Heading out from India is always a little tiring. You get a little sad in the taxi on the way to the airport about leaving ‘home’ as folo put it. But then you get to the chaos that is known as Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport and you are ready to get out! They have redone the airport a bit and it is starting to look nicer, but the people are still the same! Pushing, shoving, no sense of a line – drove me mad. Didn’t help that I had fever and just did not feel well.
Made it on the flight – first with our ‘elite’ status which pleased folo to no end! This is his first trip with elite status, so he was excited. But i do have to say that these airlines are definately cutting back on food and drinks! We were given a drink with our food only and the options were so limited. No apple juice or diet sodas. ‘dinner’ was a small bread with a slice of cheese and tomato! And then no drink cart until breakfast… luckily i had my own bottle of water. Maybe it is just a short flight??? Eight hours shouldn’t constitute short, but compared to the 16 hr flights i’ve been doing recently I felt I was getting jipped on the food!
Arrival in Paris was easy as pie… went through passport control, but they barely glanced at my passport. Then i was outside! I was shocked.. I know they don’t always stamp US passports, but still…don’t they need to scan my passport or something and know how long i’ll be in the EU? Guess not. Then we got to Berlin and there wasn’t even a passport control. I felt like I had just snuck in the country. I’m certainly not used to being ignored with my passport in hand! But what is funny is that the airport we flew into was Tegel which is on the West side of Berlin. They didn’t care one bit about passport or customs. But in Jan when we flew from Ireland we flew into an airport on the former East side and they are still very strict there. The Berliners say perhaps they are former SS. I’m flying out of the east side next week, so i’ll compare and get back to you!
As easy as it is to buy train tickets at the airport, it took Folo and I forever. Machines don’t seem to like us these days. the coke machine wasn’t working – just taking my money and then spitting it back out. then the train ticket machine wouldn’t take our credit card, nor paper bills.. only coins. How are we supposed to have 52 euro in coins?! Then we saw the booth and got our week tickets in seconds. grr. what a waste of time.
Being in Berlin is super easy. I remember the first time I came how I was lost on the trains, going back and forth unable to figure out if i was going the correct direction. Now I just potter right on, and seem to just feel the right way. I guess that’s what 8 years of international travel does for you.
Got to our apartment and couldn’t get the keys to work! We struggled for seriously 45 minutes trying to unlock the door. By this point, we are sweaty, tired, and hungry. The neighborhood looked a bit dodgy and that didn’t help our moods. The ladies who we picked the keys up from were rude as anything and i had to have a little yell with them. Finally they called the apt owner and he told me how to get in. Sheesh. Once inside, the apartment is fine. A little bare, with few necessities, but it’s ok.. Helps us know what is important to have in a place if we do decide to get an apartment here. Across the street is a great organic grocery shop. Folo loaded up on 4 euro organic wine, cheeses, breads, german beers and other little snacks for our fridge.
Spent the rest of the day getting a phone chip and visiting with Andy & Anja. The weather is great by my standards. It was around 70 degrees, but got a little warm even with a hoodie on. Sprinkling a little, but it’s nothing compared to the rain in Mumbai! It’s so nice to be back in Berlin!! I really do want to live here for a while. Need to start working on my german though!
Now it’s time to head out and enjoy the sun for a bit before the rains come again. More errands on the agenda today and then a ‘hen’ party tonight (bachlorette party).