I love Berlin.
I’ve been twice. Once in the dead of Winter and once in the spring.
My first trip to Berlin was a last minute spontaneous trip with my Mum. My memory escapes me as I try to recall the exact timeline, It was a turbulent time and I think my mind has deleted most of my memories from the ages of 17 to 20 due to a very abusive relationship I found myself in.
She had just split from my dad. I had just split from my boyfriend (actually, I ran away. Literally). Both my Dad and boyfriend were two evil spawns seemingly from the same womb of hell. Fresh out of the clutches of two abusive males, Mum and I realised the world was now our oyster! We could do whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted. This was a huge overwhelming yet very exciting realisation. What havoc were we going to cause first??
I believe I had a university assignment to film and analysis an Event. It was approaching Christmas and I thought I’d do mine on the German Christmas Markets which are all over the UK now. But instead I decided why not go to the OG markets in Berlin!
How exciting my first holiday EVER whereby there wasn’t some nob head dictating what we can and cannot do. I remember queuing to board the plane. There was a TV showing the news:
“TERROR ATTACK IN BERLIN AT THE CHRISTMAS MARKETS!”
Sorry what!? That’s where we’re heading! Trust us to fly to a country amidst a terror attack. It even delayed our flight by one whole hour. Outrageous!
That wasn’t even the worst thing that happened.
We arrive in Berlin, We get a taxi to an area called Mitte. We have to go to a 24-hour mini mart to get the key for the apartment. The apartment was incredible! Found on Airbnb it was massive! Very open plan, so quintessentially German with it’s Scandi-esk decor and furniture.
I brought a Go-Pro with me to film the markets… Although it was unclear what had happened during the supposed attack (it turned out to be a lorry driver, he drove straight into some of the markets). I wanted to film my experience in Berlin to practise film editing.
It was so late at night, it was freezing. I wanted my Mum to film us coming into the apartment and exploring. We set the scene. We ran out the apartment to capture the re-entering on film. This was my Tarantino moment.
Most apartments are self locking. Did you know this? We didn’t. Did we bring the keys? No. Were we now locked out in the dead of Winter during a terror attack in a foreign country? Yes. Who’s faults this? Mine.
We sough refuge in the 24-hour Mini Mart. The poor guy who could not speak English didn’t really know what was going on but he let us hang around. He was pruning the vegetables, clearing out the dead bits.
Mum used her German skills to attempt to tell him what had happened, we got the jist and said,
I chimed in with the German I did know,
“Yah, Sehr Shizer!”
He helped us call a locksmith. He arrived some time later, it’s about 1am/2am by now, it’s minus a million, We’re two ice cubes lost and scared and all alone.
As we walked to the apartment we turned a corner and bumped into a woman who was so scared of us she screamed and jumped out her skin (I guess everyone was on edge due to the crash in the markets).
The locksmith had zero English. Us two English woman are clearly roping him into robbing an apartment. We’re feigning ignorance and begging for pity. We promised we were not attempting to rob the apartment block and showed him our passports.
We fell into bed around 4am.
The next day, we woke up, ready to go to the markets to do what we damn well came to do! But they’re closed after last nights drama. Dang it. So we wandered around a little bit but it was far too cold to stay outside for too long.
I still love Berlin.
It’s one of my favourite places I have ever visited and I will always visit again and again.
Photo by Jonas Tebbe on Unsplash