Monday, 28 December 2015

Processing a tragedy

The lockdown in Brussels last month reminded me of the days following the 9/11 attacks in New York.

I'm home in the US for the holidays, and over the weekend I discovered a treasure trove of old videos from high school and college in my parents' basement.

Among the VHS copies of my public access sketch comedy show in high school (don't worry I won't embarrass anyone by posting those videos!) I came across some footage I shot during the 9/11 attacks in New York City. I had completely forgotten about it.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

No, Brussels is not the new Berlin

People move to Berlin because they want to. People move to Brussels because they have to.

Given that I live in both cities, a lot of people have been asking me this weekend about Friday's New York Times article, 'Why Brussels is the New Berlin'. My first reaction after seeing the headline was to scoff. The article itself left me rather perplexed and annoyed.

These "________ is the new Berlin" articles are becoming a bad cliche. As Jon Worth pointed out in his blog today, this has been written about Warsaw, Leipzig, Zagreb, Krakow, Vilnius - the list goes on and on. The only prerequisite for the comparison seems to be that the city is cheap and has at least some artists in it. The Brussels-Berlin comparison is not itself new. Deutsche Welle did a similar article in August, although their piece had a more sensible focus on artists.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Germany sticks its neck out again - this time on climate

Germany is pushing for a 1.5 degree warming limit in the global climate agreement, but this goes beyond the EU's mandate of two degrees.

I'm in Paris this week for the big climate change summit, and it's very interesting to be here and compare it to Copenhagen five years ago. That summit, which notoriously collapsed in failure, was an absolute chaotic mess. This one, by contrast, is much calmer.

There are two reasons for this. For one, most of the groundwork has already been done before this summit. Secondly, the ambition level this time around is much lower - most notably because the reduction targets will not be legally binding. 

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Auf wiedersehen, sleeper trains

A leaked internal document reveals Deutsche Bahn may halt all sleeper train services in Germany at the end of next year.

If you like the idea of rolling across Europe in the relaxed comfort of your bed, it looks like you've got just one year left to do it - in Germany at least.

Deutsche Bahn, the German rail operator, has reportedly signalled that it may end all city night line trains in December 2016. No more overnight trains.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Black Friday, Europe? Really?

Black Friday sales take place because it's the day after Thanksgiving and most Americans have the day off. Why are we observing it in Europe?

OK, I looked the other way when Europeans increasingly became gripped with Halloween fever over the past several years. I watched in silent bemusement as I saw Europeans hosting Thanksgiving dinners with no Americans present. But today I have to draw the line.

Black Friday, Europe? For the love of god, why?

I suppose I get where this is coming from. Europeans watch a huge amount of American television and film and they want to emulate the American holidays they've seen celebrated on screen their entire lives. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day, American-style St Patrick's Day, even the Fourth of July - I've seen them all celebrated here by non-Americans. Stores have started setting up special sections for these holidays. 

Thursday, 26 November 2015

For the first time, I'm considering leaving Europe

Europe and America are both facing problems, but Europe's governing structures are more vulnerable and seem ready to collapse. It's left me pondering my future.

Since I first moved to Europe ten years ago, I've been surprised by how often I am asked one particular question - "will you ever move back to America?"

It always struck me as unusual, because I don't think a European who moved to America would get that question all the time. But in the four European cities I've lived in, people have seemed genuinely perplexed about why I'm here. Why would someone prefer to be in Europe rather than the United States? The question always annoyed me, and my answer was resolute.

"No, I'm not planning to move back," I responded. "I have a better quality of life here, I'm no longer in an American bubble separated from the rest of the world and, most importantly, I feel more hopeful for the future here than I did in the United States."

As we come to the end of 2015 I have to ask, is there reason for me to feel hopeful for Europe any more?

Monday, 23 November 2015

Brussels in 'lockdown'

Brussels is a lot tougher than people unfamiliar with the city might think.

I was in Brussels during the intense events of the last few days, and I would be lying if I said I didn't feel quite a bit of relief to be back in Berlin today. 

At the same time, I'd have to say that the situation in Brussels wasn't quite as terrifying as the international media has made it out to be. And Brusselers are far more used to this kind of thing than one might assume.

