The first ‘real’ snow of winter.
As the first signs of winter finally rest on Berlin doorsteps, with lightly dusted window sills, blanketed footpaths and of course, yellow snow, it is clear to me I have much to learn having left my sunburnt country behind. With temperatures that feels like -18 C, this Australian is suffering from a combination of novel excitement and an extreme freeze. But, with visitors in town throughout the month I’ve been scratching the surface for fun things to do this January in Berlin.
Have a snow ball flight. Building snow balls, flicking powdered snow off cars, outdoor tables and park benches into the path of friends and foe can result in a fully-fledged-all-out-snow-ball-war. Visit parks across town and in particular Görlitzer Park for SCHNEEBALLSCHLACHT 2016 for all the snow ball war fun.
Ride like the kids on a sled. With the first drop of snow, the streets are suddenly lined with North Pole style sleds (this is what I’m calling them), wooden and minimalist, with a parent at one end of a short rope and a pile of onesy dressed children hanging off the back. This is a phenomenon – something out of an Enid Blyton story – yet the locals make it look far too normal and relaxed like this is an everyday thing.
Ice. Everything from the canals, to the Spree and fountains alike, freezes over. They are fun to pick at, touch, stand on, get stuck to and take photos of.
Search for discarded Christmas trees on the streets. Left for someone else to deal with, trees all shapes and sizes of Christmas past are dumped on street corners, left sticking out of bins, on the road and piled up in car parks. Sad, but beautiful when covered in snow for the first week of January, be on the look out.
As if there were no street cleaners in this city, Berlin like much of Germany is left like a war zone after the New Year. Streets scattered with bottles, fireworks, cardboard, matches, lighters and party poppers when in the snow is quite beautiful.