I am in Berlin!! Wow!! I can't decide whether time is going by fast or slow. It feels like I have been in Europe longer than 3 days but then again, I still feel somewhat jet lagged. After 2 days in Kiel, we made our way to Berlin and so far so good. We arrived a few hours ago and are staying at Youth Hostel International in Berlin. I have never stayed at a hostel before but I didn't expect anything more than a dormitory, which I am pretty familiar with. We have 2 female roommates from Moscow named Natalia and Anne. They have wi-fi, the bathrooms are clean and there is a bar downstairs which we will probably take advantage of soon. :) It's a cool place to be and its cheap so I have no complaints.
Ashleigh and I have been through some great experiences in the past few days. Most important, we have navigated our way around the trains and busses which is pretty big for me since I have this fear of public transportation. It's weird, I know, but I just feel like I am bound to get lost when on a bus or train. And so far we have become a little lost but it turns out to not be a big deal. We take a few moments to panic, pull ourselves together and fix the problem. Done. Except for today... we panicked and ran for our lives. We forgot to pull it together. Haha! I'll explain.
We were told Berlin was about a 4 hour journey from Kiel, so we ventured out of Kiel on a bus with all our luggage that took us to the Kiel Hauptbahnhof (train station). It took us awhile to figure out how to activate our Eurorail passes since no one there seemed like they cared to help. But we figured it out and got on the train headed for Hamburg. After an hour and a half, we arrived in Hamburg and then found our connecting train towards Berlin, noting that we had to get off at the second stop. About an hour into the train ride, we looked at the map and agreed we still had a ways to go. We were so relieved to be on the right train without any problems that we both had our iPods on, journals out, maps out and we were totally relaxing, completely forgetting that we were on the express train. So the train stops and we look out the window... Look at each other...look out the window again and both gasp. It's our stop. Doors open, people leaving and we still have all our shit sprawled across the table. In seconds, we were up scrambling to get everything together: coats, maps, iPods, books, pens, train passes and huge rolly bags of luggage. Running towards the door, Ashleigh's earphones get caught on the chair, my luggage is completely backwards and unrollable so I have to basically kick it as I go. I'm saying " go go go go go!!" to ash and she replies " I am! I am!". She gets out and my luggage is so in the way that I literally throw it out the door and tumble after it. Sitting on the train platform in Berlin , shaking, with our luggage a mess, we both start dying of laughter. This whole time we have been afraid of missing our train or bus when after all, we should be scared of being stuck on the train!! Gahhh!! It was great.
But we made it to Berlin. After the train, we took another bus to the hostel and walked the streets before dark ( since that happens at like 4pm here). I was so hungry, I broke the language wall I've had a problem with since we got here, and talked with my hands only to get the best thing I've eaten here so far!! I don't even know was it was called but it was some sort of gyros and I have pictures of it. Delicious! Ash wanted something vegan so we went to a Vietnamese place across the street where I had another meal ( sounds like something I would do) and we met the owner who sat down at our table with us to help us map out our adventures for tomorrow. He was adorable with his German/English/Vietnamese accent! And oh so helpful with tons of information. He was patient, expressive and totally willing to help. And the food was great. Before we left, I asked for his name and he said "Chan! Like Jackie Chan!! Except no Kung-fu". Love it!
So I'm here, in the hostel, taking it all in. We have had many accidental miracles that have turned this trip into a priceless adventure. My buddy Chan and the train scramble will be moments that I remember forever. I'm writing everything down and letting it sink in, the good and the crazy.
Now I have to sleep to prepare for the "Chan-Berlin Tour" tomorrow.