Living in Berkeley

Berkeley Travel Blog

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Our house in Berkeley
Natalie, the friend who I was visiting, lived together with a group of her friends in a house in Berkeley, on the opposite side of the SF bay, near Oakland. It is quite a strange place, the only reason why I had ever heard about it is because its very famous university, but I didn't know anything about the history of the town. As it turns out, the town developped around the university, rather than the other way around.
Berkeley was a place where the civil rights movement and the hippie culture where very strong in the 60's and 70's, and by the looks of it it never really changed. The main street, called "telegraph" is packed with cd, t-shirt and tatoo shops, and people on the street sell liberal bumper stickers everywhere. Of couse it was only a couple of months before the election so election fever might have had something to do with it.
The campus of the university was very nice, the library is huge, and I was surprised to find a department of Dutch studies, it even offered an exchange program to learn Dutch at my home university of Leuven. I would so ace Dutch studies, maybe I should enroll in that program one day ;)
We went out in Berkeley at night where we tried some of California's many micro-brews, and I must say they were excellent. American beer has a bad reputation because of "drinkable" water like budweiser but those microbrews left me wanting more (and we had a lot more over the next 3 weeks)
this bar was also the first time I ever got asked for an ID, which I thought was hilarious.
One thing I found rather shocking was the amazingly high number of homeless people in the streets of Berkeley, as a European used to being over protected and having 50 different social safety nets for every possibility, I'm not used to seeing homeless people, and especially not in a rich town with such a prestegious university.
All in all Berkeley is a great place though, it has a very young and liberal vibe to it and I can easily imagine myself living here for a while.
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Our house in Berkeley
Our house in Berkeley
photo by: mahoney