Having arrived in Germany just in time for the 200th Oktoberfest in Munich, we serendipitously arrived in Berlin for the 10th anniversary of the Festival of Lights. Years back, when Berlin Instagrammers I had started following posted photos of this magical event, I knew it was one for the bucket list. Lucky for me, we now live in this wonderful city and can look forward to this every year.
With my husband away on business and our own romantic stroll through the illuminated city postponed unit next year, I grabbed my new-to-Berlin friend and we headed out to our first light festival experience together. The Berliner Dom (cathedral) was high on both our lists, with its ornate old-European architecture, so we started there. Walking around from the back, we were greeted by stunning lights projected from across the Lustgarten, perfectly backlit by moody, cloud-covered skies, the impact surpassing any photos I had seen. Each new illumination seemed even better than the last, making it hard to tear ourselves away and continue on our tour of lights.
The evening was perfect autumn weather, mild and surprisingly dry, making the stroll down Unter den Linden a very pleasant one. One bike taxi saw my DSLR and heard our English, nearly insisting we get a ride to Brandenburger Tor, as it was 'very far away'. We chuckled at being mistaken for tourists that didn't realize it was only a 20-30 minute leisurely walk down one of the main drags of the city, with more illuminations along the way to see. While we talked about how much we loved our new city - mine for not-yet-a-year and hers for only a week - we took photos and reveled in the fact that neither of us felt ill-at-ease being two women out near midnight in a major European capital. Germany has been good to us, Berlin especially so, and that night was just another reason why we had fallen so hard for this new home of ours.
While I barely made a dent in experiencing the long list of illuminations around the city, it felt like a right of passage to take part in one of Berlin's amazing traditions as an actual Berliner (ahem, Berlinerin). I may venture out again to see more of the festival, running through the end of this weekend, as I am greedy to take in more of this enchanting show. I would highly recommend you do the same if you are in Berlin. Like Christmas and New Year's, it is a year-long anticipation well-worth the wait.
Berlin Festival of Lights, every Octber
see map for illuminations around the city