influence or just simply physical proximity of both cities.

The newer part of Dresden known as Neustadt is what stayed with us. We were drawn to this quirky area known as Kunsthofpassage which is a courtyard with several buildings, each with a unique modern design. The best design is known as the ‘Court of Water’ which merges architecture (funnels, gutters and pipes) and nature (rain water) to create music. I’ve never seen anything more clever. These buildings are inhabited by locals and indie or vintage shops which adds to the charm of this place.

On a whole Dresden took us by surprise with its old and new and is worth stopping over for a day or two if not more.

Berlin is the future

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There, you heard it first here on this blog. Sounds like a far fetched claim? Maybe. But hear me out first.

Berlin is the cheapest European capital we’ve been to, and probably one of the cheapest cities to visit in Europe.  I judge this on the following criteria: Airbnb accommodation (our choice of lodging), transport costs and groceries. This has also been backed up by locals and migrants who live here as well as friends who have visited Berlin.

Berlin is a fairly young city, having reunified less than 30 years ago. After the fall of the wall, rent and property in East Berlin was apparently so cheap that there was an influx of artists, students and low to middle income earners to this part of town. East Berlin is hot and now is a good time to buy property in this part of town because it is only going to attract further development and gentrification before prices skyrocket.

Berlin is cosmopolitan. International cuisine is everywhere and migrants are welcomed to this city. English is widely spoken and Berliners appear to be open to accepting new cultures and faces.

Berlin is exciting. The art and music scene here is thriving. The only place where I’ve heard more talented buskers than in Berlin is New York, and that says a lot. The buskers here are very well received and supported. Art is everywhere and the street art here is the best I’ve seen. So expressive and meaningful.

These are the reasons why I think Berlin is an emerging city with potential and so much to offer. I was asked to describe Berlin. I liken Berlin to New York city, say 30 years ago when it was at the height of its prime. Up and coming, fresh to the scene but one to watch out for.