Why Berlin: Inna Malinovaya

Introduction to the Why Cities Project

As many of you know, I travel a fair amount. In my travels, I often meet some of the nicest and most fascinating people. Let’s face it - everyone has a story to tell and once in a while I love to recount those stories when I return home. I’ve been thinking more recently about how to capture some of these stories in a way that also can benefit others.

Everyone loves to travel or at least aspires to travel, if given the opportunity. Before they head somewhere, an abundance of research is conducted by combing travel websites, Pinterest, other social media platforms or even thumbing through travel books. What’s often missing from that bundle of information, however, is the local perspective - directly from a true local. So I’ve set out to discover not only where locals like to go eat but also why they live there in the first place. What’s their motivation? Where are their favourite places to hide and decompress? The answers to these questions may sometimes be similar across a few individuals, but their backstory of why they live there, or how they ended up in that city, are unique and worth sharing. That’s where the richness comes in.

I hope you think so too.

As always, I look forward to your feedback. And if you would like to be part of this project, please send me a mail.

This month, I’m kicking things off with Inna Malinovaya, a Berlin-based photographer who I met while visiting Berlin for the first time. She was such a lovely human being and so talented behind the lens. When we sat down for coffee after a photo shoot, she gave me a bit of her back story and thought I would share it with you all more formally.

Why Berlin

INTERVIEWEE: Inna Malinovaya, photographer

  • Originally from Moscow, Russia. 

  • After finishing her studies in Moscow she realized she needed to change something. So she decided to move to Berlin and study photography at the University of Applied Science in Berlin.

  • She is nearly finished with her Bachelors Degree. She also takes photos for LOLA Magazine and her own projects. 

VanBlog: So of all the places on the planet, why Berlin?

Inna: I'm not sure that I can answer this question.

When I came to Berlin for the first time I was disappointed. I remember how I was standing at Alexanderplatz subway station and thinking “God, how I’m going to live here?” Two days later, I came back to my hometown and realized – Berlin had stolen my heart.

After living here for 4 years, I can say that moving to Berlin was my best decision. I love this city. I adore how openminded and free I feel myself here. I love Berlin for it’s own uniqueness. Berlin isn’t like any other German city. Berlin is something special. And it makes you feel you’re special too. 


VanBlog: If there were three words to describe Berlin, what would they be?

Inna: freedom, uniqueness, art

VanBlog: Describe the average Berliner.

Inna: Haha, it’s so funny; the description of the average Berliner depends on a lot of stuff! There are a lot of hipsters, who love a good coffee, to work at the cafe and wear glasses from Ace&Tate. There are some techno guys who wear all black and hang out all-week-long at the Berghain. While then you also some really fancy ladies and gentleman. I guess, each district has its own average Berliner.

VanBlog: If there was only ONE place or thing that visitors to Berlin MUST see or do, what would that be?

Inna: Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe 

VanBlog: Where do you go to escape Berlin?

Inna: Maybe it is too obvious but if i want to escape Berlin I go to my hometown.

VanBlog: Where would you go in Berlin to decompress or relax?

Inna: It is always a good idea to go to the Tegel Airport observation deck where you can watch planes get on and off every 5-10 minutes. or to take a book that you have long wanted to read and drink coffee at the terrace of your favourite coffeeshop.

VanBlog: If you could live anywhere in Berlin where would that be?

Inna: i’d love to leave somewhere close to Weinmeisterstrasße

VanBlog: What’s your favourite restaurant?

Inna: OMG I’m really in love with a small Greek restaurant at Budapesterstr. 13! (Ja! Niko Ja!) 

VanBlog: What’s your favourite bar?

Inna: Monkey Bar with an amazing rooftop

VanBlog: What’s your favourite coffee house?

Inna: Hallesches Haus, Five Elephant, Kaffemitte

VanBlog: Transit or car?

Inna: car