Berlin, 20 Oct 2019
Our flight has just departed to Cologne, a small and ancient city in the west of Germany.
What am I feeling right now? I’m angry because of the fine of €120. F**k Berlin station network, you got a huge usability issue and you are too old and weak to fix it. How do we, as the first time tourist to the city, know the destination is the inner or outer city to buy the right ticket? We tried to find a map to know the place we will go whether inner or outer but we couldn’t find any.
I know your system runs based on honesty. But did you test our product? Did you listen to tourist’s feedback? Or just maybe you want it that way to get money from us.
Anyway, it’s the only bad reason fro Berlin. Now I’m going to tell you about Berlin.
We arrived at 7 am and Berlin welcomes us with cold rain. We were so nervous about the immigration system because it’s the first time we come to Europe. Luckily, it was very easy and fast. Thanks for Berlin’s Customs. But we arrived too early, couldn’t check-in at that time. We could only do it after 3 pm. Eight hours more. What could we do with two luggage and two backpacks on our shoulders?
First, we had to get used to the transport system here. Before the trip, a colleague gave me some advice on how to use the metro/bus system here. He said that after I bought the ticket, I had to do one more thing to use the metro. Otherwise, I would be fined. And another thing was that if you were in the ticket machine, someone would ask me if I need help, he would ask for money from me.
“What? Why? We bought the tickets already. Why do I need to do another thing? Really?” - That’s what inside my head when hearing about it. So complicated and scary.
When arriving here, I got what he meant. We tinkered away at a ticket machine without acknowledging what should we do. And then I man came and asked if we need help. He looked like a passenger so we trusted him and asked for help. He suggested buying a day ticket so we can go anywhere during the day with the only €7. And it was good.
With the day ticket on hand, we picked our first place to go: Schloss Charlottenburg. We didn’t think that we would go here since it was just an optional choice for us. But we went there for no reason. It rained harder after arriving there. We bought two tickets to visit the whole palace.
In general, I don’t like museums or palaces. I prefer nature. But when coming inside, I was surprised by the interior and items. They were items I could only see in the movie. Now I was watching them with my real eyes. The most interesting part was when we turn our heads up, we were stupefied by wonderful paintings on the roof, rich in detail, large object (one painting with different characters, context, stories).
When we came to the new wing, we came to paradise. All the walls were painted with mint color trees and supported by yellow lines. I always have a big love for color. That was a great one and I admired that artist who made it. They said that it was the place the king lived in the summer, but for some reason, he used this place for his sibling’s weddings. Generous king.
Yah, Berlin surprised us with its original beauty royal palace. In the afternoon, we came to the center of the city to check-in our Airbnb house. The host welcomed us with a nice apartment and a warm and close introduction about his house, his family. German people are so friendly and polite.
I remembered the advertising message from Airbnb in the past: “Don’t stay, live there”. Through some experiences in Vietnam and Korea, I don’t think it’s an honest message. But when we stayed here in Berlin, we felt home.
We had a nice room with a warm bed, a private toilet, a kitchen was always available for us. The host welcomed us enthusiasm and when it rained, his wife gave us an umbrella even though we didn’t ask her.
Another day, we came to Cologne, the uncle host picked up us with his Audi A6. He said that his place wasn’t convenient, it was a bit far from the station. So he came to pick up us at the station with a warm and generous voice. And of course, a beautiful room. We had our kitchen inside the room. When we stayed there, we had to go around 10km to go to the city, but we didn’t mind, we were staying in a peaceful area.
Cologne is a small city in the west of Germany. We spent two days there but actually, one day is enough. Cologne Cathedral is the most beautiful place here, and it’s one of two reasons we decided to visit Cologne (the other reason is it’s close to Belgium).
After coming to the house, we knew that there was another city near us, Bonn, where Beethoven’s birthplace. We were very surprised knowing this small but interesting thing on the journey.
Now we are on the train to Brussels, Belgium. According to the Weather.com said that the whole day today would be gloomy. Hopefully, they are wrong. Or just simply no rain.