Well after a brief, but weird layover in London; we board a British Airways flight to Frankfurt. My anticipation for what lays before me begins to build, naturally. We land in Frankfurt at approximately 11-11:30 a.m., local time. Now, my goal is to go immediately from the airport terminal to the train terminal. Not so fast Yankee! Of course you have to have your passport stamped (And yes, it got stamped).
Being unfamiliar with the train system in Europe, and apparently having an outdated train schedule (Thanks Eurail!), I hadn’t a clue as to what was going on. Needless to say it took a long time to get to Berlin — about 13 hrs. I was told it should have taken about 3. On the bright side, I got to see lots of the German countryside — what I saw looks like the Ohio countryside.
I arrive in Berlin, operating on about 4 hours rest in the last 24 hours; I had adrenaline on my side, thankfully. This will come in handy for those of you planning a trip to Germany in the future, THE TRAIN SCHEDULES IN GERMANY ARE WRITTEN IN GERMAN. Of course, I don’t speak German — another hurdle to deal with. That night I saw the largest number of umlauts on one sheet of paper, this side of Scandinavia.
So I’m in Berlin, “Why don’t I just call Michael, it’s not that late; 1-1:30 a.m. Of course he’d give me directions.” But before I do that, COCKTAILS!
I finally call my friend Mike, here’s how that goes:
Mike: The U-Bahn, you want to get on the U-Bahn. U8. Don’t take the S-Bahn. (Editor’s note: The following dialog is paraphrased) Blah blah bla, “German word”, blah. Then you want to “German word” blah. Get off at “German blah”, then, take blah and blah to “German word” blah . And you’re, just a few blocks from our home.
Me: What?! What the fuck is a U-Bahn?
Mike: Okay, you have the address, you could also get a taxi.
So that’s what I did, I took a taxi to Mike’s house. Berlin, at night, and by taxi at 1:30 a.m. is not that impressive. But I arrived safe and sound, not a scratch; but a little stressed.
At that point, in true Gem City style, we go out for cocktails. Nice little place called The Syndicate; I think it’s going to be my C-Bar. In Germany, 2 in the morning, is nowhere near last call. In fact it’s several hours away from last call.
End of day one in Germany, it was worth every minute.