The reports have been full of the same tired clichés that I often here about Brussels - that it's a quiet town "usually associated with the somnolent activity of the European Union", as the New York Times put it. In truth, the roar of helicopters, the whir of constant sirens and the sight of military personnel on the streets of Brussels is not an unusual sight. The city is, don't forget, the home of both the EU and NATO and therefor requires intense security for visiting leaders.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Longer waits to get back home for EU citizens

EU interior ministers in Brussels agreed today to put in place the same screening procedures for their own citizens as for foreign citizens at the EU's external borders.

As someone with both US and EU nationality, I've been amazed at the very different experience I encounter when entering each one.

When I go home to New York, I always have to wait in a very long line at JFK airport, even though I am entering with my US passport. I have to fill out a customs declaration form, then bring it to a border guard (after a wait of usually around 40 minutes). He runs it through the database, and asks me a serious of questions. Where have I been? Why do I live in Belgium? What is my job? Where am I staying? The whole interview process can take between three to ten minutes.

Contrast this to my experience coming home to the Schengen area using my Italian passport. I've never once been asked any question at the border. Usually, they just glance at my passport and wave me through. Sometimes they quickly run my passport through a scanner. Given how quick the process is I doubt it's running my name through an extensive database.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Why is Brussels a terror nexus?

The combination of balkanised authorities and a marginalised North African population has made Brussels a natural terrorism hub. 

I’m here in Brussels this week, doing a few TV spots and moderating some conferences. As soon as I arrived at the airport last night, I could sense the tension in the city as a result of this weekend's terrorist attack in Paris. 

As I rode the nearly empty tram to my Brussels apartment, a group of young North African men got on the tram, engaged in a heated argument amongst themselves about the recent attacks (they were debating whether or not it was justified). I stopped into my local kebab joint and found another discussion between the Moroccan owners and a white Belgian customer, about how the authorities should respond. Outside, sirens wailed as police searched the city for one of the attackers believed to be on the loose in the city.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Martin Luther and German nationalism

The father of the protestant reformation has been used as a propaganda tool by many governments over the years, but today he attracts considerably less attention.

Today I took a day trip to Wittenberg, where the protestant reformation began in 1517 after the theologian Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the church door. That act of rebellion kicked off a Europe-wide revolt against the corruption in the Catholic church that would eventually lead to the wars of religion in the 16th century, killing thousands upon thousands of people. During all this time, Wittenberg became the center of reformation effort, known as the "Protestant Rome".

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Germany's privacy preoccupation

Can Germans convince other Europeans to feel as strongly about data privacy as they do? A new documentary tries to make the case.

Last night I attended the Berlin premier of Democracy, a documentary about the European Union's proposed data privacy regulation. The director, David Bernet, has been following the main actors involved in the legislation since it was first proposed in January 2012.

The film strives to be a call-to-arms for Europe as a whole, drawing attention to the threat posed by data surveillance and the current make-or-break moment for this legislation which would put controls on snooping. It opens and closes with shots of the Parthenon in Athens, with an ominous-looking government helicopter flying overhead. The not-so-subtle message: all democracy is under threat from unrestrained data surveillance.

But despite the pan-European scenes, the film seems to be coming from a very German perspective on these issues. And as somewhat of a privacy-sceptic, I came away feeling that while film told me what is happening with the legislation, it didn't tell me why I should support it.

Friday, 6 November 2015

English in Berlin? Not as widespread as you might think

A new study finds Slovenes, Estonians and Poles all have greater English proficiency than Germans. 

One of the biggest adjustments for me moving from Brussels to Berlin has been linguistic. For one thing, I moved from a city where I speak the language (French) to one where I don't (German). 

But I'll admit it - even though I speak French I preferred to do most things in my native language when possible. In Brussels, this was most of the time. I only spoke French when I absolutely had to, either for work (a lot of French lawmakers don't speak English or are not allowed to), for dealing with Belgian administration, or socially if I was with a group of all Francophones (that didn't happen very often).

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Rush Hour in Berlin

Due to a mixture of geographic and lifestyle factors, Berlin doesn't have much of a 'rush hour' to speak of.

I have a genuine question for Berliners - is there anything resembling a rush hour in this city? Perhaps it's the area in which I reside or the nature of my work, but after four months of living here I have yet to see any difference in traffic patterns or public transport ridership during the traditional commuting times of the day.

