Berlin would have to be one of the more annoying cities on earth. The main reason is that it is supposed to be one of the hippest places to be. Shoppers from Scandinavia flock here, investors swap portfolios chock full of Berlin apartments (every second one now changes hands as part of a portfolio,) and deluded lefties somehow think that it has less advertising and thereby is one of the bastions of anti-capitalism. Above all, it is largely populated by people who are uncomfortable with their bodies and have forgotten how to smile. Imagine my pleasure when a loud group of Turkish-German boys got on the bus today, joking and laughing loudly, attracting hostile looks from the dour burghers on board. ‘Welcome to Berlin!’ one of the boys exclaimed, not without a hint of sarcasm.

But London … I was talking with a resident who happened to attend one of the conferences in China.

‘It’s a great city’, she said, ‘It’s the centre of the world!’

‘Excuse me’, I replied, ‘once it might have been, quite some time ago’.

‘Oh, it has all the banks in it’.

That attitude is enough to shift an immensely unlikeable city onto the obnoxious register. Avoid it when you can.

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