My Year in Berlin  

 

Back in 2014, I decided to visit Berlin with my friend Yan since I had heard a lot about the party life there. Initially, I had planned to stay for only a couple of months, but the liveliness and craziness of this place made me stay a full year.

A few weeks after I landed, I was lucky enough to experience New Year’s celebrations in Berlin. It was ecstatic. In fact, ecstatic seems like an understatement because I have never experienced anything like that back in Canada or any other place. As December 31st approached, I started to hear loud bangs early in the day that kept on increasing in frequency as the day proceeded. Although the surroundings sounded and felt like a war zone, the locals were going crazy and setting off fireworks. At midnight, a few friends that I made there and I ventured outside to light sparklers and viewed the spectacular fireworks. I watched a huge number of people laughing, singing, hugging and cheering from a residential street in Prenzlauer Berg. The scene was so amazing, surreal and unbelievably fun. Berliners definitely know how to party.

This is when I knew I had to stay. I absolutely had to stay. As my Yan had to leave – he only planned to stay a couple of weeks since he had to continue working on the development of his new startup  similar to German startup Helpling – I was left alone in Berlin.

To be very honest, I don’t remember feeling as safe anywhere else as the way I felt in Berlin. The city is pretty big and streets are wide enough, so you feel very safe walking. It hardly ever gets too crowded that you feel like people are squeezing you. The whole time I travelled around the city, I had my phone out and money in my pocket, yet no one ever came close to me. I felt like Berlin was one safest city I went to. It seemed you could go to anyone to have help and you absolutely did not require a cop at every corner to make you feel safe. Of course, I’ve heard of pickpocketing, but I never experienced anything like that.

There were days when I returned to my apartment at 4 a.m. and I was surprised to still see people in metros and trams. The thing about the city is that it never sleeps; the nightlife begins at 3 a.m. and regardless of the time, you will always find people around the streets. Everyone there minds their own business. Once, I saw a girl comfortably sitting alone in a tram at 1 a.m. Another time, I saw a group of loud young kids partying at midnight without any fear.

An amazing thing about the city is its impressive tram system. I was so surprised and delighted to see that a bunch of people were having a party on the tram. There was this guy with an old school’ish beatbox at a corner with passengers smiling, drinking, and dancing the night away. Imagine how thrilling and fun it would be to have a party on public transit as you make your way around town? One of the most popular trams was M10 that I used quite often to travel to Danzigerstr and Warschauestr. The partying usually takes place on weekends when partygoers come together for the night and start drinking. Someone starts playing the tunes, and you see the tram or train station hosting one big party.

I had the best time of my life at Berlin and within a few months, I became so attached to the city, to its people and to the party. My girlfriend Melany had to come join me. This is when I found that not only this city is perfect for clubbers but also Berliners accept everyone regardless of their identity or sexual orientation. Eventually, as you know I had to leave to go back to the real world. I miss you Berlin.

 

Shauna

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