Maybe it just seems comparatively inactive because I'm coming from Brussels, which sees bumper-to-bumper gridlock throughout the city from 7h to 10h and 16h to 19h. I've noticed that it's only gotten worse since they closed Boulevard Anspach, the main thoroughfare in central Brussels, to pedestrianise it. During my Brussels weeks these past months I've seen traffic at an absolute standstill. I'm heading to Belgium tomorrow for another Brussels week, and I expect to spend much of the week sitting in traffic.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Coming home to the Brussels village

My 'Brussels weeks' feel a bit like coming back to my home village.

I’m on the train back to Berlin after a week in Brussels. Given that I’m now four months in with this dual-city life, I was naturally getting a lot of questions during this ‘Brussels week’ about how it’s going. 

So far so good, has been my response. The two cities are so remarkably different so it’s nice to shake things up every two weeks. The train has served me well as a sort of ‘mobile office’, and so far it hasn't felt too disruptive.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

In Berlin, it's better to have a Belgian bank account than a German one

While banks in Germany rake in ATM fees from customers of other German banks, EU law forbids them from charging citizens of other EU countries.

It's a 'Brussels week' for me this week, I'm in town to shoot a few videos and moderate some conferences. As the Autumn draws on, I'm finding myself here more often than I'm in Berlin. But this is fine, since I have apartments in both cities. 

Strictly speaking, when I'm in Brussels I am "home". This is still my primary address - my Belgian phone is still my primary number, and I still use a Belgian bank account for all transactions. And actually, this last fact has made my life in Berlin easier.

Friday, 2 October 2015

German unity, but not reunification

Tomorrow is the 'Day of German Unity', marking 25 years since East and West Germany were merged. But don't call it 'reunification day'.

The area around Brandenburg Gate, once home to the 'no mans land' between the two layers of the Berlin Wall, is tonight being decked out for a massive celebration. Tomorrow, 3 October, is the annual celebration of 'German Unity Day'. This year's holiday is no ordinary one. It is marking 25 years since German reunification.

But don't make the mistake of calling it 'Reunification Day'. I called it by this name with a German friend today. I was swiftly deutsched, and told that despite the fact that it is held on the anniversary of the day the East German government was merged into the West, the proper name is 'unity day'.

I was only repeating the term I have read in English-speaking media, as there have been several reports this week about the 25th anniversary. But there are two important reasons why this is not called Reunification Day: it corresponds to an older holiday name, and because pre-war Germany has not been entirely reunited.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Incredible Krakow museums

I hadn't been to Krakow since 2002, and my how the city has changed.

This week I spent a few days in Krakow, Poland. I had to do a bit of work there for my book, and a friend visiting from home in New York wanted to come check out the city.

The last time I was in Krakow was in 2002, while I was living in Prague as a student. Me and a few friends rented a car and drove the six hours to Poland, stopping at Ostrava in Moravia along the way. We also visited Auschwitz, and to be honest that is the only part of the trip I remember well. Krakow city was a bit forgettable for me. I remember that we were not terribly impressed with the cultural activities or the nightlife.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Eastern Europe's discomfort with diversity

Germans may be more sympathetic to Syrian refugees because many of their grandparents were refugees themselves, expelled from their homes after World War II. The Poles and Czechs may be less sympathetic, because it was their grandparents doing the expelling.

This week I took a train to Prague from Berlin, in order to talk to people continuing on the train to Budapest for a radio report I was working on about Europe's disappearing overnight trains. I lived in Prague back in 2002, and it was nice to be back. I met up with a few Czech friends, and at each meeting the subject of the refugee crisis came up. My Czech friends said they were very embarassed of the images being shown to the world, of Czech security officers marking Syrian refugees with numbers and treating them inhumanely. I told them, at least the Hungarians are making you lookmore humane by comparison.

A real East-West split has emerged in the EU over how to deal with the refugee crisis. Right now the 'Vyshegrad Four' - Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic - are furiously resisting a proposal to resettle the Syrian refugees pouring into Europe in a proportionate way across EU member states. Much ink has been spilled analysing why Eastern European governments are behaving in this way.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Ich habe Deutsch gelernt

...well, level A1 at least. Now I'm going to improve my German through schlager music lessons.

