“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.

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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.

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