Berlin wasn’t pleasant.
I’m sorry about that, but it really wasn’t.
I love Stephan and I loved seeing him, I loved the fact that cherries in Germany are so big that I couldn’t fit more than one in my mouth at any given time, I also loved the Berlin Dom, which is basically HUGE… and after the pathetic Aarhus “cathedral” was just lovely to see…
…but, no, Berlin wasn’t pleasant.
No one speaks English! I wandered around Alexanderplatz, dragging my suitcase behind me and trying to find my way to Stephan’s place, and by the time I had found someone in the crowd who could speak English (to a certain extent) and could help me at all, I think I was 30 minutes at least.
No one knows where anything is! I asked two official-looking ladies at the Noeldnerplatz station whether I could get a cab from anywhere near the station, and was informed that the only way to get a cab was to get back on the S-bahn, go on for another station further, and then try there.
According to Stephan, though, it’s just a matter of walking one street away and getting a cab at the main road.
Oh, and of course they replied in German.
Thank GOD I know some German. Heaven knows what I would have done if I didn’t know any German.
Add that to my phone refusing to send any message, and lying to me about my balance being gone, and by the time I got to Stephan’s I was so exhausted that, I’m embarrassed to say, I just slept in my clothes. Said good night to Stephan, went to the bathroom, took my shoes and socks off, and just passed out on the bed.
The next day, I decided to visit some landmarks before I had to catch my flight home. That didn’t turn out so well either:
The Brandenburg Gate is smaller than I expected it to be. Much less impressive, too… especially when it’s closed off by Hyundai for a music festival on the other side of it.
I decided to visit a local synagogue, which I was told was the rival of the Budapest synagogue for sheer beauty… except that I forgot it was Shabbat when I got there (no tourists during Shabbat), and I ended up getting some rather odd looks from the security guards.
The Reichstag was nice, and so was the Berlin Dom, like I said… and I think the height of my day was when I decided to take the U-bahn back from the Reichstag and found that the rather large Bundestag U-Bahn station is completely and utterly empty… whereupon, I proceeded to stand in the middle of it and sing at the top of my lungs.
I got through two Gilbert and Sullivan songs, a few bars of “La donna e mobile”, and a verse and one chorus of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” before the train came and took me back to the Brandenburg Gate station, where I continued my tour.
It was fun… but I wouldn’t go to Berlin just for that.
All in all, if my flight was just… 3 hours later… I think I would have walked off with a better impression of the place.
There was a Haagen-Daz cafe at Heckescher Markt, near the synagogue, and if I could have waited just a bit longer and had a waffle, I think my day would have been salvaged in every possible way.
But it wasn’t to be. 😦
Berlin, from what I could see, can’t be bothered to get out of bed early. I respect that. I admire that. But, it really does make for a less than pleasant time when you’re pressed for time and trying to make the most of your day.
Also… there’s something a bit creepy about getting on the S-bahn when it’s bound for Wannsee.
I don’t know. I know I didn’t really give her enough time to impress me. I know that the impression I got was probably rather warped.
But that’s what it was, and I’m not inclined to break my family’s policy of not going to Germany again, just to give her a second chance at a first impression.
Might do that to visit Stephan again, one day, if I start producing money out of my rear orifice, but otherwise… nie wieder Berlin.