Berlin New Year
As a kid I was terrified of sudden loud noises; balloons popping, thunder, my alarm clock. Although I would say I have grown out of this irrational fear, staying in Berlin over last New Year’s Eve reignited it.
Everyone that has been to Berlin absolutely RAVES about it.
“The whole city is a non-stop party, I had so much fun!”
“You will love it! It is such a happening city, filled with young people and lots of culture.”
Needless to say, I arrive with fairly high expectations. I am especially excited that I am to be staying in the so-called party capital over New Year’s Eve-surely this is going to be one of the most amazing experiences of my life?
Picture your typical Sydney New Year’s Eve: carefully controlled fireworks display over the harbor, happy families picnicking on the grass drinking out of plastic cups, maybe your occasional group of drunk teenagers being reluctantly ‘moved on’ by police.
A lifetime of only this has done nothing to prepare me for the absolute chaos that is Berlin on New Year’s.
Millions of people from all around the globe flock to the streets surrounding the Brandenburg Gate, armed with champagne bottles or cups of gluhwein (hot mulled wine, so delicious!) and most certainly a few hundred firecrackers in all shapes and sizes.
Back home it’s always the young ones you have to watch out for; in Berlin it seems the older generation like their grog even more. Drunk parents and grandparents walk along the streets swigging straight out of bottles of champagne, while their four year old kids send firecrackers whistling and cracking into the sides of buildings.
Midnight comes and goes without a single person in the million strong crowd aware of the fact, as they are too busy setting off firecrackers, or in our case, trying not to get hit.
There is no part of the city untouched by this madness; our 2am commute back to the hostel is interrupted by a bunch of teenagers who think it’s smart to set off fireworks on the train platforms and inside train carriages.
My best friend and I wake up feeling very blessed to have entered 2014 with all of our limbs.
An Aussie bloke in our hostel furthers our gratitude for being uninjured by telling us that he stuck his head out of his room window only to nearly have his head taken off by a firework set off by a group of teenagers still partying at 10am.
That is not to say it wasn’t an experience; watching two drunk girls halt all traffic in a busy intersection because they had stopped to light a firework while the police stood watching and uncaring was certainly something that I won’t see back home.
Well, my friends were right about one thing: Berlin was certainly a non-stop party, although I’m not sure it’s the kind I like. Call me boring Berlin, but I think I’ll be staying in Sydney this New Year’s Eve.