Saturday, August 22, 2015

The night we arrive...

Today was such a busy day for all three of us.  In the end we all were together around 830 pm local time. I'll start at the beginning.

Ashley and Jared were the first to leave the country.  Arielle and I were texting them trying to keep up on when they left in the morning. When Ashley mom and dad picked up Jared, he came out of his place sweating and looking a little wild eyed, needing to dash somewhere to grab something he forgot before they could go.  He hadn't gone to sleep the night before.  

Those two were in the air by 230pm and arrived in Amsterdam around 9am-ish.  Ashley soon got a text from our cell carrier telling her the international service works, while Jared learned his phone couldn't get any service.  Jared had a connecting flight a little over an hour later, while Ashley had 8 hours till her flight.  They parted ways as they each made their way to where they needed to go.  Jared off to the next flight, Ashley to explore.

Ashley got money, a locker and locked her backpack up.  She then was headed to the city of Amsterdam outside of the airport grounds.  She made it through to the city after some frustration with the trains, made some English friends, got a little high and wandered a bit before going back to the airport.  She said the city was beautiful.

I left for Munich at around 850pm Friday night and arrived in Munich around 5pm Saturday evening. That flight was pretty smooth and comfortable.  Lufthansa has this thing down I tell ya.  Everything was so well organized, such a big plane and so many attendants, but they all worked together so well.  I notice the Lufthansa seats are narrower from the back to the upholstered side we sit on, very thin which translates to more leg room.  The tray folds in thirds, another great organization.

After arriving and getting out of the plane, I had to dash across the airport to make my 545 flight,only  to find I had to go through customs to get to my connecting flight's gate.  The line was so long!  This guy rushes to me from the back of the line saying something to me in German and I stare at him like he's an alien.  He looks to the lady in front of me, says the same thing and again I'm totally lost.  The lady in front of me stares at him for a split second and then says 'I have a 545 flight too, I think many of us do'.  He shakes his head and dashes to the empty crew line next to us and goes to the customs agent.  We watch him talk to the agent and get through, so the lady in front of me and I go in that line too.  I get to the agent and he's just calm, two questions and my passports stamped and I'm off.  I walk away from the agent and a second is standing at the top of the escalator we need to go down to go to the gate.  He asks for my passport and I give it to him and he tries three languages with me until I understand what the heck he was saying.  I have to answer him on how long I'm staying before he allows me to go and gives me my passport.  I run clear across the airport to my gate and it's empty except one guy.  I give him my ticket, he scans it and I go through the doors to see another set of automatic glass doors.  I get through those and proceed through a short maze then finally to the plane.  I rush on the plane find my seat and the flight attendant says are you from the San Francisco flight?  I say yes and seconds later about 8 people board the plane from my first flight.  Whew, made it!

When I get off the plane in Berlin, there is a baggage claim right in front of us. Such a great idea.

My brother Jared was in Berlin around 1pm and had a lot of time to kill in town, so he did a bit of wandering before he got to the apartment.  He had discovered in Amsterdam that his phone had no service internationally, so he was in the dark as to communication.  He had a hard time finding the 'kiosk' that our host had left the key for us, and he had no way of telling us.  When I landed in Berlin, I had a text from Ashley and we met soon after.  We high fived and shared a bit about our adventure so far before we made our way to the apartment.  After getting directions from the helpful information desk, we set out to the place.  We made it right around 8ish to the apartment.  Along the way I had gotten an email from Jared so we were connected... Via email.  We got to the apartment and Jared walked to us a few minutes later. 

We put our stuff down in the apartment and headed back out for some food, as we were all starving.  We ate at this German restaurant and each had something decidedly German to eat, all was wonderfully good.  Jared and Ashley were enjoying German bier while I stayed non alcoholic.  Our waitress, Ana was funny and lively, drawing us a map of Germany, explaining why Berlin is a great city and bringing the house specialty shots to Jared and Ashley (plus one for her) to drink.  It was a fun dinner.

When we arrived back at the apartment we of course explored the place and talked till 2 or 3am before heading to bed.  Great first night :)

Quick observations:
  • Holy moly they speak German fast!  I don't know if I can keep up!
  • Time is in the 24 hour time-clock here
  • TXL airport does NOT have a train station near it
  • It seems that there are a lot of people who are night owls around our apartment

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