Sunday, February 12, 2012

The "Real" Berlin

Berlin, Germany, with its famous TV tower in the background.

Around 13 years ago I went to Germany for a year as an exchange student. I lived in a town near Hannover, in the northern part of the country. I had many fantastic experiences, so if anyone ever asks me my opinion on exchange programs, I always enthusiastically support them! Anyhow, during that exchange year I went with a bunch of other exchange students on a group trip to Berlin, the capital of Germany. I really liked the city, and I said to myself that I'd love to live in Berlin sometime in the future, even if only for a few months or a year.

As you may know, I now live in a small town named Berlín, which is hidden in the mountains of Costa Rica. This fact makes me think that God and/or destiny may be laughing at me. 

Berlín, Costa Rica, with its famous TV towers!

Seriously, though, the town's full name is "Berlín de San Ramón." It's in the province of Alajuela, just south of San Ramón and Palmares. Here's an approximate map, but there seems to be very little information about the town on the internet, aside from blogs that I have written! The town apparently is named after the German capital because it was originally founded by some Germans. But other than the town's name, I've never seen any other evidence to support that theory. In other words, no one here speaks German (except me), no one looks "German" --tall, with blond hair and blue eyes, I guess?-- here in town (except me), and no one here likes sauerkraut (except me... and Angela!).

I took this picture of Berlín, Costa Rica a few years ago. When I look at it, it makes me think that the Germans who supposedly named this place must have never actually seen Berlin, Germany, since the two places seem to have absolutely nothing in common!

In any case, I came across this recent article about Berlin, Germany on Deutsche Welle. "Deutsche Welle" means "German Wave"; it's a German media outlet, and it's a great resource if you're learning German (or already speak the language). You can check out the Berlin link here, and you can also go to Deutsche Welle's German, English, and Spanish sites by clicking on each language.

You've probably gotten the hang of this game by now, but can you guess which Berlin I took this picture in?

In case you don't speak German, here's more information on Wikipedia about Berlin in English and Spanish. Finally, here's a link about Berlin, the 1980s New-Wave band!

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful week!

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-Ryan