Sometimes it’s difficult for me to write down experiences in a timely manner. A lot of it comes back to me months or even years later. Such is the case with probably my most memorable New Year’s Eve ever. From 2012 – 2013, I was living in Paris and my girlfriend at the time was staying part of the year with me in Paris and part of it in Spain. We knew we couldn’t go back to Texas for the holidays, so instead, her lovely sister came to visit and spent Christmas and New Years with us. We took a trip to Amsterdam, spent Christmas in my little Mansarde (small bohemian attic-room with a slanted ceiling) in Paris, and, thanks to a good-priced, last minute bus ticket, we went to Munich for New Years. We hopped on a Eurolines bus, and about 10 hours later, we were there.
We had absolutely no plans for New Years. We were just happy to be together and we knew we’d find something to get in to. While at a grocery store we saw that they were selling fireworks, and so, not sure if we’d even get to use them, we bought a pack with a wide variety. Come New Year’s Eve, the clock is ticking ever closer to midnight at our hostel, and we hear a group of young people coming back from being out and about. Evesdropping, we heard one girl say something to the effect of “that place was just too crazy…” Our ears perked up, and we asked the group where they had been, to which we learned was Marienplatz, the main square in town. We grabbed our cold-weather gear and bolted out the door to catch the tram in that direction.
“Crazy”, isn’t exactly the word I would have used to describe the scene at Marienplatz. I would say it was more like ‘pandemonium’, or, ‘utter chaos.’ Hundreds of people, mostly Germans, all of them drunk, and most of them lighting fireworks… fireworks that were tipping over and shooting dangerously close to the crowds of people. Drunken revelers were holding high-powered fireworks in their hands during ignition, bottles breaking everywhere, like I said…’pandemonium.’ We definitely felt on high alert for danger as we arrived so we chose our spot next to a large fountain which we kept to our backs so that we were less likely to get hit by rogue fireworks from behind. And then… we joined in the fun! We chugged our bottles of wine and champagne and lit our fireworks in areas where others were doing the same. One drunken fellow was fearlessly holding a huge canister of fireworks as it shot high into the air. A short time later, fire started on one of the roofs of one of the buildings that lined the plaza. A fire truck showed up to put out the fire, the firefighters paying no attention to the crazy party ensuing around them, and then they quietly left after the fire was put out. As our fireworks were depleted, we joined a group of younger kids in climbing the base of a tall, golden statue of the Virgin Mary in the center of the plaza. As the night wore on and the crowd thinned out a bit, we were still on the slim ledge of the base of the statue about 10 feet off the ground, and one guy who was strolling by not 30 feet from us stopped, pulled out a pistol, shot 3 times into the air, reholstered the pistol, and then continued his trajectory just as cool as a cucumber. Just one more testament to the crazy, unpredictable, and wildly fun New Year we were having.
We didn’t stay out very late. I would say our night only lasted from about 11 pm until 2 am. But those 3 hours were packed with so much energy, enthusiasm, and down-right fun that it felt as if we had stayed up all night. We made our way back to our hostel to turn in for the night, the whole way there talking about the night’s events. And that night became one of the most memorable experiences in my life. One not to be forgotten. And so, if you’re ever in Europe during the holidays, and looking for a place to have a helluvah New Year’s Eve, GO TO MUNICH. You won’t regret it!