Sunday, October 26, 2008

Lights of a light nature

Finally, as evidently thousands of others, we yesterday evening went out to see the colorful illuminations on the last night of this year's Festival of Lights. (On the linked site, there are many more and better photos than we managed.)
Once at the tv-tower, we realized there were also to be fireworks at 9:30, so we decided to do the bits from there to Unter den Linden, including the Cathedral with laser painting, take a bus to the Brandenburg Gate, and then again from there to the Siegessäule, farthest on our spontaneous plan, then hop back on a bus for Alex and be there in plenty of time for the fireworks.
But the bus quit at Schl0ß Bellevue, one stop before Siegessäule, as there was also some run of a few dozen people with light rods or such, or whatever, but it was only a couple of hundred meters to walk there, and the bus would have to turn around anyway, so, we thought, we'll still make it back in time.
Well, the sms info service said a proper bus would come at 9:06, 9:08, and 9:14 at the Bellevue stop, which the first two indeed did, but were so full they wouldn't let anyone board. The next one still hadn't arrived at 9:20, so we walked to the S-Bahn station and caught a train at 9:28, through the window saw the fireworks begin promptly at 9:30, and found them over when we disembarked at Hackescher Markt, an ideal vantage point just off from the tv-tower, the area where they were launched. We got off the train, by the way, at 9:37, so the entire firework show couldn't have been more than 5 minutes.
Our advantage: there were such mobs that the tram from there directly to our house was already filled to overflowing at the second stop. We had seats by boarding at the start at the train station. By the Alexander Platz stop, the tram was a sardine can, the second of the two stops on the Platz not possible for anyone to board.
Yep, Berlin is a party, and EVERYBODY always goes on the last night, including us. But we got a seat and had fun. Had we seen the fireworks from closeup we would have had to wait forever to get on a tram home.
Below the meagre personal evidence:

Above, the still photos that amounted to anything; and below, the short video of the laser painting on Berlin's Cathedral at the top of Unter den Linden and at the River Spree

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