I did not get into Berghain. (sad times)
And then I DID get into Berghain! (techno joy!)
How did this happen?
Well, I do not think there is a guaranteed way to get into Berghain. But I think there is a definite way to make sure you don't, and when we rocked up at 6:30 in the morning we ticked off each one of these.
As much as I think it's ridiculous, the first thing is not to talk. I don't understand why this 'unspoken' (pun intended) rule exists but it clearly does. No talking in the queue. At least one of our number did.
Also, they frown on big groups and we were a group of 6. Also, maybe don't draw attention to that fact by calling yourselves a 'hefty' crew.
We were told politely but firmly, not tonight.
But me and a friend were determined and after three pretty amazing hours at Sisyphos decided to try again.
We arrived about 10:15 and the queue was minimal. 15 terrifying minutes later, after having watched person after person be turned away, it was our turn. We were asked how many of us we were, and, rather scared we kind of indicated an answer somehow. The bouncers were actually kind of friendly but also playing with us and after a bit of 'should we, shouldn't we' they let us in. The fact they were even talking to us had given me hope - no one else had been granted more than a shake of the head.
And I am so glad we tried again. Berghain is immense and worth going if just to experience its size and impressiveness. The atmosphere is great too as of course everyone is so happy to be in there! The crowd is diverse - plenty of people in jeans and t-shirts as well as a marked male gay contingency as that's its natural state, despite everyone else they let in.
The dance floor was exactly what I had always imagined a nightclub to be before I starte raving - dark and strobe lights, podiums and with plenty of room to dance. The music when we first got in there was just quite heavy but changed a bit later to something more dark and urgent that we really got into before then morphing into something more screechy and industrial that we weren't as keen on.
There's also the Panorama bar upstairs which had lighter techno and was, literally, lighter as sun was allowed to peek through the shutters.
We were getting in to proper daytime and wanted to find the 'garten' - we knew it existed, but finding it was something of a trial. I don't know why we were so convinced it was a terrace or roof but it meant we kept trying random stairs instead of going outside to the huge space, which was like stepping into an entirely different venue and gave us a new wind. Here the music was much more light-hearted - not even techno but 80s new wave sometimes!
If you don't get into Berghain it's not the end of the world but I'd highly recommend trying to go at least once.