Guten tag! On Thursday night I arrived safely in Berlin. I took the TGV to Paris, and from Paris I flew to Berlin. The train arrived at Charles De Galle, but my flight was leaving from Orly Airport in Paris. These two stations are on opposite sides of Paris. I had to take few metros to get there, with no time to spare, but I made it right as the plane was boarding! In Paris, a lot of the metros do not have an escalator/elevator option-just stairs. As I anxiously stared down the steep staircase with my overstuffed suitcase, a nice Parisian offered to help me get down the stairs. Actually, every staircase I went down someone offered help, which was very comforting in this ‘Amazing Race’ moment.
The flight to Berlin was only an hour and twenty minutes. When I stepped off the airplane, my teeth were chattering, it was raining and was about 50 degrees. This felt like the arctic after living in the 90-degree heat in Montpellier. Though, it was a nice change from sweating all of the time.
I took a taxi to the hotel, a nice new Mercedes! It made NY yellow cabs look like go-carts. My friends were meeting me there, since they arrived in Berlin the night before. It turned out, we booked our hotel on the ‘Rodeo Drive’ or ‘Champs De Lysee’ of Berlin. There was a Gucci on our corner with a Chanel next to it, and a Prada across from it. We had no idea it would be like this, as our hotel was very reasonably priced. This was an extremely upscale neighborhood ‘Charlottenburg’, it was very beautiful, but we were far from the artsy, young, neighborhoods Berlin is known for. It encouraged us to learn the metro, and start exploring! For metro and bus tickets, they use an ‘Honor’ system. They sell tickets that are good for a certain amount of time, however the tickets are not checked when you enter the train. My friends were informing me of this, because they used the same system in Prague (where they were studying). Occasionally someone will come around to check passes, and if you don’t have one, you will be fined. However, of the three days I took the metros in Berlin, I did not see anyone checking. It is so different from New York!
(Where the Berlin wall once stood)
We took a walking tour of the city, which showed us much more of Berlin. We also went to the Jewish Museum. It was very large, with so much to read and see. We could’ve easily spent five hours inside, but left after three since it was getting late.
This is definitely a lively, young city. The metro was full with kids our age that weathered the cold with their grunge style. I saw many Doc Martens, jean jackets, and Converse. A lot of people had blonde hair, and many girls had short, cropped haircuts. Most women wore very minimal makeup. Even going out at night, people still wore sneakers and jeans. They dressed it up with their funky hairstyles.
Berlin is very large, and clean. I only wish I had more than three days to explore it! I was just getting started! However, now we are on to Amsterdam.