April 24, 2013 will go down in history as the day one crazy Lithuanian was given a bike in Berlin.
Reporting a month later, and in all seriousness, I do have to say that beginning to bike around Berlin did have a big effect on my life here and how I see the city. As well as facilitating my transformation from a clueless tourist into an expert map reader, it has instilled an even bigger sense of belonging and comfort here.
Ever since the first bike tour of my neighborhood, I have become addicted to this mode of transportation. I believe that I raved about how excellent public transportation is in my previous blog posts, and I still think that is the case – but discovering Berlin by bike has become a real treat and something that I look forward to doing every day. Not only is it healthy for students like me who otherwise lead a pretty sedentary lifestyle, it is also a fantastic way to familiarize oneself with this metropolis.
But, in fact, I do not see Berlin as a metropolis anymore. While I am still fully convinced that this city does truly have everything a living soul could possibly wish for (perhaps except for a few more 80-degree-days), at the same time its size doesn’t seem overwhelming anymore, and even biking from the southwestern district Schöneberg where I live to Humboldt University or IES seems like an easy feat (and, with only a 30 min bike ride, it indeed is).
Next weekend, I am participating in the annual “cycling festival,” during which cyclists will have opportunities to navigate all over Berlin and Brandenburg on car-free streets and even the autobahn! The event aims to raise awareness that although Berlin is a great city for biking, there are still ways in which it could be more cyclist-friendly, namely in terms of the general road etiquette and the number of bike lanes. I can’t wait for this event. I just hope it won’t rain – especially given that IES is also hosting a picnic at a park near the institute next weekend.
Now, off to watch the Champions League final game between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich!
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Marta is a Sociology and German double major at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, but has a hard time staying within the boundaries of these two disciplines just the way she cannot stay in any one place for a long time. The thirst for knowledge and adventures is her biggest drive; over the course of her college career she has taken classes ranging from film studies to psychology, and she just spent a semester studying Arabic in Jordan. Originally from Lithuania, Marta has been fortunate enough to call many places her home. When she is not devouring books, she coordinates and leads campus tours, serves as a proctor in a first-year student dorm, works at the Admissions office as well as helping out at the Registrar’s office at Bowdoin. In her free time, she can be found either taking photographs or swing dancing. She can’t wait to check out the Berlin lindy hop scene!</span></p>