“Mitte” like “bitte”.

It was summer in Amsterdam but definitely fall in Berlin. I wore the one warm weather outfit I packed until I thought it would dissolve. I read that Berlin was 13 miles across, but I had no idea how big that actually was until I got there. I spent most of my stay in the ultra hip Mitte neighborhood. It’s where Berlin’s answer to Sutro tower lives.


Despite being nearly twice the size of San Francisco, Berlin felt more laid back. Anecdotally, I think the dreams I see people chase in San Francisco are time sensitive. It’s about taking advantage of this emerging trend. Beating this or that rival to market. Finding a buyer before this round of funding runs out. There’s a rush to an imagined finish line that’s all consuming.

Maybe this exists in Berlin, too, but I didn’t see it while I was there. The stories that I saw in local rags were more likely to say ‘artist lucks out into storefront, decides on a whim to make and sell bagels’ than ‘neighborhood institution can’t meet rising rent, will close’.

What a relief to see people not care about rent.