What a fun weekend! After finishing my last exam on Thursday and going to bed late that night, I had to wake up early the next morning and make my way to the airport in the middle of a hail storm.
Two flights later, I arrived in Berlin, a city that I hadn’t seen in five years, and was eventually found in the airport by my friend who was hosting me for the weekend.
It’s funny how everytime I step foot in Germany, it feels like I’ve arrived home even though technically speaking it was my actual home for only six months at one point. But after attending a German school for 14 years and visiting this country way too many times, there’s just something about going back and fitting in with the people, the language and the culture. And an add on is knowing so many people who live there: over the course of the last three days I’ve met up with five friends who now live in Berlin and who I’ve known for almost my entire life. And there are two more who live in the city but who I didn’t get the chance to meet this time round.
Random stories collected over the weekend:
1) Crazy encounters: Part III.
One of my friends and I were standing in the middle of Alexanderplatz trying to get our cell phones to work; it was too crowded and something was off with our network. So we decided to walk to a parallel ‘quieter’ street and see if the service was any better. We were planning to meet one of my other friends who I hadn’t seen for almost seven years later that evening and we hadn’t decided on a meeting location yet, so I was trying to log on FB and get in touch with her. While staring at our phones and discussing the plan, my friend and I heard a voice in Arabic saying: “I thought I heard you!” and we turn around to see our other friend. She was also in the area and was on her way home to get online because her network was down too. What are the chances? I LOVE IT.
2) Paying for the WC
It’s one of the things that I just cannot comprehend about a lot of European countries; the fact that they charge customers for using public restrooms. And not just public restrooms like the ones on the street because that I understand, but more like restrooms in McDonald’s, in the food court of a mall, in the shops. And what bugs me even more is that the signs don’t say that you have to; it’s more like: “We would be happy if you show your thanks with 50 cents”, but then someone attempts to walk in and the lady pops up and yells at them that it costs money and that they HAVE TO pay. I mean even in Egypt the bathroom cleaning ladies aren’t that mean. They just sit there and stare at you and try to win you over by giving you compliments and wishing you a safe flight and life and health and marriage in the hope that you’d tip them 😀
3) Using 100 Euro bills
Prolly the bane of my travelling existence from before I can even remember. There’s this thing that I just don’t understand: governments issue 100 euro bills for a reason, and I assume that is so that they can be used. If banks, currency agencies and ATM machines hand them out, I do not understand why people at the counter do not accept them without giving the customers attitude. The guy infront of me at the café the other day had a bill total of around 10 euros and he wanted to pay with a 100 Euro bill. I get it, it’s a lot of change that you would need to give out, but no need to make the customer feel bad about it. But the woman behind the counter muttered uhm and ahh and when the customer (who was this older German guy) asked her what her problem was, she said well, the 100 Euro bill is and that technically she’s not allowed to accept it and that sometimes they don’t have change blabla. And what I absolutely loved about this incident is the guy’s response; he goes well if not here where am I supposed to use it? The ATM gives you what the ATM gives you. Seriously, respect dood. Couldn’t have said it better.
Anyways when my friend and I had to pay we literary gave her the exact amount. Can’t remember the total but it was x,73 euros and we paid it cent by cent in order to show her the other extreme. She wasn’t too happy about that one either.
4) The Berliner Mauer
Can you believe it has only been 25 years since the Mauerfall? I don’t know why but when I learned about it in school, I used to think it happened waaaay in the past, but now that I actually talk to more and more people about it, I realized that a ton of people I know actually remember it, and some even lived through it. Crazy.
Overall, it was a fantastic weekend. Below some highlights in pictures! Can’t believe it was my first time in some of these neighborhoods even if it was my third time in the city. Enjoy!