60 Hours in Berlin

I just got back from Berlin this week, there for a gathering of researchers studying and making signing avatars; good stuff. It was my first time in Germany though I don’t think it was long enough to give a great opinion on the place. Here’s a list of pros and cons just the same:

Pros:

  • Airport access via bus and U-bahn: TXL to the city center in 30 mins.
  • All the Germans I spoke to had rather good English.
  • The French and American embassies are new, beautiful, and open (unlike the US embassy in Paris, with its makeshift barriers and guards outside, which makes a citizen feel wholly unwelcome).

Cons:

  • Dirt and trash everywhere. Berlin did just get some snow, but it seemed much worse than I’d have expected.
  • A rather soviet feeling, even in the old Ally sections: the architecture of the city needs an overhaul.
  • There was some shopping, but nothing like Paris.

Guess I’ll have to get back some time and be a real tourist. Maybe in springtime.

Here’s a few pictures from around town: Berlin Jan 2011