We have 5 senses. Sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch. It’s normal that every time you go to a different city, a different country, the perception of these 5 senses change.

I want to talk to you about one sense in particular: smell. Because if you think that you are going to experience the same smell you “felt” when you were in Italy, well…you’re wrong.

In public transportation

I freaking love the subway or the metro of my city, Berlin. During hard winters and heavy rainy days, the U-bahn or the S-bahn takes me everywhere without suffering from the cold and without taking a drop of smoggy rain. But in public transportation you are going to have THE smelling experience of your life: food, puberty, beer, cigarettes, garlic, heavy breath, double cappuccino with milk, sweat and many other smells. This is going to make you crazy sometimes, especially if you are like me: I start to realize that I’m in the real world only after 12pm. It’s really hard to “digest” all these “scents” first thing in the morning while going to work. But, it’s all cool, because I prefer to be lost in all these smells a lot more than to be lost in a traffic jam in a typical Italian city.


Two girls on a yellow tram in Berlin

 All images courtesy of Giulia Depentor

On the streets

I like when you wake up in the morning and the sun is there, but it’s not summer yet, but it’s not winter either. And even the smells are a mix of seasons that aren’t well defined. The other day I was going to work and suddenly a scent entered my olfactory system: laundry. Now you all can think I was near a laundry, and that’s the cool thing: I was NOT. There was an old woman in front of me, dressed in a very elegant way. Her dress was giving off a the perfume (at least, I like it a lot because it reminds me of when I was a kid) of the starch your mother uses when ironing. Smells on the streets remind you of different parts of the life you’re living, and for sure they are a way to remind you of the city where you were born, or your family, or your friend or, as in this case, your grandmother.


Crowd in Berlin | Image courtesy Giulia Depentor


In the restaurants

Everyone says: Italian food is the best. I don’t think so, because it really depends on where you are in the world. In each spot of the world there is something spectacular to eat and to try. For sure Italian food is amazing, but really it’s hard to say it is the best. If we add the fact that I’m not the typical pasta, pizza, mandolino guy, I strongly believe that every place has its bad food, its sublime food and its “meh” food. But for sure what’s different from Italian food is the smell of the food you find abroad. I have the feeling that here in Berlin the smell is always quite the same, meaning that it does not depend on the food itself, but rather on other components, like the people in the restaurants, the place, the fact that here you can still smoke inside. The smell of Italian food in Italy is totally great, but here something is different: I’m not saying it’s bad, but it is different.

So here is the conclusion: like the language you learn when you are in a new country, well…you have to learn how to smell in German, or in American, or in Spanish. It’s only a matter of having an open mind, or better, in this case, an open nostril.

Alessio Madeyski from Berlin


Herbal smells in Berlin | Image courtesy Giulia Depentor