With only three days of 2017 left, it’s almost time to start training your hand to write 2018 on your correspondence. Or type, because who uses a pen anymore anyway? It was a year that filled us with joy, shock, laughter and everything in between. Our nostalgic bug is biting and we’re using the last post of the year (insert thunder noise here) to take you down memory lane.
America tagged it as the worst year ever, but what was it like on this side of the pond?
Berlin is a city of extremes. It usually doesn’t need any help to be weird, outrageous or straightout scandalous. But surprises go both ways, and if you go beyond the stereotypes, you just might find that Berlin can be just as tame as it can be wild. So let’s begin. We’re revisiting the year with our pick of 2017’s 10 most captivating news. No, it’s not 12, that’s just lame!
So bring on the good, the bad and the ugly, it’s time for a recap!
1. The first news on this list is as cute as it gets. Get your emojis ready, this one is a heart melter! Just three weeks ago, Berlin Zoo welcomed a new member, and it’s a special one. Tonja the polar bear is the proud mother of a cub that is in its first fragile weeks on this planet. The Zoo staff is taking extra care of the two to make sure they are healthy and well in the long term. We’re keeping our fingers crossed and our eyes watery!
2. While we are at the zoo, there’s another big news that needs to be mentioned. Before welcoming the new, we celebrated the old. Berlin Zoo is the place the world’s oldest gorilla calls home. Fatou has a funny story behind her arrival to our capital. She was handed over to cover a bar tap of a drunk French sailor. And sixty years later, she’s celebrating the big day in style. It goes without saying that bananas were involved. Happy birthday Fatou, we hope you welcome another healthy year with us!
3. Not all that happens in Berlin stays in Berlin. Probably the biggest news involving the capital (at least by name) was when we found out AirBerlin was closing their cabin doors. For good. After 38 years and countless flights the popular low-cost transporter declared bancrupcy. The news sent out a wave of mixed emotions that included everything from shock to nostalgia, and on October 27th 2017, an AirBerlin aircraft landed in Tegel for the last time. This one definitely goes to the “sad news” drawer. We’ll miss you, AirBerlin!
4. Speaking of air, 2017 saw another big shift. This one was a bit more grounded, though it did involve sky-high rent costs! The month of August introduced AirBnB with some harsh sanctions, after research showed that retail companies are using the popular “Home away from home” business model to make more revenue. Good news for incoming expaths who would like to spare some cash for something other than the rent!
5. And speaking of cash, looks like Berlin will welcome the New Year with some old habits. Probably the most annoying downside of the city, the no-cash-no-joy system is still going strong long after practically every other country in Europe has drastically lowered their tree killing for the purpose of money printing. Guess we’ll have to leave that one for next year’s Santa list. Until then, if you come to visit us prepare yourself for remembering what that notes compartment in your wallet is for!
6. If you happened to be in the city this summer, or should we say, autumn, you remember the highly anticipated and highly disappointing summer months we endured this year. It rained more than it didn’t, and our jackets were wildly overused. But this is still Berlin, and here we don’t take anything seriously. Flooded streets got us all acting like children, and if anything else, it’s become a cool story. Minus the mosquitos, that was just mean.
7. Running from all that rain sure got us hungry, and when in Berlin, what better thing to bite into than a kebab? Sure, curry wursts are the original Berlin street food, but let’s be real, it’s not even close to matching the popularity of kebabs! Busy from morning to morning (most of them never close), kebab joints of Berlin are a favorite for all tastes and preferences. Whether you’re a meat devourer, a vegetarian or a vegan, you will find an option that will guarantee a singing tummy. And in October Berlin welcomed the biggest kebab in the world. At over 420kg, it was a real meat monster and a crowd pleaser. Long live kebabs of Berlin!
8. What do you call a year in Berlin without the Hoff making the news? A fail. Lucky for us, our favorite lifeguard and Knight Rider is never far from our minds, and it seems 2018 will be no different. But before the year ends, our beloved Hoff is making sure he leaves a mark on 2017 as well, with his latest campaign to save the most famous preserved piece of Berlin Wall from being lost to a construction project. He also visited our awesome Hoff Museum at The Circus Hostel and signed his life size portrait on the wall. You rock, David…you….rock!
9. While we’re on the topic of construction, December did a magic trick and brought Munich closer to Berlin. Not really, but the building of a new high speed train sure makes it feel like it has! Beware China, we are getting closer… Traveling at a speed of up to 300km/h, it reduced the traveling time from the usual 7 to a whopping 4 hours! Pretty impressive, don’t you think?
10. Last on this list, but first in weirdness, this news takes us back to the first month of the year when the first unisex public toilets were introduced in Berlin. Following the example of New York, another city famous for controversy and trendsetting, Berlin’s public found a line of members of all genders gracing the outside areas of public toilets. Apart from the “pee sitting down” policy, not much has changed. Will the trend stick? Only time will tell.
So there, now you know how we chose to remember this epic year. Now dust off the boots, it’s time to step into 2018. We can’t wait to see what it holds!