I am the Bournemouth student who was in the Berlin terror attack
Pretty much everyone has heard about the attack on the Christmas market in Berlin during December by now. I was there.
It happened the first night of my short trip to the city with my boyfriend, on Monday the 19th of December. We got to Berlin quite early that day so we could explore the city as much as possible, as we were only staying for two nights. The trip was a birthday present for me from him, it had been what was keeping me going whilst I juggled my assignment deadlines back in Bourney before the Christmas break, so I was extremely excited to see and do everything Berlin had to offer in December. This including, of course, the famous Christmas markets.
We both said we’d like to have a wander round one of the markets that evening, but decided to grab some dinner beforehand. We went to a quirky ‘pub’/restaurant where you had to share tables with people, and which had beer taps in the middle of the tables so you could pour yourself your own pint (yes pls). I had no signal on my phone let alone 3G/4G or WIFI, but my boyfriend suddenly got a message from one of his mates saying “don’t go to the Christmas markets tonight.” We were both confused until the Canadian group we were sharing our table with told us they had just heard that a lorry had driven into one of the markets round the corner from the restaurant and had killed 12 people.
Now I knew my mum, if she had heard, would be having a nervous breakdown assuming the worst had happened to us. We quickly finished our meal and headed back to the hotel so we could both phone home and let everyone know we were safe.
Walking back was definitely odd. Berlin is a weirdly quiet city in comparison to London, but literally no one was out in the street. It was eerie, you could definitely tell something wasn’t right. The main road had been closed off so we couldn’t see anywhere near where it had all happened. The only thing I noticed other than the lack of people and cars around was the sound of a lot of sirens from the emergency services.
I had 15 missed calls and at least a dozen text messages from friends and family asking me if we were ok and begging me to reply (shout out to Hayley).
The next day the flags on all of the buildings flew at half-mast. Every single Christmas market in Berlin was closed, whether it was out of respect or fear I’m not sure, but it certainly made an impact. I dread to think of what might have happened had we decided not to go to dinner first. Situations like these definitely make you realise how the smallest action, movement or decision can have the biggest influence on the rest of your life.