This week I 'graduated' from my first intensive German course, finishing level A1 (elementary). I did pretty well on the final exam actually, so despite my fears about it being such a daunting language I think I'm doing alright. But, as I was warned, it is very challenging. 

It's been a very different experience from learning French at the Sorbonne in 2008 in Paris. For one thing, I started in July with absolutely no knowledge of German, whereas I had already taken French in high school. But even with this in mind, I found French to be a much easier language to learn because the sentence structure is quite similar.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

The coalition of the unwilling

Hungary, Poland, Spain and the UK were willing to invade Iraq in 2003, but they are unwilling to deal with the refugee crisis which that invasion has spawned 12 years later. Germany and France are the countries shouldering the responsibility.

Today I bought a ticket for the overnight train from Berlin to Budapest, to interview people next week for a radio story I'm working on about the disappearance of Europe's cross-border rail routes. As I was making the booking at the DB ticket office, the woman gave me a look of concern. "That train is going from Hungary to Germany," she said. "Be careful."

Despite watching the news reports about what is happening at Budapest Keleti Station the past few days, it did not occur to me until that moment that I am going to be on one of these international trains next week. This international train travel piece could end up being very different from what I had planned.

The images of Middle East refugees trampling each other trying to get onto trains to Western Europe in Budapest broadcast today were truly horrific. I'm still a bit unclear about whether these are regularly scheduled trains or specific migrant trains, and whether or not my Budapest-Berlin train will be affected at all. But it's hard to imagine it won't be.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

A Hanseatic holiday

I've made it my mission to visit all the principle cities of the Hanseatic League. I started with the most powerful one.

This week I took a little trip to Hamburg and Lübeck. I had planned to do a lot of these trips within Germany when I moved to Berlin, but in fact this is the first one I've done since I moved here on 2 July.

No coincidence then that Hamburg is also the easiest German city to get to from Berlin. The high-speed ICE train travels the 260km in just an hour and a half, making no stops along the way. It doesn't make any stops because there is essentially nowhere to stop between these two cities, the train zips across the wide open flat fields of Northern Germany. High-speed lines are always the easiest to implement in unpopulated areas.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Wandering the Wannsee

When it comes to parks and lakes, Berlin can't be beat.

One of the pleasures of living in West Berlin is that I am just a 15-minute train ride from the beautiful Wannsee, the beautiful lake in the West of the city. It boasts a beautiful sandy beach (the largest inland beach in Europe), stunning castles, breathtaking biking trails and even an island full of peacocks.

This is the Berlin I've dreamed about living in for so long.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

"You guys, we're about to get deutsched"

The German obsession with policing other people's behaviour can be a bit tiresome, but after six years in Brussels it's nice to live in a place with a sense of society.

Is there life beyond Earth? That's the question a group of people I was with this weekend were asking themselves as we explored some crop circles that have recently formed in some wheat fields outside Berlin.

I was accompanying the group for a radio story I'm working on for Deutsche Welle, tying it in to the recent announcement of a new Stephen Hawking project to search for extraterrestrial life (it will air in the next few days on Inside Europe). It was a group of 15 or so youngish people from Berlin curious about UFOs, and you should have seen the looks we were getting as we walked through this small town in Brandenburg.

Perhaps the most alarmed look came as we emerged from the wheat fields. We had stopped to have a picnic within the crop circles, and when we were sitting down we were not visible from the road. Suddenly we all stood up, collected our things and started walking out of the field. I could see an elderly couple had stopped with their bikes and were staring at us, with a mixture of confusion and disapproval. "You guys, we're about to get deutsched," I told the group.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

A royal palace reborn

The Humboldt Forum will emulate the old Berlin City Palace, but not copy it.

Since I've been here in Berlin I've ridden my bike across Museuminsel many times on my journeys between East and West. I've been meaning to check out the construction site for the Humboldt Forum, where they are building a replica of the old royal palace that was torn down by the East Germans.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Berlin's slightly awkward Holocaust memorial

The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe can sometimes seem more like a playground than a place for somber reflection.

Today I made a visit to the holocaust memorial in the center of Berlin. I had been there once before, shortly after it opened in 2006. My impressions this time were the same as the last; this would be a powerful memorial, were it not for all the other people in it.

