Berlin: Tag Eins

Guten Tag! Wie geht’s? I hope you’re all doing well. As you can see from the title, I’m in Berlin! It’s was a long journey to get here, but here I am.

So the day started at about 9 o’clock, when the coach pulled up into it’s parking space at Berlin ZOB, although it was supposed to arrive at 7.45. This might have been due to the fact there was a hold up near Leipzig, where the coach had to do a U-turn, hitting a road sign and narrowly avoiding a queue of vehicles waiting to go. So anyway, we arrived at Berlin ZOB and straight away, I go and get food. I hadn’t had a proper meal since midday yesterday, at a weird cat cafe in Paris called Le Moustache (would highly recommend by the way), and all I had eaten was a bag of crisps and a few biscuits. So after a quick McDonald’s, I set off to find the nearest S-Bahn station.

In Berlin, there are two public rail systems: the U-Bahn and the S-Bahn. The U-Bahn is a subway system, but S-Bahn stations are above-ground. Surrounding Berlin’s city centre is the Ringbahn, a circular route which the S42 and S41 trains run on. To go clockwise around the Ringbahn (e.g. from Neukölln to Hohenzollerndamm), you take the S41 train, and if you’re going anti-clockwise (e.g. from Hohenzollerndamm to Hermannstraß), it’s the S42 train. On a few stations around the Ringbahn, you can connect to the U-Bahn> It’s kind of like the RER service in Paris and the London Overground service in London.

So once I had worked out where the S-Bahn station was, and which direction to take, I boarded a train. I already knew my stop was Sonnenallee, so I wasn’t worried about missing my stop. Fun fact: during the time of the Berlin Wall, the West section of the Ringbahn went from Gesundbrunnen to Sonnenallee, while the East section went from Schönhauser Allee to Treptower Park. Once I arrived at the street I’m staying on, I realised I hadn’t written down which building number I was in. I was going on Airbnb’s location, which turned out to be quite wrong in the end. For some reason, my mobile data wasn’t working properly, so I had to find somewhere with free WiFi. Despite it being 2018, it’s still strangely a challenge. Nowhere seemed to have WiFi at all, even an Internet cafe that literally said on the window ‘Internetanschluss’ (Internet connection). Eventually, after getting a connection and pulling up my Airbnb messages, I found my building.

Which is very nice might I say. I seem to have good luck when it comes to Airbnb places, although my host had forgotten that I was coming, and the previous person was still here. But I didn’t let that phase me, I was here on my own, I’d managed to cross three countries by myself (well, on a coach) and I was in an incredible city.

I haven’t seen any of the landmarks yet, that’s for tomorrow. I might as well take it easy and not rush into things. After a quick nap, I set out to get some lunch. Since I wanted to have a stroll around the city centre, I took the train to Alexanderplatz and went on the hunt for a supermarket. I don’t want to resort to McDonald’s all the time, and I was curious to see what was in German supermarket. Does anyone else do this, or is it just me? Every time I go anywhere abroad I love to see what the supermarkets are like so I can see how the locals eat. That’s probably also why I prefer public transport over taxis. It’s how people do it here.

So I sat for a while in Alexanderplatz, people watching. I spotted a Primark and just had to look around. Don’t judge me, I haven’t seen a Primark in months. I managed to hold myself back, and only bought a proper pair of gloves, and a hat since mine has disappeared on the journey here. Then I took the train back home to chill out for a bit before the evening. I spent some time researching good places to eat out, and came across a Korean fried chicken place called Angry Chicken. I’d highly recommend it here for foodies and people who love to experience new cultures. In this case it was K-Pop. I’d heard all about it, how it’s hit the west by storm. And to be honest I didn’t dislike it. My ‘sexy chicken’ with sticky fried rice was also a tasty experience. As was the drink I had with it – a Fritz-Limo. It kind of reminded me of an Orangina.

And now I’m back at the Airbnb, telling you all about my day. On that note, I’m going to leave this post here so I can plan for tomorrow. Bis später!