The opening ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympics were bizarre. The intent was to teach an overview of the history of the UK but the execution was off. Personally, I think that made it more enjoyable to watch. Once the performance reached the industrialization age I commented, “It’s strange they left out that whole imperialism thing.” The Olympics are about celebrating your nationality on a global playing field. If asked, the Queen Mum might declare that this is not the appropriate time or place to discuss negative events from the past (I mean present?). When is the appropriate time?

During my recent trip to Berlin we spent time both acknowledging the past and celebrating the present. Eff the funk and dig up the past so you can live free from the ties that bind you. This will mean something different for everyone.

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{The atrocities committed against the Jewish population of Europe is memorialized throughout the city} Visit The Jewish Museum Berlin which was built with symbolic form and function in mind… Lindenstraße 9-14

{A small portion of the Berlin Wall still exists} A lot of work has been put into the memorial along Bernauer Strasse.

{The government is committed to acknowledging the past} Take a tour of the Reichstag in the neighborhood Mitte. The original parliament building was destroyed but there are original elements that were incorporated into the new design in ’99: old walls with writing on them, a section in the basement with all of the names of past parliament members (including Adolf Hitler), and a press room that features modern art meant to represent the suffering caused by the Third Reich. However, the dome is extremely modern 13 years later and draws large tourist crowds.

{Many Berliners love antiques} Buy into the shabby aesthetic by visiting one of the many flea markets across the city. There is a huge one at Mauer Park every Sunday.

CELEBRATE the present

{Most of the clubs are in old warehouses/homes that have been re-appropriated} Dance your pants off at Chalet or KaterHolzig… Vor dem Schlesischen Tor 3 & Michaelkirchstraße 25

{There are many Turkish immigrants in Berlin} Eat at Meyman in the Friedrichshain neighborhood… Krossener Straße 11A

{It is not illegal to possess an open alcohol container on the streets} Buy a beer before boarding the U-Bahn or S-Bahn on your way out for the night. It will make your trip more enjoyable.

{Performance art is supported by the locals} See a burlesque show at the retro club Bassy… Schönhauser Allee 176A

{Did I mention they like beer?} Take in the natural beauty of the Tiergarten while tasting local brews at the biergarten Cafe am Neuen See… Lichtensteinallee 2