Ah, love! It is only fair that the emotion that inspired some of the best songs and works of art and literature in the world should deserve its own month. But why February, and not May or June, when the flowers are in bloom and the spring has awakened our romantic desires? It is all thanks to Saint Valentine, the Roman priest who decided to keep marrying couples in secret despite an edict by Emperor Claudius, who had prohibited marriages: he believed married soldiers wouldn't fight as passionately as single ones. Valentine was caught, imprisoned, and tortured, but while in jail he corresponded with some of his fans, always signing his letters "from your Valentine." Then, in authentic martyr style, he was executed by beating, stoning, and decapitation and eventually died on February 14, 269 AD.
Ever since then, couples in love have been exchanging gifts and flowers on Valentine's Day, and have transformed the otherwise cold month of February into an opportunity to keep their hearts warm. And in Berlin, where February temperatures average between 29 and 39°F (–1.5 and 8.5°C), with a recordsetting low of –14.8°F (–26°C) in 1929, warming up is definitely a priority at this time of the year. There are lots of things to do this month for lovers visiting the
Hauptstadt, so turn to page 10 for some specific recommendations designed for every kind of couple out there, or take our Nightlife test on page 58 to find out where to spend your romantic nights – with or without a partner.
And if your real love is cinema, it's time to rejoice: for 10 days this month, the Berlinale film festival will be bringing the best of international cinema, so turn to page 16 for tips on how and where to secure your tickets.
With love, SOLVEIG STEINHARDT EDITOR, WHERE BERLIN