Germany! The economic engine of Europe. Without Germany, there would be no Europe as we understand it today, at least financially speaking. Germany has the highest GDP in Europe by far, over 30% higher than the GDP of the UK (at a distant second place) and one of only five European countries that have a GDP of over $1 trillon. (The vast majority of European countries have a GDP of less than $500 billion each.)
I’ve done a lot of business with Germans and German companies over the past 25 years, but this is the first time I’ve spent any extended time in Germany, Berlin in particular, to actually get a feel for the country. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, having learned to speak very shitty German when I was a young man and always being interested in the culture. Germans had always seemed to be harder-working and more focused than other Europeans, something I later discovered was empirically accurate.
On this particular trip I hit London for a few days (a city I already analyzed here a few years ago), then Berlin for a while, both of which on business (including my Alpha Male 2.0 World Tour). Then I’ll spend a few days in Paris for a mini vacation, which I will discuss in the next article.
Pink Firefly went with me on this trip for once. White American girls usually have little interest in going to Asia and zero interest going anywhere near South America, but Europe, and Paris in particular, is where they all fantasize about going their entire lives. When I told her I was coming here, she was all too excited to join me, very unlike most of the other international trips I take.
But right now, I’m in Berlin. Let’s discuss.
The best word I can use to describe Berlin is sleepy. This city is, very strangely, the sleepiest, quietest, least crowded major city I have probably ever visited anywhere in the entire world. Often it doesn’t even feel like a city. Cities like Sydney, Vancouver, and San Diego have far smaller populations than Berlin’s six million (greater metro area), and yet those cities are crowded with wall-to-wall people constantly going to and fro at all hours of the day and night. They feel like cities.
Berlin, on the other hand, has hardly anyone walking around, at any hour of the day, even in the downtown core areas. Add this to the fact that they really don’t have any skyscrapers here (the tallest office building in the entire city is only 37 floors) and Berlin feels like you’re in a very small town at least much of the time. It’s very strange. The contrast coming here right from crowded-as-usual London was shocking.
Some might argue that this is because Berlin is very spread out, but that makes no sense either, since cities like Los Angeles and Miami are also really spread out, but massive crowds in these cities are still common and normal. It’s almost as if Berliners just don’t go out very much. I really don’t know.
All of this lends itself to an extremely relaxing vibe here. One morning I even commented to Pink Firefly that visiting Berlin is almost like going to the beach (though there is no beach, obviously). It’s that relaxing. It’s very nice and I really enjoy the relaxed vibe here. Traffic is also quite manageable because of this, even during Berlin’s rush hour(!).
Berlin is also greener than even the USA Pacific Northwest where I’m from. I’m accustomed to very green cities because of where I live, but in Berlin, instead of a city with patches of green like most high rainfall areas, is the inverse; green with patches of city all over the place. Flying into Tegel, I saw more trees than buildings, by far, and this didn’t really change much as we drove into the city. They just didn’t build Berlin very dense. Another unique aspect of this interesting town.
One problem Berlin has that I wasn’t expecting at all is graffiti. I have never seen this much fucking graffiti in any city outside of the Latin world. You can do a 20–minute drive through the middle of Berlin and, seriously, see the walls of virtually every building you pass slathered with graffiti. It’s as much as in Mexico City, but unlike in Mexico, the graffiti in Germany isn’t pretty or artistic. It’s mostly shit. Much of it also has a left-wing slant. More than once I saw graffiti that said things like “fuck capitalism.” Ah, Europe.
Pink Firefly, not being very well traveled, was baffled when she saw all of this. “Why do they leave all of this graffiti up? Why don’t they clean it off?” While I could answer that question in the second and third worlds of Latin America (because they don’t give a shit and don’t have the money), I could not answer it here in Germany.
Berlin also has the usual European smallness factor that is so obvious to people like me who grew up in America where everything is big. Everything is small here like in most countries in Europe. Small buildings, small cars, small people, small dogs, small beds, small apartments, small bathrooms, small sinks, and so on.
Pink Firefly, who has never been to Europe before was surprised and thoroughly confused when we had to lug our heavy bags up four flights of stairs to get to our apartment since the building didn’t have an elevator. “Oh yeah,” I told her, “This is normal in Europe.”
Unfortunately, the subway here in Berlin is pretty bad, probably the worst I’ve used in Europe. At first glance it looks organized and simple, but it’s quite the opposite. Many of the train platforms are labeled unclearly, most current train maps are flat out incorrect, and delays and other problems are commonplace.
Here’s an example of what happened to us. PF and I had planned to spend an entire day in Potsdam and check out the castles and palaces there. I did the research and it was very clear on the internet and on all of the latest Berlin train maps that train RE1 on Platform 2 in the Alexanderplatz banhopf (train station) would take us right there. I spent $20 US to get us both tickets; we boarded the train. We got nice and comfortable for the 30–minute train ride. Then, after two stops, the god damn train reversed direction and went right back to the train station where we left from. It was hilarious. There was no indication on any maps anywhere that this train did that, nor that the station where this happened was a terminus for any train.
