There are moments in life where you know, as they are happening, that the entire day will rate as one of the best days of your life. I’ve had a few of these: 23 years old in Seoul, South Korea, for a friend’s birthday, clubbing in who-knows-where, dancing to some beats in a small, but incredible club. 27 years old in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, the night I met my now husband. Our wedding was pretty fantastic too. Epic days skiing with friends. Backpacking in Australia and Europe. I can now add New Year’s Eve 2013 Berlin to my list of best days ever.
It all started with one of the best runs ever. You may have already read about it? Throughout this post as well, keep in mind that everything we did, everywhere we went had a constant soundtrack of fireworks exploding around the city, day and night.
Once the run was finished, we quickly rinsed off and changed then headed back out for a session of bouldering. Neither Pat nor I had ever gone bouldering before, so we were interested. After picking up a quick Chicken kebab to eat on the U bahn (the underground train), we made our way across town to Ostbloc Boulderhalle, the bouldering gym. I couldn’t tell you which part of town we were in; all I knew was that it was industrial and across the River Spree from a deserted theme park (creepy!). On the way, we spotted some beautiful buildings:
And the most incredible street art I’ve ever seen!
We walked into a very crowded bouldering hall; apparently everyone was wanting to climb that day!
As you can see, bouldering is a lower to the ground rock climbing, involving no harnesses or ropes. It’s definitely a full body workout as well as you try to manoeuver yourself up and across surfaces using your legs, shoulder and back muscles. Alicia showed me the basics, and despite my fear of heights, I tried the easiest yellow climbs. Within a minute of being up on the wall, I let go and fell to the mat, the height being a bit too much for me initially. Pat, however, had no issues and took to it like a natural:
I kept trying the climbs to work on my confidence and because I wanted to not be the only one sitting it out. I developed my security with heights enough to complete a climb, and was quite happy with that small success.
Bouldering is quite difficult, and I tended to use my forearm muscles more than I should’ve. Since returning to Scotland, Pat and I have done a rock climbing course and can now climb and boulder walls here too.
With tired arms and hands raw and chalky,we left Ostbloc and it’s funny signs, and headed back to the apartment in Prenzlauer Berg to rest for a tiny bit. And heard the constant POW! and CRACK! of fireworks.
It was then time to get ready for dinner and the hipster-themed NYE party! We pulled together random outfits and jewellery, hoping to meet hipster criteria, then headed to Spreegold for a delicious meal of burgers.
We then made our way to West Berlin, fireworks exploding more constantly, and up to the party, which included a very international mosaic of people, all associated with Alicia’s international school. We heard German accents, English ones, American and Canadian too. The party had such an eclectic group of people from all over, but what brought us together that night was simple: we were hipsters after all!
Alicia and I also took it upon ourselves to complete a little photo project. Inspired by my fluorescent pink version of the ring below, we attempted to photograph every guy at the party with facial hair, wearing glasses, next to my ring.
Below are some of our best shots. Although I doubt any of these guys, apart from Pat and André, will read this, thank you to all of our participants. We had a laugh getting all the photos 🙂
Midnight struck, and Berlin exploded! We were on the top floor of the apartment building, and set off fireworks from the balcony. We also had sparklers which we were waving about, but what was even more exciting and exhilarating was the hundreds of fireworks that were set off all around us! People on the street below, on the roof tops of buildings surrounding us, and in the park across the street all contributed to the constant POW! CRACK! BANG!, the smell of gunpowder and the feeling of firework debris hitting you as they erupted in the night sky. It was something I’ll never forget as it was incredible but verging on scary. We screamed and laughed, and we felt as though we were getting hit in the chest repeatedly with a sack of potatoes.
To get a glimpse of what midnight on NYE in Berlin is like, watch the video below, (I took a video, but WordPress won’t accept the format it was recorded in):
After an explosive night of fireworks, dancing and meeting so many new and interesting people, we headed home for our beds, driving through the streets of Berlin, littered with debris. It was 5:30am the next day before we fell asleep.
The highlight of New Year’s Day was a very late brunch to Spreegold (again because I loved it!) for Canadian Pancakes with Roasted Bananas and Maple Syrup, and a delicious vanilla latte.
Truly one of the best day’s of my life, and so happy it was in my new favourite city.
Next up: Our final days in the city and my thoughts on Berlin
What was the best New Year’s you’ve ever had?
What are some of the best day’s you’ve ever had?
What’s your favourite brunch food?