The memorial is a forest of 2,711 concrete slabs, arranged in a maze with varying elevation. The architect, Peter Eisenman, took his inspiration from the Jewish cemetery in Prague, where the gravestones are crammed in tightly at odd angles. I used to visit that cemetery often when I lived in Prague in 2002, it's very moving (photo below).

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Germany: behind Alabama on gay rights

Angela Merkel this week re-asserted that marriage in Germany will only be between a man and a woman. But the country's civil unions are increasingly looking like a half-measure, out of step with modern times.

Last month's US supreme court ruling was something I wouldn't have been able to imagine ten years ago as an American. In 2004, no state in the union had gay marriage. In fact, a majority of states had constitutional bans on gay marriage (largely thanks to George W. Bush's re-election strategy that year). It's amazing how much changed in just a decade (check out the GIF below).

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

The nacktzone: why do Germans love being nude?

Northern Europeans, who live in some of Europe's coldest climes, never seem to want to keep their clothes on. How did this cultural penchant for disrobing come about?

I've splurged a bit and joined a very fancy gym here in Berlin - largely because it's the only chain to have locations I can use in both of my cities. The location here in Berlin is actually half gym and half wellness center, with four saunas, two hamams, a hot tub, an ice bath, a roof deck, and several rooms for "intense relaxation" (which as far as I can tell just means 'sleeping').

Yesterday while I was there there was a bit of a ruckus when a young Polish man became angry that he and his girlfriend were not being allowed into the wellness area with their bathing suits on. Like in any German gym, the wellness area is a 'nacktzone' - nudity obligatory. The young man started shouting angrily in English, "Why do Germans have to be naked all the time?"

Sunday, 12 July 2015

First week in Berlin

So far Berlin life is great. But after six years living in a small city, it's amazing what an adjustment it is to be in a metropolis again.

I've made it through my first week in Berlin, mostly spending my time dealing with the practicalities of settling in. But now I've got my apartment all set up, my balcony full of flowers, and my phone full of a German sim card - I'm ready to go.

I've also been exploring my immediate neighbourhood - Schöneberg. It's central but quiet, the heart of West Berlin with some of the fanciest shops. While things in East Berlin have changed dramatically over recent years and continue to change, this part of West Berlin has remained roughly the same since I started visiting this city in 2002. There's something rather comforting about that.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Berliners and Madriders see Greek referendum very differently

Berliners seem calm about yesterday's 'no' vote in Greece, but they also don't seem inclined to cut the Greeks any slack.

Ahead of yesterday's Greek referendum, I was in Madrid for the weekend with some friends from Brussels. I arrived back in Berlin last night. The contrast between the opinions I encountered in these two capitals could not be more stark.

During Saturday's Madrid gay pride parade, one of the highlights was a large Greek flag making its way down the parade route. The flag was greeted by huge cheers, just a day before the Greeks were set to go to the polls for a referendum which was being billed by EU leaders as an in-out vote on the country's euro membership.

The flag was, I believe, carried by the contingent of Podemos, Spain's far-left opposition party which is closely aligned with Syriza, the far-left governing party in Greece. But the cheers weren't for Podemos. They were in solidarity with the Greek people. This sentiment was largely reflected in the conversations I had with people there. They were sympathetic, and supportive of a debt write-off.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

A long move by train

Long-distance train journeys during record-high temperatures can take a bit longer than expected.

Over the past two months I've been going to and from Berlin by flight, but today, as I finally moved my things to my Berlin apartment, I decided to try out the train route. It will be my preferred way to get back and forth, because it's more comfortable and I can do work on the train.

But perhaps doing so with four suitcases, in the middle of a record-breaking heatwave, wasn't the best strategy.

I left at 10:30 this morning but am still on the train, 10 hours later. We're just pulling in to Spandau station though so it shouldn't be much longer. This journey is supposed to take 6.5 hours, but the intense heat caused lots of delays along the way.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Finally moving my stuff to Berlin

Although I've had an apartment in Berlin since the beginning of the month, work commitments have kept me from being there so far. But on Thursday I finally make the move in earnest.

The story of my first month in Berlin has been a rather empty one, as I've barely been there. June is always a busy month in Brussels and between moderating conferences and taking on radio and video projects, I've had too much to do to make the move to Berlin just yet. It's not a bad problem to have I suppose, but I'm getting very eager to finally spend some time there.

