Good afternoon – ladies, and gentlemen.
I am currently aboard Easyjet Flight #4539 departing from Berlin at 2:35pm local time with a flight time of approx. 1 hour and 10 minutes. Currently on an upward trajectory until reaching our cruising altitude of 10km.
I wish I could say I pre-planned writing this blog entry on the plane because it’s a bit of a milestone – 30 flights so far this trip! However, it’s really because I got busy last night and didn’t feel like writing. Not quite as cool, is it?
But anyway, this is flight #30 for this trip, which began on Sun, Sept 16th 2012 in Vancouver, BC – so we’re almost 6 full months in. Including Hungary, I’ve still got 9 countries left to visit (excluding Canada), so we’re not finished yet! Projected date to return home is still April 13th, but that might be adjusted by a few days if I pick somewhere else to visit along the way.
Anyway, enough with that – let’s talk Berlin! Yesterday was my last full day in Berlin. By this time I had successfully visited most of the things I wanted to, so I was feeling pretty good and had no problem taking it relatively easy. Slept in a bit, got up and decided to go to the Stasi Museum.
If you don’t know who the Stasi is, they are the security agency used by the DDR (aka East Berlin) while the wall was still up and in full force. A particularly brutal agency with the intent of making sure it’s citizens did not question the government, forcing thousands of it’s citizens to inform on each other, and of course, making sure that none of them left (for fear that they would simply not come back – a well founded fear).
It was a big let down, to be honest. I was expecting some cool spy equipment, some hands on access to stuff, good stories, etc, etc… not so much. A lot of it wasn’t even translated into English, the spy equipment was minimal and not something you could interact with, and the stories weren’t that great. It was in their old HQ too, so you’d think it would be cool. Not so much.
So I didn’t stay there too long. But I did decide to go to the Olympic Stadium, and that won me a wow. There’s something about large stadiums, theaters, huge spaces like that… I’ve always loved them. Especially when I’m there on my own (or practically on my own). There were very few other tourists, the building was completely open – with the exception of the field. I was so tempted. SO tempted to go down on the field anyway. If there weren’t quite so many tourists by the gate I may have accidentally jumped it, but I didn’t feel like getting thrown out.
Anyway it’s an amazing stadium, it has a terrific feel to it, and I can just imagine it coming alive with Olympic spirit! I spent a good hour there, took a bunch of pictures. It was very, very cool.
The rest of the day was spent wandering around a bit before returning to the hostel, where I went out for dinner with a couple of my room mates to a terrific asian place a few blocks away. Great people, fun conversation – the type of experience that you go to a hostel for 🙂 sometimes you’re lucky to find room mates who are nice people and fun to talk to, other times not so much… I think I’ve had about 50/50 luck with that.
After dinner I had to catch up on some work, so that pretty much my night. Today I got up and went for a walk around the area again, grabbed some lunch before leaving for the airport, saw a bit more of the Berlin Wall that was still in tact (and currently used as a sort of art gallery), and then set off!
Different airport then I landed at, actually easier to get to – only two metros away, or about 45 mins.
I’m getting really frustrated with airports that do not have readily accessible power points and free wifi. I just don’t understand it anymore. A few years ago, yeah – sure. But we’re in 2013 now, travelers simply expect to be able to recharge in an airport and connect with their work, friends or family by wifi. It’s funny because most airports in Asia got this concept very easily, but a lot of European airports just aren’t getting it. They need to understand their customer base – this isn’t complicated.
Got through security quite easily, though they decided to do a bomb residue test on my laptop, iPad and iPhone. I’m getting kind of used to it – traveling with this much technology always seems to raise some eyebrows at security. And now… I’m on the plane. With a crying baby about 3 rows back… who I feel sorry for – probably ears popped or something like that, but they are driving me slightly crazy. Slightly.
And I think that’s all I’ve got for you today. Budapest in 45 mins now, I have a hotel there for the first time in a while so I’m looking forward to my own room and bathroom – yay! I’ve also heard a lot of good things about Budapest, it’s supposed to be very nice to visit, and is actually one of the top places in Europe to live! So I’ll let you know how that goes.
Wherever you are, whatever altitude you’re at, hope you’re having a fun day!