“Hallo” from Berlin!

Hallo! Sounds exactly like Hello, so I get confused and my mind automatically thinks the person speaks english! Which is usually not the case lol.

Anyway “hi”… I really am looking forward to getting back to an english speaking country (London!!!) :p

Yesterday was my last day in Paris šŸ™ it was nice/not nice to have a late flight out – 9:15pm. I was able to stick around until about 6pm, got to the airport with plenty of time to spare. I shipped back about 6kg of stuff from my backpack, so it was a nice surprise to lift that up and not totally destroy my back this time around! Flight was a bit late, not a big problem – something to do with the airport losing the flight plan? Who knows.

Air Berlin was quite nice, I was very pleased with the on board service, especially considering it’s just an hour and a half flight. Drinks, cookies, etc. I should start an airline review site! Anyway got in to Berlin around 11:15pm I think? Pretty easy airport to navigate, I wound up in the Tegel airport. Bus ride took me to the main train station, better known as “Hauptbahnhof” (still don’t know how exactly to pronounce that). Very cool looking building, especially cool at night with next to no one in it.

They have an underground and above ground train station, the “S” or the “U”… took me a few minutes to figure out where my “S” line was, but from there it was only 5 stops to my destination, so pretty nice and quick. Also their ticketing system is really good here – it’s an honour/validation system so no gates, a ticket at 2.40 euro gets you two hours of travel, hop on hop off etc and across multiple methods (bus, train, tram, etc). I was pretty impressed just getting in and seeing all the wonderful buildings, large open space, etc.

Anyway arrived at the hostel just after midnight, really quick walk from the train station (always a big PLUS). The hostel, or I guess hostel/hostel, is beautiful! Has a lovely indoor pool, huge lobby, etc. Easily the “nicest” hostel I’ve stayed in so far (not necessarily the best, but “nice”). Quick check in, found out that I’m staying with TWO Canadians, which is huge since I’ve very rarely met any other Canadians on my travels – and they were still awake lol, so I didn’t start off by pissing everyone off arriving at midnight :p

So we stayed up for a couple hours and chatted… internet in the room totally sucks, so that’s unfortunate, but the internet down in the lobby is “ok”. I went to look at the pool yet but haven’t had a chance to go swimming, maybe tomorrow morning…?

Today I set off with the intention to buy a SIM card nice and quick and then return – of course the place I was going to go grab the card from wound up not existing, and from there I just got irritated and starting wandering until I found somewhere. Eventually came across a Mobile store in one of the train stations, grabbed that for 10 euro.. we’ll see how long the credit lasts me. The 3g service worked pretty well today.

That took me at least a couple hours anyway, so by the time I got back I was anxious to just get out and do something… Chere suggested the Jewish Museum to me, so I set a course via Google Maps and went off to there! About 40 mins away by train and a short walk, pretty decent – I have to say the transit system here really is very, very good. Not quite Paris with a metro stop on every corner, but good.

Arrived at the Jewish Museum, very cool – it’s two buildings, an old one which was used as the Berlin Museum years ago, and then a new building, built kind of in a zig zag, with no noticeable connection above ground, but an underground connection. It was designed byĀ architect Daniel Libeskind, and really given a lot of character, which is very fitting for such a serious museum in a place like Berlin. It was terrific – very interactive, very moving, very interesting.

You really have to go if you wind up in Berlin – there was of course a lot on the Holocaust, but there was also a lot on the history of Judaism. So it was really interesting to learn more about it… and learn something new.

One of the really interesting parts of the museum was theĀ Shalekhet (Fallen Leaves)Ā exhibit byĀ Menashe Kadishman… take a look at the website, but basically it’s in one of the “voids” of the museum – a specifically left empty area without air conditioning/heat/light etc, with over 10,000 open-mouthed faces coarsely cut from heavy, circular iron plates that cover the floor. Walking through it, and I did this after going through all the exhibits on my way out, is a moving and humbling experience as you think about what it, in a very small way, represents.

Long story short, a very good museum. I spent about 4 hours there without even noticing the time go by – one of the best I’ve been to yet.

Anyway that took up the majority of my day… I walked around a bit, got a sausage of some sort from a street vendor, who was literally wearing his sausage cart (it was quite impressed – FB for the photo). Went to “Saturn”, a huge electronics store here, visited a mall for dinner, and… yeah. That’s my day.

Tomorrow I’m thinking I’ll go see some of the Berlin Wall, apparently I’m just a 5 minute walk or so away from that, and we’ll see what else I get up to šŸ˜‰ I’m really happy with Berlin – it’s a beautiful, thriving city with lots going on. Depending on what winds up on my final “to-do” list, I may have to extend by a day or two.

So that’s it from me for tonight… maybe a swim tomorrow… what do you think the chances are? :p Whatever you’re up to…. make the world more awesome!!!