Yes! It is actually as cold as it looks on the picture right now in Berlin. When I moved here 8 years ago, my first winter in Berlin was a terrible experience. In contrast to Munich, where I lived before, the temperature is much lower and even worse, many weeks the sky is just cloudy, so that on some days it is hard to tell if it is 9 in the morning or 4 in the afternoon. You many times don’t see the sun for days and everything is just grey in grey.
This winter we were quite lucky so far, with “a lot” (every 2nd day?) of sunshine in January and mild temperatures compared to the years before. But for sure you need something like a plan, how to survive those cold and dark months between November and April. Here comes my little guide how to get on during that time.
1. BE PREPARED is my first tip. Expect the winter to be cold and don’t have any illusions. It will be a tough time outside. Think about the coldest day of last winter, when you go shopping for a winter coat. It has to be so warm that you directly start sweating when you wear it inside, that will be the adequate protection. The longer the coat the more it detains the cold. Don’t think about wearing something only covering the hips. Once I started wearing long coats I never wanted to miss that again during winter. I bought some years ago this beautiful leather coat with fake fur in a vintage store. It originally is made in Norway, and all I can tell is: The Norwegian know how to stay warm outside. The only downside: It weighs around 5 kilo.
Same for the shoes: You need at least 1–2 pairs that are thicker than all of your other shoes. They should be lined with whool inside, my Salvatore Ferragamo boots are perfect right now. Another plus is to have a thick plateau sole, every centimeter between your feet and the frozen ground is noticeable. And of course – if you do not know it from the rest of Germany – there have been weeks constantly below 0 degrees. When I went to school I thought permafrost is something only for Alaska or Finnland. Nope, we have it here, too. 😉 In my first winter in Berlin people were wearing spikes over their normal shoes. A bit freaky but at least safe. I remember once during one of my first business lunches here, how funny my client with his spike shoes was so much faster then the rest of us. Everyone was just trying not to slip and fall and be the reason for jokes the next days…
2. STAY INSIDE For sure, the best thing is to stay inside. Try to avoid long distances outside, long waitings at the S-Bahn or Bus stop. I usually use the time to rearrange my interior, start cooking a lot more, invite and visit friends or revive old hobbies like painting or playing music. It can be a wonderful time at home when you feel comfortable in it…
3. ESCAPE THE COLD Definitely place your long-distance holidays into the winter months. Every day that shortens the winter is of value. In the past years I planned my Asia trips around March, even though it is still rain season then… Other great destinations were Mexico or California, or of course the Carribbean.
4. ENJOY THE WINTER and go for a short trip over the weekend to the near by Erzgebirge (Erz Mountains). The Czech side is not only a bit cheaper, I think they also have the nicer landscape with beautiful forests. And I have to confess I am a great fan of knedlíky = Knödel, I love them done in every variation, filled, salty or sweet… mhmm I am getting hungry now!
I really hope this was my last winter outfit this season, and the next one will be so much more spring. Counting the days…
What’s your recipe against the cold months?