Detour | Berlin Day 3

Train map Berlin

Train map Berlin

Day 3 in Berlin, and it was my final day of my little getaway.  I had to check out by 10am, so after gathering my stuff together, locking it in the storage room and saying a prayer that no one walked off with my bag, I head off in the direction of an almond milk latte, which I wrote about in my Berlin Day 2 post.

I ordered my coffee and settled in at a bench overlooking the street.  I admit I’m a little, okaaaay maybe more than a little, superstitious and so I decided the day was full of good things to come when two ladybirds ran across my Berlin map.  Clutching at straws?  Maybe.  I’ll take what I can get, when it comes to good luck!

Almond Milk Latte

I consulted my map whilst sipping on my latte, attempting (and failing) to commit to memory all the station names and changes I’d need to make to get to my lunch destination.  How do you even begin to figure out how to pronounce those German station names?  I’d nicknamed my closest station to my accommodation Orange-Burger, because I’ve zero idea how to sound out ‘Oranienburger’.

Hackescher Markt Berlin

Caffeined up and leaving myself enough time to get lost at least twice on the way to lunch, I set off in the direction of the nearest train station.

 

Hackescher Markt Berlin

Hackescher Markt Berlin

I waited on the platform at Hackescher Markt for my train, and couldn’t believe how beautiful the architecture of the building was.  My train arrived, and I made it all the way south to my destination with 10 minutes to spare.

Leaning up against a building, I was about to meet a friend of mine, Clara, that I’ve literally spent just under 48 hours in Amsterdam Airport and an afternoon in Osaka, Japan with.

How did we meet?  Travelling.

In 2009 en route to Japan for Christmas, my flight had a short stopover in Amsterdam.  Myself and a group of other travellers were bumped off the Amsterdam-Osaka leg due to the fact there were too many bums, and not enough aeroplane seats.   It’s funny how you can pick people out from a group and just have a sense that you’ll get along with them.  This is exactly what happened with Clara and our Japan living Scottish friend Linda.  We sort of gravitated towards each other, requested to be put up in the same hotel for the night and merrily skipped off, as we were all 600 euro’s richer for being chucked off our flight.

We had a great night, and up bright and early we all made our way together back to the airport, for our promised flight.  But the snow had starting falling.  Big time.  None the wiser, we wandered around the airport that day, expecting to take off en route to Osaka in the evening.  Except, when we arrived at our departure gate later in the day, there was no one to check us in.  Because our flight was not taking off.  There was too much snow.  What a nightmare.  I wanted to get to Kyoto to see my niece, Linda wanted to get to Kobe to see her kids and Clara was eager to get there to stay with her friend.  We ended up queueing for customer services for FIVE HOURS.  There were about 20 people in front of us before we would have reached the service desk.  It was 11pm at night, and we were suddenly told the service desk was closing and would reopen in the morning.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  So you know what happened next?  No of course you don’t, cause you just wouldn’t imagine this to happen.  NO ONE was leaving that queue, no way!, so we were handed aeroplane pillows and blankets to sleep on the floor for the evening.  I’m not even kidding.  Have you tried sleeping on a cold, hard, airport floor for the night?  Probably not.  That’s because it’s impossible.  We dozed, we took turns going for walks, we laughed at the absurdity of it all, and we were entertained in the early hours as some cheeky travellers thought they could sneak to front of the line, only to be shouted at by pretty much everyone else that had been queueing for what felt like a week.

Finally morning showed up, and so did the employees working on the service desk.  We made it to the front of the queue, and we were nervous.  I mean what if they simply didn’t have enough space for us on a plane, now that the airport was FULL of passengers in the same desperate situation.  As luck would have it, we all got handed boarding passes for the same flight, and finally later that day we were in the air and on our way to Osaka.

Touching down in Japan, we had a farewell drink at Starbucks and all became Facebook friends (awwwwww!).  A few days later Clara and I met for a fun afternoon and dinner in Osaka, and Clara even went to stay with Linda during her vacation.

Despite the headache of missing the flight, and sleeping on airport floors, I gained two amazing new friends and after all this time, I was finally meeting up with Clara again.

I spotted her immediately as she arrived near the station and it was so great to see her smiling face.

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I could now put my map away and let Clara play tour guide.  There is nothing better than a local showing you how life works in their city. We walked for a bit and arrived at No 58 Speiserei Cafe for brunch.

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They had almond milk latte’s too! Hooray!  There was so much to talk about and catch up on.  Clara had been living in New Zealand, so it was amazing to hear her stories of the country I grew up in.

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We placed our order with our waiter (who turned out to be from New Zealand! We’re everywhere!), and continued our gossip session.

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The food arrived and it was almost too pretty to eat.  I was also super excited about the gluten free bread on the side.  All gluten dodgers will know how much of a triumph this is!

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Tucking into eggs baked in avocado, the food was truly delicious.

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Following brunch, we walked a little further and arrived at Tempelhofer Feld.  This huge area used to be home to Berlin’s first airport, and the history behind it is unreal (check out this article).  Since 2008 the now unused airport is a huge space used by Berlin’s residents for anything from urban gardening to kite surfing.

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I just had to have a photo on the runway, I mean when else am I going to have that opportunity!?

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We walked around, and the rain clouds turned up, causing us to sprint for shelter at the urban garden.  Finally they disappeared and we stood on the runway watching the kite surfers and skateboarders.  Clara brings her longboard down to the runway to practice in the weekend, and I am so envious of this, as I’m desperate to get a longboard but where on earth am I going to practice in London?!  Heathrow wouldn’t be too happy if they found me weaving in and out of their aeroplanes.

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Checking out more of the neighbourhood, we passed a little ice cream store that Clara had heard good things about.  So of course we had to try some!

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Ice creams devoured, we continued on our journey around the city, dodging the rain clouds here and there and allowing me one last look at all the amazing street art this city has on show.

Photo stickers

As we were about to say goodbye, I suddenly remembered something.  Since 2009, I’ve had some photo stickers that Clara and I took in Osaka, hidden inside my wallet.  I excitedly pulled them out to show her, and seconds later, Clara whips the matching photos out of her wallet!  I could not believe it.  After all these years.  These are the moments that make travelling so worth it.  The people you meant along the journey.

Tucking my photo stickers safely back inside my wallet, we said our farewells and I was off again, to collect my bags and head to the airport.

Three days doesn’t seem like a long time.  But you can see so much and learn so much in three days.  If that’s all you have time for to make a journey to somewhere new.  Take it.  It’s enough time to create great memories.

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