Berlin Carnival 2015 – Day 1

Berlin Carnival was over a month ago now but I’ve been really busy and haven’t had time for my blog. This year I went with three friends who had never been before, so it was pretty cool to be the ringleader when last year I had to go by myself and find people to tag along with. We flew out early on the Thursday morning…

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(One of us is missing because she very cleverly decided to take an even earlier flight because it was cheaper so ended up having to wait for us at the Berlin airport anyway!!)

We bought a visitor pass from the train ticket stand at the airport which allows you to use unlimited trains, trams and buses for 5 days, and took the train to Alexanderplatz which is where most of the Carnival people stay. We checked into our quadruple room at Pangea People Hostel, which I would definitely recommend. It was only 90 euros each for 4 nights and the room was clean and spacious, internet was 1 euro per day, it had a cheap bar/restaurant and the staff were helpful.

The event that starts off the carnival is called Jouvert. It’s a worldwide carnival tradition which normally happens on the streets the night before Carnival to celebrate the fact that it’s starting, but in Berlin they held it a few days before the actual carnival in an outdoor venue which was basically just a big concrete area surrounded by walls.

We paid about 15 euros each for our Jouvert ticket which included a tshirt and two packets of paint (Jouvert always involves paint/powder/liquid chocolate etc being thrown around). There were scissors available to cut/customise the tshirts, so this is what we looked like before we touched any paint…

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As well as our packets of powder paint, there were buckets of actual paint available for anyone to use, so we didn’t stay clean for long…

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The paint kind of meant that strangers were way more friendly with each other than usual because you could throw paint at anyone and then that would either lead to them throwing it back at you and your friends and/or you having a conversation with them. It was a really fun experience and I had constant energy for about 5 hours even though we only had 4 hours sleep the night before.

My friends got a takeaway and and early night, but I wasn’t ready to go to bed so I went to the ‘Kebab Shop Lime’. To lime means to chill out, have a drink and dance etc. Every year for Carnival there’s a kebab shop in Alexanderplatz which is pretty much open 24/7 and allows soca (carnival music) DJs to bring their decks and play loud music there all night. The kebab shop is pretty much all open along the front so the carnival people fill it up on the inside and spill out onto the street. Passers by were mostly very confused but some of them joined in, and the kebab men were dancing at the same time as making kebabs. If you go to Berlin Carnival you HAVE to find the Kebab Shop Lime. It’s awesome and I really don’t think it would be allowed in London!

Anyway, I was covered in paint which had gone all hard and itchy and it was getting cold so after a few hours of liming I went back to the hostel and spent about half an hour in the shower before having a nice long sleep.

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