Berlin, Germany and NYE


Trip Taken: 2006

My stay at Amstel House was actually quite decent compared to my other hostel stays. The staff was friendly and the rooms were clean. That is except for one reason. The showers were in a room with no hooks or any other kind of place to put my dry clothes. I ended up having to put my clothes on the sink. During my two night stay there, I took two showers past midnight to not run into anyone in the co-ed bathroom. Although, I think that might have been a good story. Out of all the hostels in Berlin (it is in my opinion that this city has a lot of hostel options), I don’t know how I chose Amstel House. But it was fine hostel to call home while I wandered the streets during New Year’s Eve.

My Scottish roommates, who I met for barely a minute, had already left to take in a pub in the city. I, on the otherhand, was getting ready to go to Brandenburg gate to see the fireworks. It was after eight o’clock and I had just finished my kebab from a local Turkish restaurant. I took the S-bahn to Potsdamer Platz and got out. Every corner of Berlin was brimming with the sounds of fireworks. It started out by the neighborhood near my hostel and continued on when I exited onto Potsdamer Platz.

The Sony Center and the big Deutsche Bahn building was right outside of this exit. The Christmas market at Potsdamer Platz. I had already walked around the Sony Center so I bypassed that. But I took some time to enjoy the sights of the market. Unlike other Christmas markets, this one had a huge snow slide attraction. It looked like the people on the slide were having fun.

I made my way past the Jewish Holocaust Memorial and towards Brandenburg gate. There were a lot of tents set up selling food and German trinkets. I even got a free hat for filling out a survey. The hat says ‘Deutschland: Land der Ideen’. I think my grandpa wears it now on sunny days. There was one big tent with a woman manning the oven and a huge grill. It almost looked like witch’s tent right out of a fairy tale. But instead of little children, she is cooking suckling pig and potatoes.

It was approaching midnight and everyone was starting to congergate towards the gate. Children sat on top of their fathers’ shoulders and I looked up trying to see the fireworks. 3… 2… 1… Happy New Year! It transitioned from the year 2005 to the year 2006. The fireworks display is definitely one of the best I have seen. It rivals the displays at Disneyland. It lasted what seemed like a good solid ten minutes.

After the fireworks, I made my way back to Potsdamer Platz to catch a late train back to my hostel. To get back to Potsdamer Platz station, I had to go past the Jewish Holocaust Memorial again. This time, however, it was filled with the sounds and lights of fireworks. I thought that it was funny. Even in such a solemn, serious place could the revelers find enjoyment. As I left the sparks of lights emanating from the memorial, I quickly approached the S-bahn station. The Christmas market was closed and so was the Sony center. The train was fairly empty. I think most people went on celebrating at clubs and bars. I was alone on New Year’s Eve in 2005. It was fine by me, but hopefully it could be more fun with friends involved.

Parting Words

After you wake up from a New Year’s Eve stay in Berlin, be ready to walk the streets filled with used fireworks. It is a stark contrast to the usually clean streets you find during the rest of the year. But it is a time to have fun and Berlin does it just as good as the rest of ‘em.

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About the Author

John is always trying to find his way back to the road. He has an affinity for Germany due to his three years studying German at Cal, and a year working as an intern in the Stuttgart area. He also likes chocolate cake and good cheese.