Hello Berlin!

November 4th, 2007

It’s been a bit quiet on my blog the last couple of days, but with a good reason. After a few days travel (it’s not as dramatic as it sounds), I finally spent my very first day in Berlin (Germany). The trip didn’t go as smoothly as we expected though:


All the last times I went to Holland I took the Eurolines bus; it’s a whole lot cheaper than plane, train or any other means of transportation between the UK and the “Continent”. This time though Cristiano wanted to take a RyanAir plane, because it didn’t matter that much in price and (of course) is a whole lot quicker. I find it ridiculous though that you now have to pay an extra fee for every piece of cargo luggage you’re taking with you and that you have to pay extra for being able to check-in online, but that you also have to pay extra if you want to check-in at the airport (either way you have to pay extra!).

Anyhow, we took the Terravision bus from Liverpool Street Station to Stanstead Airport and neatly arrived at the airport 15:35, 1.5 hour before the plane left. We checked in straight-away and after zipping all our 100 ml bottles of liquid in bags we still had 1 hour and 10 minutes left. The boarding time was 16:25, meaning we still had half an hour left. Now comes our stupidity: we didn’t realise that the gates that we saw weren’t the final boarding gates, but the security check. So we first had something to eat, arriving neatly “at time” on 16:25 at the “boarding gates”, only to discover we were in a very long row for the security check. Oops! It took us 30 minutes just to get through there, which left us desperately running for the plane. And of course, it would have to be one of the furthest gates! In the end we did make it, but it was a very, very close call. After landing in Eindhoven, my parents picked us and drove us to Arnhem.


This day we didn’t do that much traveling; we spent the day shopping in Arnhem getting the last couple of items we needed for Germany.


Originally the plan was that Reinier and Alper would pick us up at IKEA Duiven at 13:00. However, Reinier had spent the previous day driving back and forth from London and only arrived back in Holland at 5 in the morning. The 13:00 became 15:00 so that he could get at least some sleep. Now normally it takes only 20-30 minutes to get to Duiven from my parent’s place; we left at 13:30 to keep some time over for lunch. Today almost every possible route was blocked; it took us 1.5 hour to get there! This meant that we were right on time, but that didn’t help that much. Not only was almost every road around Arnhem blocked, every major highway towards our meeting point was congested (apparently some truck driver drove himself off a bridge). Reinier phoned us to tell that they would have an hour delay! Brilliant, now we had time for lunch anyway! Finally at around 16:00 they picked us up and we made our way over the border into Germany.

Once in Germany we found out that the navigation cd for Germany that we had with us had to be unlocked first, making them completely useless. And of course we also didn’t have a “normal” map. Heck, we didn’t even have the address or the telephone number of Eelke, with whom we would be staying in Berlin. Luckily we could phone in the help of several people, who gave sufficient information to lead us safely into Berlin. Next time, I’m definitely going to plan all this stuff ahead and create some contingency plans in case the “digital” maps aren’t available.

So Friday night at 23:00 we finally arrived in Berlin! Phew, not the smoothest journey, right? Anyhow, yesterday was the first day of BarCamp Berlin, so keep an eye on this blog; I’ll (hopefully) post about it soon!