Every year in preparation for the disappointment of New Year’s Eve, I tell myself that it’s going to end in a flop. This year was no different and I’m thankful that I talked myself down from it… because it turned out to be one of the tamest New Year’s Eves I’ve experienced.
Part 2 of my 7th day in Berlin—
New Year’s Eve was a whole ordeal. Even before the actual night, Berliners were telling me how I had to practice my reaction time and jump height to escape the firecrackers that can land at your feet at any moment.
Ilze’s flatmate told me how once he hopped on the u-bahn during NYE and someone threw lit firecrackers in after him. He couldn’t hear for 2 minutes. Alex had been feeding me stories all night about how he trained every day for New Year’s Eve, practicing his ability to jump. Of course, I took the latter warning less seriously than the first.
Our plans that night were to head to the Brandenburg Gate to ring in the new year; afterwards, heading to some bars and clubs to meet up with new and old friends. First of all, ringing in the New Year at Brandenburg Gate can be described in two words: touristy and free.
I guess I should tell you guys first what happens at the gate. Each year between the gate and the Victory Column is a sealed off area dedicated for New Year’s Eve celebrations. On average, there are about 4-5 stages, each with a specific genre depending on how you want to ring it in: watching old rock artists try for one last show or at the dance stage where insanely fit dancers can shame you into taking on that fitness resolution that you promised not to fall for. Those were basically the two stages that we checked out before deciding on the one with the insanely fit people.
It was ridiculously crowded and I craved a ridiculous amount of bratwurst and mulled wine. Which meant that we stayed close to the port-a-potties… at least until we realized that everyone was running into the woods to bare ass with other small-bladdered people like naughty children.
I should’ve realized that a combination of old age and the man’s foot on my face the night before would’ve resulted in a mediocre New Year’s Eve, but I didn’t until it hit me. I couldn’t even prepare for it. Half an hour before midnight, two things happened simultaneously: my friend’s food poisoning returned with a vengeance and I… well, basically fell asleep standing up. It was time to head home.
The way back was a dangerous maze of avoiding firecrackers and drunk people. People were spilling out of the U-bahn, drinks in hand, talking loudly and happily.
By 12 AM, we were safely tucked into bed watching the concerts on TV. At 12:25, one of the girls left to get something to drink and when she returned, my friend and I were already fast asleep.