When in Berlin…

26 Feb

So I finally realized why having 3,996 UNREAD emails in your inbox is probably not the best idea…

Let’s start from the beginning.

After a long week of final exams, I was planning on going to Berlin for the weekend!

Visions of wiener schnitzel and beer danced in my head. I’d researched Berlin sights and attractions (AKA bars) and had confirmed with my hostel. 

I’d even practiced the two expressions I know how to say in German: “Two beers for the ladies, please,” and “I’d like an ice cream, please.” Both of which are crucial to my existence.

I. Was. Ready.

On Thursday afternoon, I decided I should probably check to make sure I’d received a confirmation email for my flight…that’s what responsible, adult travelers do, right?

Hmm, which one of the nearly 4,000 emails could be a confirmation email?

Not seeing it…not seeing it…

And then…

I saw it.

Only it wasn’t a “confirmation” email – it was an email from the sketchy travel agency with which I’d booked the ticket, and they were telling me my reservation had been CANCELLED because I hadn’t responded to an alleged EMAIL that they’d allegedly SENT ME, which was supposed to CONFIRM MY BOOKING.

When I called the travel agency at “1-800-help I’m screwed,” the lady told me it would be 800 euros to book a new ticket.


At this point, I emitted what can only be described as a deranged-peacock-mates-with-lion-mates-with-parrot and rides on a roller coaster kind of sound. 

Alex and Selby gave me a “No, Johnny, don’t eat the paste!” kind of look.

We were quite the scene on that street. 

When we got home, they helped me find a relatively cheap flight for the following day.

Which was a long process because I tend to get overwhelmed by flight booking and usually end up panicking and picking the worst price at an awful time.

To combat this, I forced Selby to read and re-read the details of my flight SIX TIMES to make sure I wasn’t making any mistakes…

I also had her find my flight times AND pick the flight I would take because, after my little “confirmation boo boo,” I barely trusted myself to wield a spoon, let alone make travel plans.

The next day was my day of departure.

Because of my booking error, I had to head to Berlin alone. I’ve traveled alone before. And I am – although I may not seem it 98% + 2% of the time – a competent human being.

And yet, I was pretty nervous about flying to Berlin on my own and getting to the hostel by myself at 11pm on a Friday night.

(Yes, that was the “convenient” time Selby and I had chosen. But you have to pick your battles in life…you get what you get and you don’t get upset.)

I think my friends were probably more nervous for me than I was for myself. They all came to my room as I was prepping to leave and helped me go through mental checklists.

“Do you have underwear?”

“Are you wearing underwear?”

“Do you have your wallet?”

“Are you wearing shoes?”

I think the caliber of their questions was really indicative of how they perceive my competence level…

As for my shoes, those broke right as I was putting them on to leave for the airport. Yup, one of the zippers just popped right off!

Luckily, Selby – whom we now refer to as “Sophie’s Keeper” – was able to reattach it in a way that would function if I “bent it to the left and turned my foot slightly to the right” every time I took my boot off.

I never would get a chance to attempt this brilliant maneuver because the minute I left the house, the zipper popped off and fell into a sewer… 

I laughed loudly to myself before wondering how I would be able to take off my boot…

But that was neither here nor there. I had a plane to catch!

The trip was seamless.

Well, not seamless…there were some seams. Like how I fell asleep when they came around with the drinks, or how I sat next to a grown man who got all miffed every time I peeked over at his Pokémon drawings. (Not a joke.)

But I made it over in one piece! 

When I finally got to the hostel, I headed for my room, which consisted of 50 beds in a dark, moist basement, lit by red ceiling lights. I would later refer to it as the “Red Light District.” I would also later borrow some random girl’s shower shoes and be woken up by a group of farting Turkish men on the other side of my bunk bed.

Again, you get what you get and you don’t get upset.

When I went up to the lobby, Matt and Dylan were waiting for me, which was very nice of them. Friends who wait for you when there is a bar calling at 11pm on a Friday night are worth keeping around. 

Friends who let you wander onto random trains at 5am, however, are probably NOT worth keeping around.

Who would do such a thing, you ask?

Well, it’s a long story.

Actually, it’s not that long, so I’ll tell it.

On the way home from the bar on Friday night, Matt and Dylan’s friend from Tufts (also named Dylan) were walking ahead, while Dylan and I were walking behind.

(Matt and Dylan are really fast walkers, and I was weighed down by the 1.5 kebab sandwiches I’d just taken to my mouth like a hydroelectric boat taking in water, so I was in no position to walk quickly.)

But that was okay, because at least Dylan was walking with me!

And that’s when I saw his red vest disappear into a random train and ride away. 

Ohhhh no.

I quickly caught up to Matt and other Dylan to tell them what had happened.

But I was kind of out of breath, so all I could muster was “LOST HIM ON TRAIN!”

What proceeded was typical of most exchanges that occur on this trip. I got all worried and paranoid and went on and on about how “he could be anywhere” and insisted that we have the hostel notify the police of our “missing and most likely sleeping friend,” while Matt shook his head, told me I have a “flair for the dramatic,” and reasoned that everything would work out.

Which it did. He was right. 

Dylan had managed to get on the only train that rides through the city all night long, and so – once he woke up from his slumber – he found his way back to the hostel.

What a great inaugural evening in Berlin!

The rest of the weekend was just as fun, but luckily, less worrisome – we ate sausage, went to museums, took a walking tour, and ate more kebab!

I also managed to make a bunch of “don’t get on the train, Dylan” jokes, which were a part of my post-trauma comedic relief regimen.

Okay, maybe I do have a flair for the dramatic…

But as they say, when in Berlin…

Hmm I’m actually not really sure what they say about Berlin. So I think I’ll make my own saying:

When in Berlin, only get on a train if there are at least 1.5 kebabs waiting for you at the end of the line.

There. I think that sums it up.



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