Cold. It’s really cold.
Now I promised myself to never let the boring adult in me get the best of the kid and begin to complain at the sight of snow. Sure, it’s messy in a city and all - but it is so much more fun than annoying. Right?
Well I’ve stayed pretty true to that, throwing many a snowball at friends, colleagues and others (see the video, below). But over a month of constant distance between my foot and the sidewalk (in the form of powder, lots of ice, and now slush) has tested this self-made promise to its limits. People tell me “it’s never normally like this here” and I hope that’s true. I never thought Berlin would be colder than Edinburgh. Nor did I understand the difference between continental and coastal climates (thank you Firth of Forth).
Still, this shouldn’t be a complaint (it can’t - I promised myself). There are many reasons it doesn’t have to be either: Kindly ignoring the -20C temperatures and my inability to correctly gage how many sweaters I need, there have been days sledging (Berliners love their old-school sleds, as do I), then came the neighborhood snowball wars between the areas of Kreuzberg and Neukölln - I’ll let the video speak for itself:
Yes, that was fun. Especially given the 18th century style battle-line formation we were all lined up in and the countdowns: Fünf, vier, drei, zwei, eins, zooom! For that split-second at the end of the countdown, Görlitzer Park turned into a Star Wars space fight laser scene with snowballs as lasers.
That said, it hasn’t been all fun tho. There have been near death experiences: after the mega snow came 3-5 inch thick ice. Not just on the sidewalks, but as I soon realized, on rooftops too. When melting/slushing started, roofs didn’t just drip water. A friend of mine was nearly killed - as the Germans would say, “ohne Scheiss” - by a huge block of ice that missed his head by inches. Instead, it cut his hand and smashed his knee, leaving a big bruise as a token of its visit instead of signing a guestbook.
Still, apart from near-death experiences and the real possibility of falling over with any given step (so much for those boots helping), it’s been great. The attitude here has been one of fun and adventure. I can’t think of another city where an inter-neighborhood snowball fight wouldn’t end up in a fight or throwing rocks etc. Sure, people might complain about the biting cold, but the scale of it is much less than in other cities I’ve seen.
Another reason why this city is different than other big Euro-capitals. The people (and dogs) take it in their stride, even if it’s become a bit of a mess. Thankfully, it seems that I’m not alone in sticking to my promise…
fotos: thx and thx Merrin.