So, shaking my head, we get off the train back where we started, go to the information desk and ask them what the deal is. Apparently, we had the wrong train (which was literally impossible to determine from their own information). We were directed to the correct train at Platform 4.
We go there and wait. Sure enough, I see the digital sign indicating the Potsdam train to arrive in six minutes. Cool. We wait three minutes. The sign still says six minutes. We wait another three minutes. The sign still says six minutes. We wait another ten minutes. The sign still says the train will arrive in six minutes. Then the train’s name vanishes off the sign. Then a few minutes later, it returns. It still says six minutes. 15 minutes later we’re still waiting. The sign goes from no Potsdam train to a train arriving in six minutes twenty minutes ago.
PF was amazed at how disorganized this all was, but I had warned her several times how disorganized Europe can be, so she wasn’t totally shocked. Then a woman’s voice comes over the loudspeaker saying something about the Potsdam train and another 25 minutes.
Ooooookaaayyy, thank you very much. I’m done now. Fuck you, German trains. I cancel our trip to god damn Potsdam, which I was really looking forward to, and instead spend the day in Berlin despite the wasted $20.
So yeah, Berlin’s subway system really bites ass. What a disappointment. But hey, to be fair, the exact same thing happened to me in New York. As I’ve said before, the infrastructure of the Western world is slowly collapsing regardless of what side of the Atlantic it’s on (as Asia’s infrastructure improves in leaps and bounds).
The women in Berlin are just average, and solidly so, no better and no worse. That means that they definitely aren’t ugly, they definitely aren’t fat (Germans are perhaps the skinniest Europeans I’ve seen so far), and there are plenty of cute girls if you look around enough, but hot women are extraordinarily rare to the point of being almost nonexistent here. I’ve been here several days, have been all over Berlin, and I’ve seen a grand total of two hot women. (And even then, they were quite young, perhaps age 20.)
I’d put the women in Berlin as better than London (which isn’t saying much) but worse than Italy and France. The good news is, as I said above, overweight women are extremely rare here. I’ve only seen a tiny handful and most of them were non-German. German women are very skinny.
Speaking of skinny, the men here are the typical skinny guys I typically associate with most European cultures. Their builds here are quite tall but very skinny, with narrow shoulders and the skinniest legs of any white men I’ve ever seen. PF commented that while she found lots of men in London very attractive, she hasn’t seen any men in Berlin who she thought were good-looking.
People here are extremely friendly, which I wasn’t expecting. Most Germans I’ve met and worked with weren’t humorless or mean or anything, but I wouldn’t categorize them as friendly. Yet people here have been extremely nice to me and PF.
At one point one of our bags fell out of the back of an Uber we were taking (while we were parked). Two women immediately ran over from almost across the street, picked up the bag (which was heavy), placed it back into the car for us, and warned us that it had fallen. That’s just an example of these very friendly Germans; I had many experiences like that here.
The people here have also been very tolerant of my horrible German speaking ability. I took several years of the German language when I was younger (a foolish mistake on my part; I should have taken Spanish). Today I’m in the category where I speak the language just enough to be barely understood but I abuse the language so badly that what I say is really funny and (if I wasn’t outcome independent) extremely embarrassing.
But when I speak their language like an idiot, the Germans here just smile, repeat what I said correctly, and continue on. I would make fun of me (seriously), but they’re too nice.
The Spearhead of the Collapse
I have read a sociological theory more than once that because of their devastating loss in World War II, the two formerly powerful and masculine nations of Germany and Japan both had their Alpha Male badassary ripped out of their cultures. I have no idea if this is the case. I haven’t done the research, and I don’t want to speculate. I’m just saying that I’ve heard this from many people who have studied these things.
I do think that there is a deep and powerful guilt in modern German culture regarding what the Nazis did, which helps explain why the intelligent, organized, and industrious Germans are so hell-bent on politically destroying their own nation. But most of Suicidal Europe is doing this, not just Germany, so it’s not fair to pick on them. The only difference is, as I explained to the guys who went to my seminar here, when Europe collapses (and it will before the USA), people in poor countries like Moldova aren’t going to really feel it, but people in comparatively prosperous countries like Germany are going to feel it hard.
Speaking of all of this, visiting Checkpoint Charlie where the Berlin Wall once stood was a real highlight for me. The picture above is me standing right in front of the checkpoint. The fall of the Berlin wall and the reunification of Germany were two of the greatest historical events during my lifetime. It’s such a shame that Germany is going down the same road to destruction as my country, only faster.
Overall, I really like Berlin (minus its trains), thoroughly enjoyed visiting here, and will return here soon, perhaps next year when I visit Russia and Eastern Europe.
Next up, Paris…