This was supposed to be a short and quiet day of preparation for my trip to Berlin (yay!), but instead turned into a rather long one. I got up a bit late in the morning and headed over to work, where I printed out my plane tickets and hotel reservation, submitted my timecards, and had a meeting with some of the teaching staff. From there, I dashed off to a colleague’s house to help him set up his telephone and internet at his new apartment (I don’t normally do house calls, mind you), and then over to the Ecole des Chartes to teach English. From there, I headed home, stopping at the Monoprix near my place to grab a couple of things to eat and drink. By the time I had cooked dinner, cleaned up the apartment and packed my bags, it was already midnight.
This was a bit of a problem, as I had a super-early flight out of Orly at 6h30. This meant I had to be at the airport at 4h30. This meant I had to be leaving my apartment at 3h30. This meant that, at midnight, there was no point in going to sleep. So I drank some caffeinated soda, did some reading, and watched some CNN.
At around 3h00, I lugged my stuff down the 6 flights of stairs in my building and started walking along the nearest main street, looking for a taxi. 3h00 is sort of the “dead period” for taxis, as most of the evening shifts have finished and the morning shifts have yet to start. Nonetheless, I did manage to catch someone in a few minutes and then we were off to the airport. The cab driver was talkative, which I appreciated, as it kept me from dozing off.
The whole flight was tiring but uneventful. I waited for a while to check in, then waited longer at the gate, then got onto the plane, slept during most of the flight, stumbled off of the plane in a daze, found my luggage, and headed for the train station. I knew that Berlin was going to be colder than Paris, but I had totally underestimated just how cold it was going to be. I wish I had brought a heavier coat.
At nearly 9h00, I was pretty hungry and there was a very typical German food stand in the train station, so I stopped for a moment to have a currywurst. This one was surprisingly good, with a rather generous dose of spicy curry powder. From there, I bought my train ticket and got on the S-Bahn, heading toward Ostbahnhof to find my hotel.
From Ostbahnhof, I crossed the river Spree and headed along Köpenicker Straße to my hotel, which is actually a combination of hotel and hostel, A&O Hostels. I’m a bit too old to be sharing a hostel room with 6 other students, but the single hotel room was actually pretty cheap. I presumed that my room wouldn’t be ready and I would have to wander around the city, sleepless, until at least midday. Thankfully, the room was ready, so I headed up to my room, unpacked, sent of text messages to my friends in Berlin, and then fell asleep.