Plane rides and grey cities

Trip Start Mar 07, 2006
Trip End Jun 30, 2006

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Flag of Germany  ,
Saturday, May 27, 2006

Welcome to Europe!

It took a plane, a train, and an S-bahn, but I've arrived at long last. New continent, new time zone, new language barriers to negotiate, and a helluvalot more history. Woohoo!

The plane ride from Singapore was long and annoying, since that neon sign on my forehead must have been glowing again (you know, the one that says, "seat her next to screaming, kicking children"). *Sigh*. I landed in Frankfurt in the small hours of the morning, though for me it felt already like mid-afternoon and my stomach was rumbling. Not to mention the exhaustion setting in, since I got barely an hour of sleep and even that was in short dozing-off bursts.

A short shuttle ride to the conveniently-located train station later, I was aboard a high-speed ICE train to Berlin. Unfortunately, as I hadn't reserved a seat (deliberately, in case the flight was late), I had to seat-hop quite a bit and spent part of the ride sitting on the floor with the other backpackers too cheap or last-minute to reserve. It was great watching the scenery out the window as we zoomed past; all the quaint chalet-style houses, farms and small towns that look so different from anything in Australia or New Zealand.

Finally, I arrived at Berlin's Zoo Station. Berlin is much as I'd pictured it - somewhat dreary and grey. It's only about 15 degrees as a high, which makes me very happy after Singapore's excessive heat. (You guys should've seen me walking around in my crop pants, sandals and t-shirt, happy as a clam, while all the locals are in sweaters and jackets... I'm officially nuts, ok?) So far, I haven't experienced much of Berlin, since most of my time until now has been taken up by trying to work out the subway and commuter train (U-bahn and S-bahn) systems and to locate my hotel. Yep, my tour starts tomorrow, so it's luxury accommodation time - hotels instead of hostels for a change. Who's excited? Anyway, I saw loads of interesting-looking sights and buildings out the window of the S-bahn, and I will need to pull out a map and return to all of them.

Right now I'm sitting in an internet cafe in Alexanderplatz, having my first really good cup of coffee in ages, and soon I will head back to the hotel for a shower and maybe even a nap. (Trying to fight the nap... jet lag will be better avoided without one... we'll see if I can hold out). More to follow when I actually see the city.
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