I started with a day full of exploring Museum Island, which is a large number of palaces added to an original castle-grounds. Since the 1400's castles and palaces have been built there. It appears that every royal family member required their own palace. They are now all museums with very long lines due to the tour bus trade. Just walking around them makes you feel a sense of history.
But it was to be a party night.
By 7PM we were primped and ready to catch our train to a private party in the Prenzlauer Berg area of Berlin. It is known as one of the nicer neighborhoods, and we were excited to spend the evening with people who actually live in Berlin. One local Berliner told us that those who want to spend a lot and get very little live in this area. (That was not our experience by the way; we visited one of the most beautiful apartments I have seen anywhere.)
We mapped our journey in advance.We got on the right S train. Got off at the wrong station to change to the U2 train. Corrected, but ran into another learning opportunity. You know the caution "Mind the gap"? Well just as I was boarding the U2 a woman who looked a lot like me and even has the same name ignored the caution. Instead she looked over her shoulder to make sure her friend was also going to make it onto the train in time. It is surprising that a woman's foot and entire leg can slip so easily into the gap between the train and the wall. There is a safety stop, called a woman's hip, which prevents her from descending entirely into the gap (Thank you Mother Nature!).
People in Berlin are nice. Two men immediately rushed to lift her out of the gap (yes I am still pretending I did not know this woman), and make sure she was okay. In fact her pride was severely bruised as was her hip. It really hurts (I still feel her pain).
So much for the intro. We arrived at the cute little bar to meet our friends and were immediately offered a drink. Yes please. Since everyone on that train thinks I er I mean that woman was already soused. We noticed everyone was smoking, even though the official smoking room was two rooms back (and empty). I prepared for a night of low oxygen, and Gina thanked her lucky stars that she would not have to brave the freakin' cold all night. We soon headed off to our new friends' lovely, large and beautifully welcoming apartment for the evening. Our hosts were gracious and made us feel very much at home.
THE FIREWORKS WERE OUT OF THIS WORLD!
Imagine a July 4 celebration with the most amazing fireworks show you have ever seen. Multiply by 10. Now have that fireworks display coming from every possible direction, not just four directions but 44. Now make the show an hour long. Get the idea?
I was right. There is no way to describe it.
I did not take pictures. Would not have begun to capture the moment. Kind of like taking your Brownie camera to The Grand Canyon. Or your crayons.
We joined another party at the neighbor's after the show, and finally decided we should try to get a cab back to the hotel. At 2:30 AM. On New Years Eve. Oh yeah that was going to happen. Almost managed to hitch a ride with another couple, but eventually caved and caught the train.
About a million drunk people all out of fireworks and tired, bored and cranky. Broken bottles everywhere. Used up fireworks strewn all over the streets. Not enough police. But we clambered on to a train, changed at the right station and made it home in no time.
If you sit still long enough in Berlin something will amaze you.
If you sit still too long you may become part of the show.