Let’s do the Time Warp

Overseas flights suck!

My flight leaving Tampa was fine.  In fact it even left early and arrived early.  My flight leaving Miami to Berlin was another story though.  Ticketing was just a mess.  I originally booked everything through US Air but because of their merger (or whatever it is with American Airlines) I was actually flying American to Miami and then AirBerlin to Berlin.  I had no information about my AirBerlin flight though.  The boarding pass they gave me in Tampa only had the US Air information on it and there was no gate for the AirBerlin flight (or flight number).  I couldn’t find anyone at American that knew what was going on so lucky I stumbled upon AirBerlin ticketing.  The guy there got me a new boarding pass with all the information and I was on my way.  After walking for what seemed like miles in the airport I made it to the gate.

The flight was uneventful except for the kid next to me that kept wiggling and bumping into me.  Didn’t really get much sleep which lead to a very tired morning (in Berlin).

Up until I arrived in Berlin everything was pretty simple and straight forward.  I could always find someone to help and I knew what was going on.  Once I landed it was a different story though.  Took me at least an hour to figure out how to get bus/train tickets since I really didn’t have a destination.  Once I got those then I waited for the bus.  Which was easy except there were 3.  I looked at my map for a bit and thought I recognized a few names so I hoped on a bus.  Once we got through a few stops I found us on the map and I was good to go.

Going on my mother’s advice I decided to swing by the train station to see if they had lockers to stow luggage.  My checkin time was at 3PM and I didn’t want to carry all my stuff around for 7 hours.  Luckily they did, I stashed my stuff, and off I went.

Since I was pretty tired and didn’t have any set plans for the day I wandered all around the city.  Found a few places (and marked them on the map) and took a few mental notes on what to check out.  Grabbed a sandwich at one point and walked around some more.  Eventually 2PM rolled around and I decided I should head to my checkin.  I grabbed my luggage and headed to a ticket kiosk.  I easily found destination, bought my ticket, and headed to the platform.  When I got to the platform I was lost.  I was pretty sure I was in the right place but I didn’t understand what the signs were telling me.  I then heard an announcement that my train was on different tracks (just behind me) so I waited for it there.

A quick pause for some background.  The public transportation system in Berlin (at least the pieces I’ve used so far) uses passes (one day, two way, all day, etc) when you want to ride.  No big deal.  Once you’re on a train or a bus you put your ticket in a reader and it validates it for you starting the clock on the time it’s valid.  I still haven’t figured out when I’m supposed to validate and when it’s already done but that’s for another day.

My train promptly arrives and a group of people get on.  There was an older couple, a family of sorts, and two police officers follow me on.  I have no idea how to validate my ticket at this point but I notice nobody else really does anything special so I go with the flow and have a seat.  About two stops in I realize I’m not on the train I thought I was going to be on.  I calmly (so I don’t look completely confused to everyone) take the train map out of my bag and start reading over it.  I find the train I’m actually on which will take me to a different train change but I still get to my destination pretty easy.

After all the hassles of the day I finally get checked in and take a well needed shower then head out for some dinner.  My host so far is great and I’m really looking forward to getting a good sleep tonight.  Tomorrow is still an open book but I’m thinking about heading back to the city and checking out some Berlin Wall stuff.

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