That day will come on Thursday, when I finally move my things to my new Berlin apartment. I'm keeping an apartment in Brussels also, to have a place to stay when I come here for work. So today's packing challenge is figuring out which are the 'Brussels things', and which are 'Berlin things'.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Beach office

I'm moderating some conferences in Barcelona this week, and taking the opportunity to do some work on the beach.

My life will now be divided into 'Brussels weeks' and 'Berlin weeks'. It's a bit like the European Parliament's Strasbourg and Brussels weeks, I've even made a color-coded calendar to show where I am, when. Red is for Berlin, Blue is for Brussels, and Green is somewhere else.

This week is a Green week. I'm in Barcelona to moderate at some conferences about ecommerce. After two days of moderating, I've set myself up on the beach today with a little impromptu office. Not a bad view, I must say.

As I begin my freelancing adventure, I'm going to keep trying to find creative workplaces like this. Part of it is just a joke, to make my friends mad. But actually I find I'm getting quite a lo of work done in these unconventional locations. Last week I did some work in the royal forest in Laeken and I got much more done than I would have gotten at home (or in the Parliament's press room, where I've tended to set up shop).

So, here's to freelancing!

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Why I love Eurovision

Having only discovered the song contest in 2007, I don't have the same preconceptions as Europeans.

I headed back to Brussels after a great weekend in Vienna for the Eurovision Song Contest Final. It was my fourth time attending the show and this time was undoubtedly the best.

Vienna went all out, decking out the whole city and setting up not one, but two Euroclubs for fans. The organisation was smooth (more than I can say for Copenhagen and Dusseldorf). I was there as press and was very lucky to be given a VIP ticket, so I had an amazing view. Maybe that explains my effusive praise for Vienna's hosting, but it really was objectively very good. A shame that they were rewarded by the public with nul points! Austria really didn't deserve that.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

I'm settling in Schöneberg

After some flirtation with the East, I've decided that my first home in Berlin will be in the West.

It's been an intense few days of apartment-hunting here in Berlin. By this afternoon I had it narrowed-down to two places - a two-month sublet in Prenzlauerberg, or a 7-month lease in Kreuzberg.

Neither apartment really thrilled me. The one in Prenzlauerberg was a bit short for the lease period, and it felt very far away. While walking around the neighbourhood, I couldn't shake the feeling that it was the Berlin equivalent of Park Slope in Brooklyn. There were a tonne of children, everywhere. It apparently has the highest concentration of children of any location in Germany. It was nice, but didn't really excite me.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Teutonic telecommunications troubles

As I've been discovering this week, German prepaid mobile plans leave much to be desired.

In 1999, when I moved from Boston to New York in order to transfer to a different university, there were a lot of logistical hassles along the way. I remember that one of the worst was changing my mobile phone.

Back then in the US, our mobile phone plans still had 'home ranges' outside of which you would pay a roaming surcharge to use your phone. This range was usually your state, or maybe a zone of three states. My mobile phone with a Massachusetts number would have been roaming in New York. So I had to change my phone plan. I also had to change my Massachusetts phone number to a New York one so that when people called me in New York they wouldn't be charged for a long-distance call.

Monday, 18 May 2015

So Dave, what's all this about you moving to Berlin?

Today begins a new chapter in my life as I search for an apartment in a new city.

I've arrived in Berlin for the first day of my German adventure. I'm here to cover a climate conference and then look for apartments, getting ready for the big move here next month.
I'm a journalist, originally from outside New York City, and I've been covering EU politics in Brussels for the past six years. It's been a great experience, but after so many years in the 'Brussels bubble' I realised I needed to get out and really see what's going on in Europe. The European elections last year really drove that message home to me. I've been trapped in the bubble too long and have lost touch with what 'real Europeans' are thinking.

Friday, 1 May 2015

And...we're back!

I've decided to burst out of the Brussels bubble and head for Berlin. I would say this calls for reviving the blog!

One year ago I put my blog Gulf Stream Blues into retirement. Today I can announce some exciting news, I'm moving to Berlin!

More details to come, but for now I'm taking the ol' blog out of retirement and relaunching it as 'From Brussels to Berlin'. The reason is that I will be based between both cities.

I'm very excited! Watch this space.