Interview with Sharon Mertins (Berlin Spotter)

Spotted By Locals
January 20, 2012
2 min read
Sharon Mertins, Berlin Spotter

Today an interview with Sharon Mertins, Spotter for our Berlin cityblog.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Well, I guess at the moment I would say I’m a proper ‘Guatemalan Berliner’ trying to find my spot in the workings of every day life.  In the process, I’ve fallen into the all time favorite art of experimenting with writing.  And I’m currently learning to not forget to laugh during my adventures of ‘trying’ to master the German language.

How do you like being a Spotter? Do you have a nice Spotters-story?

Being a spotter is good fun!  It motivates me to go out in the city and investigate more than I would otherwise.  What better way to spend your day than riding your bicycle around the city on a summer day looking for nifty places to hang out.  In winter, I’m always looking for the nicest, coziest, and fun little getaway that I can recommend.

Manouche (by Sharon Mertins)

I don’t really have any particularly good spotter stories but I find it quite surprising how much more you can discover from your friends simply by asking them about their favorite spots in the city.  I suppose many of the places we often visit, we are sometimes used to visiting on our own  and are not necessarily part of more personal conversation.

Why Berlin? What is a must do when you visiting Berlin? What is not?
Berlin was an accidental choice for me.  I moved here from London with the intention of staying for one year and improving my German.  I wanted a more mellow urban kind of lifestyle.  In the end, Berlin allowed me to sit back and think, plan, and enjoy having the luxury of time!  That was virtually impossible for me in other big cities.

Kreuzberg Canal (by Sharon Mertins)

Must do?  Even in the winter, I would say get a bicycle and get pleasantly lost in the streets of Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain or Neukoelln.  You never know what lovely surprises await you here.

What do you know about Berlin that no tourist will know?
Hmmmmm. That this city’s charm is not only the nightlife, abundance of art, or cafes.  It’s most of its population enjoying the simple pleasures of life, long walks, long coffee breaks, good beer…..
But most of all, I think people don’t realize that despite the city’s reputation of being ‘arm aber sexy’ (poor but sexy), people almost always tip here when they go out.  Even if it’s just a very small amount.  To me, those extra thirty cents for a glass of beer say a lot about the mentality.  You give what you have as long as you ‘give’ as a gesture of support for the community that you live in.

What is the most popular neighborhood to live in Berlin at this moment? Why? What can you do there?
To me it seems like as long as it’s in Berlin, people want to move there.  But I suppose Kreuzberg and Neukoelln are very quickly winning that race.  I think it’s because of the variety.  You hear so many different languages walking down the street and there are galleries and cafes popping up every day.  They’re also very down to earth neighborhoods.  You can very easily buy fresh vegetables at the local Turkish shop and then buy a designer bag at a local boutique next door.

Check out all articles by Sharon Mertins and the other Spotter interviews.


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