After Copenhagen, I went next solo to Berlin. However, I had picked up a little bit of a cold on my last day in Sevilla and fought through it in Denmark. However, it hit me full force in Berlin. It also rained pretty constantly from the time I landed.
I tried to make the best of it, and wandered around town trying to see some of the major sights. However, it was pretty gloomy.
Berlin in the rain seemed to me a pretty gloomy city. It’s also very modern, with a very different feel from the Western European cities I’ve visited in Spain, Italy and France. While obvious that there is a geographical difference, I think I prefer when a city doesn’t look quite so modern. I’ve definitely gotten used to the Old World feel.
The next day I went to a few museums using the Museum Pass, which is a great deal for students. Unfortunately a lot of the museums don’t allow photos, though. However, the Museum Island, a whole district of museums, is 100% worth visiting. I tried to go back the next day but a 2 hour line and my cold got the best of me.
One thing I really enjoyed about the city were these orange boxes all around the city. They seemed to present information about the city and important philosophical movements in relation to it. This one outside the cathedral is about Lutheranism and its perception of paradise. A nice little informational background to what you’re seeing!
Unfortunately, my most eventful day was trying to leave Berlin. After being rained on, wind-blown and suffering from a cold as well as freezing cold despite my coat, I was ready to leave. I got to the airport before my flight and couldn’t find security! It turns out every gate has its own security line that opens 45 minutes before the flight departs. Definitely not an airport I recommend arriving 2 hours before to, as there aren’t really a lot of seats to wait in. Finally my gate opened and I cleared security. While charging my phone, a man made an announcement in German and left. Everyone started getting up. Confused, I asked a man what was happening and he told me the flight was cancelled. I followed everyone to the ticket desk and the airline offered me the next flight out, which landed two hours after my original flight. Unfortunately, this meant I would miss my connecting Ryanair flight. I took the replacement ticket though as I had no other option. I next went to the customer service desk and waited for quite a long time. I was informed that no other flights were going to my connecting destination (Oporto). Frustrated after being sick and getting up at 4am, I googled flights that would get me to Oporto, where my friends were and where my flight back to Madrid left from. Multiple sites wouldn’t let me book as the flights left in less than six hours!
Finally I found a SwissAir flight that left Berlin and landed in Oporto with a 55 minute layover in Zurich. The only seat left was Business Class! I decided it was better than nothing and booked it. I usually won’t book a layover for less than 2 hours but this was a desperate situation. Thankfully I had a credit card I could charge the emergency flight to. I then waited for my flight to take off, six hours later than my original flight was supposed to.
Business class was fancy though! I got to board first, and was given a towel, chocolates and free drinks for the duration of the (short!) flight. When we landed in Zurich, a private bus took the Business Class passengers to the gate, as it was one of the ones where you walk off onto the tarmac yourselves. I sped to my next gate, happy to finally be out of Germany and one step closer to Portugal. I finally boarded my next flight and they gave us a full-size chocolate bunny! The fancier ticket definitely has its perks, though I’m not sure when I’ll be able to fly it again. Finally, I was headed to Oporto, where my next post will be about!
Also, thankfully to EU regulations, European airlines are required to compensate passengers for delayed or cancelled flights that weren’t due to out-of-control events. I filed my claim and am in the process of getting some money back!