Leaving from LA

23 Apr

[ Now that our neighbor has shared his WiFi with us, we’re online to share our stories! I’ll catch up on older posts to start with. ]

So, we’ve started our travels!

As we were arriving at LAX my Mom txted and and said: “Are you going to be able to leave”? I shuddered for a moment and wondered what that was all about. The last time I was asked this question was before the ashpocalypse which turned into a true travel nightmare. This time it wasn’t my nightmare, but Boston’s nightmare — we shortly after that found out about the marathon bombings.

Luckily, our travel wasn’t impacted and we got checked in with only a small amount of fuss. Shortly after that we had cocktails in hand at the United Lounge and we started tending to our last minute business. Porting phones numbers to Google Voice, shutting off power, DSL. Putting out a minor employee fire. Paying for our container shipment and finally calling my Mom. That conversation was probably the hardest part of moving so far. It’s never a good conversation when your mom starts crying on the phone; it was certainly odd to be in the middle of the packed lounge crying while talking on the phone. Some things in life are not fun, but we have to forge onward with our plans.

The flight to London was uneventful, our arrival in Berlin less so. We were staying at Hotel Bärlin, a cheap hotel next to the airport, literally at the end of the run-way. This is easy to confuse with Hotel Berlin, which is ritzy and downtown — in the opposite direction. The short taxi jaunt turned into a longer drive before I called the driver on it. He insisted that I didn’t make it clear enough which hotel we needed to go to, so we ended up paying for twice what we should’ve paid.

Once we had schlepped our 6 suitcases upstairs to the hotel reception, they informed us we were at the wrong hotel. We’d been moved to sister hotel three blocks away, without being notified of the change. Three blocks was just enough to be major hassle with our luggage, but not long enough for a cab driver to take us. Our patience was running thin after having traveled so far, but in the end we made it to the hotel and dropped off our stuff in the room.

We turned heel and immediately went out to get Döner that our friend Erin recommended. As she promised, there was a huge line and we weren’t quite ready to stand in that, so we walked a few steps further and sat down at a cafe and pounded 2 half-liters of beer each. Now we were ready to stand in line for food! We immediately made friends with the people behind us — a cute Danish girl and her Spanish friends. The Spaniards had left Spain because there were no jobs for them. When we told them that we were moving to Barcelona, they were immediately jealous of us — they are quite fond of Barcelona and would love to live there, but it’s expensive and without a job it’s impossible.

I popped into the convenience store right across from the Döner stand and got us more beers. Yay for drinking in public — lots of people in line were drinking. By the time we finally got our Döner an hour had passed and we eagerly tucked into them. I had ordered mine “Super scharf” — super hot. The guy gave me a look of “Are you sure?” The same look I get in a lot of place and then get served medium hot food. Not here! After the second bite I was hiccuping it was so hot! And so good! It was truly painful to finish; but the pain was so good. As quickly as the pain arrived, the pain departed again. So lovely! After that we headed back to the hotel and got some much needed rest.

The next day we did some half hearted sightseeing; we fleetingly looked at the Brandenburger Tor and then romped about the Holocaust memorial before we decided it was beer time. Then we got some WiFi and more beer. While drinking beer we met a couple of Canadian fellows. And then there was some more beer and german dinner before we called it a day. Did we mention we had some beers? We did. :)

An uneventful, but slightly tipsy first day in Europe! Quite nice. :)

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