Tech-‘no’ and the Berlin Wall

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We had been anticipating Berlin for some time, but had no idea what was in store for us. We were lucky to be hosted by Luke’s gracious cousin Ariana, in the hip, up-and-coming Wedding area.

We knew that one of the main things we wanted to do in Berlin was to taste some of their famous nightlife. Berlin is home to many techno legends and also to Berghain, a super-hard-to-get-into, cool-kids-only techno warehouse that is known for partying nonstop from Friday evening until Monday morning.

First, we took in a walking tour and tried some of Berlin’s famous dishes. Of course, I wanted to try the Doner and see how it differed from Nova Scotia’s Donair. While both have the same sort of concept, I must say that the taste was completely different. We loved sitting in the street and sampling some of the great restaurants. We also spent the day at the lake with all the locals, sunbathing and cooling off in the water. We enjoyed some meat and bread in a mini picnic before heading home as the sun went down.

In the evening, we all went out for a night on the town, Berlin style. We headed to the club IMG_20150808_031454district and stopped off the subway to grab a drink on one of the stands that sells alcohol. It’s interesting and exciting being in a place where you can drink so freely. A breakout party had started on the street below, underneath a bridge where music was playing and people were dancing. It’s common to pop into corner stores on the way to a club to buy cheaper drinks before hitting your main event.

The following evening, Luke and I tried to get into Berghain. The club is well known, so it does attract a lot of tourists, which the bouncers hate. You can read all sorts of tips, but really, it’s up to the bouncers to decide if you make the cut. No one knows what they look for, but they’re rumoured to prefer you wearing all black, not be too young, preferably single… the list goes on and on. We waited in line for 45 minutes, and finally the bouncers did a string of “no’s” to about 15 people before stopping at us. We waited until it was our turn for judgment to be passed and after a few moments of consideration, we also got the dreaded headshake. For me, it was a huge disappointment (although sort of expected); I had gotten my hopes and excitement up. Ariana was quick to make me feel better, assuring me that she heard that usually only 40% of people who try to get in actually get in, therefore it wasn’t personal. Still, I’m a huge techno music fan and it sucked to get judged by a quick and brief look.

Moving on, we enjoyed walking through the artistic district of Berlin and experiencing the hipster culture. Berlin is so, so cool and has so much life to it. We walked along the Berlin Wall at sunset, which was so mesmerizing. Ariana’s father had been able to pass through the wall back in the day, so it was interesting to hear about his story and think about what people had went through at that time. It really wasn’t that long ago at all that the city was living through such a different reality.

Now that we’re home, I think of Berlin often and feel as if it would be the place I would feel the most at home. There was something so special about it, so unique and perfect, that it’s been calling my name ever since we left.

 

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Nature One: Partying in a NATO missile base

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I may have mentioned it before, but we are huge music fans with an even bigger love of music festivals. When we heard of Nature One, a massive electronic music festival held in a former NATO missile base in the middle of nowhere, Germany, we knew we had to go.

Let’s just say that two major camping festivals one week apart was less than ideal. We were exhausted and tired of camping. Also, it got so cold at night! I was dying for a warm bed. But, Nature One was unique and we were glad we experienced it.

As we were setting up our tent, music was already blasting from dozens of different areas. What makes this festival extra special is that the camping area is a nonstop party in and of itself. People bring speakers, full DJ equipment, lights, fog machines, kiddie pools, scaffolding for the speakers or partiers — you name it. One campsite had a 72-hour non-stop DJ lineup posted.  People go all night and all day. Yes, it’s impossible to sleep. We used our earplugs, but the bass pounding through the ground made sleeping a whole different struggle.

The festival offered free shuttles to the small town of Kastellaun, which allowed us to enjoy the cheap grocery store food and also allowed for a change of scenery. Nature One has the luxury of being very popular but not mainstream, which made for a very chill vibe. Instead of a horde of bros in body paint, we found true fans welcoming everyone with songs, chants and high fives.

Despite the lack of sleep, we were excited to venture through the 19 different stages of dance music. Some stages were on top of the bunkers and some were inside, others were set up inside giant tents in the back, and there were several huge open-air mainstages. We danced to trance, watched people go crazy to hardstyle, and we enjoyed some late night techno. Going into the bunkers to listen to pounding music was definitely a crazy experience. It was amazing to be able to see so many different music fans come together, enjoying one festival despite their different tastes.

Overall, despite being exhausted and camped-out, we loved Nature One and would highly recommend it to true music fans. Bring your tent, a warm blanket, and the best ear plugs and dancing shoes you’ve got.

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