I was visiting Berlin, Germany this week for a conference at the Freie Universitaet on regional integration. I spoke about the impact of populism and immigration on regional integration processes, like the EU and NAFTA. I had a couple of days to adjust to the time zone and enjoy the beautiful weather in Berlin, visiting some of my favorite places. I like to walk around the European cities I visit, particularly when I’m adjusting to jet lag, I find that doing a lot of walking outdoors is helpful in making the adjustment, although the nine hour difference is a challenge.
After I arrived on Tuesday and took a quick nap, I met a friend for dinner, then took a walk to the Brandenburg Gate.
I have been making regular visit to Berlin since 1995, and have watched the city change as the East has become integrated with the West. There is still a lot of construction going on, as the government tries to restore some of the buildings that were destroyed during the war and not rebuilt. They are currently extending a subway line so that it runs from the Brandenburg gate to Alexanderplatz. It is a symbolic and practical linking of the East and West sides of the city. Berlin is a relativey small city for a capitol, but there is always a lot going on.
Graffiti is everywhere, and it’s become an art form in many parts of the city. Walking along the river Spree is always a nice way to end an evening, and I enjoy the architecture that the government developed around the Reichstag, it is very symbolic of openness and transparency towards the people
Last but not least, one of my favorite places in Berlin is the Tiergarten. I enjoy this oasis of green and quiet in the middle of the city, right next to Potsdamerplatz, which has become a center for film and art.