It’s 3am and I am lieing in bed waiting for the alarm to go off. Eventually I decide the alarm is pointless and get up, quick shower and dressed. I am all ready to go by 3:30 and the taxi isn’t coming until 4. I pace the floor, looking out of the window waiting for it to arrive. After what seems like ages, it arrives bang on time with Michelle about, and we collect Rob and then head up to the airport. When we arrive, Dawn is already waiting in Starbucks.
We compare bags, and whilst I had been worried abotu how much stuff I’d packed, it appears I have nothing to worry about, my bag is substantially smaller than everyone elses.
We are to check in at some electronic terminals, but after Dawn has entered all teh details nothing happens, so we head over to the desk and check in the old-fashioned way. We collect our boarding passes and go upstairs and through security. Its all fairly painless, noone is frisked or has their bags searched. Once in the terminal we discover it’s so early the coffee shop isn’t even open yet, so we go into the bar for a round of coffees. Amazingly there are people drinking pints at 5am…. A quick peruse of the shops and it’s time to find the gate and then board, not too much waiting around which is nice.
The flight to Amsterdam is pretty mundane,we have a drink and some odd sandwiches which nobody eats, it is a little bumpy coming into Amsterdam, and whilst I am normally a pretty nonchalant traveller I am a little nervous at one point. We arrive in Amsterdam and trek to the center of the airport in search of pancakes or Pofitjires, unfortunately there are none to be found so we end up with cake and coffee. There are worse things to have for breakfast. Around half past nine we decided to find the gate, not realising that it’s quite far to that next gate. We have to go through security again, discarding all the water we had bought airside in Newcastle, and then walk to the furthest point in the terminal, but we get there just in time to board and are seated in the very very back row of the plane. Fairly quickly we are coming into Berlin, and we arrive at Tegal Airport on time or possibly even early. We collect our bags and are out of the airport very quickly, it’s the most unusual airport I’ve ever been in, there are no long corridors to walk, just straight off the plane and out the front door. Nice and handy.
We pick up a taxi, and head for the hotel. It’s quite a nice drive, and we spot lots of landmarks on the way. I desperately try and remember what things are and offer a running commentary. Not sure if that’s a good thing or not!
On arrival at the hotel, Rob & Bev get rooms, but Dawn and Michelle have to wait for there’s. We all go up to check out the rooms we have and are very impressed, they are lovely, really big spacious apartments with seperate bedrooms and kitchen areas. We have done well here!
We decide to go out and look for some food. My Sister in law recommended a street called OranianStrasse and it’s just round the corner, os off we go, we find Oranian Strasse but it’s not very exciting, lots of flats and really nothing very special. We do find a nice restaurant and have some lunch, but I am wondering if we are at the wrong end of the street, or I have got the wrong end of the stick. After lunch we walk back to the hotel through some very Eastern European housing blocks. It’s not very pretty but it’s quite interesting, although I am a little disappointed that we didn’t see the excitement promised on OranianStrasse.
Michelle and Dawn check in and we all collapse for a while, have a nap, swim etc, and try and recover from the early start. I update my blog and upload some photos.
We meet up around 8pm and sit in Michelle’s apartment for a few hours, putting the worlds to rights and discussing what we have seen off Berlin. Later on we get hungry, so we decide to head to FriedrichStrasse for some food. We find FriedrichStrasse easily enough but everything is closed, so we wander a little wondering where the restaurants are, and why Berlin seems so quiet. I spot Pottsdammer Platz and we head over there. It is a good call, there is some life in the area, food is available and Potsdammer Platz looks really impressive at night with mult coloured lights on the roof. We are happy. Our waitress is less happy, but never mind, eventually we get served and enjoy a healthy tea of chips and mayonaise. Later, much, much later, we get into a taxi and go back to the hotel, only we don’t have the address for the hotel, and we aren’t exactly sure where it is. We are heading in the right general direction when the taxi driver cuts up another car, and then the driver off that car gets out and shouts abuse at the taxi driver. I am really wanting to get back to the hotel at this point!!
Fortunatly, we spot the correct street and find the hotel, we head up to bed and get an early night (or not…..)