Monday madness – a travel-day

Our story begins with two stuffy-nosed, bleary-eyed, grumpy travellers… to say we ‘awoke’ this morning is generous. Daylight crept into the room, it did not gently stroke our brow, and whisper gently. No, it slithered in, it poked me in both eyes, smirked at my indigence, and laughed loudly as it slammed the door on the way out. The bed may be comfy at the Moxy, but their understanding of ‘Shhh, do not disturb’ leaves a little to be desired.

Once over the initial shock of being awake, I made my way downstairs to the reception area and the ‘free’ breakfast… by free I mean we had it included in our room charge as we paid by VISA, Amex or Mastercard do not apply. I’m glad it was free, because it certainly wasn’t worth the €12 ea it would have otherwise cost. Strange bircher muesli, ‘fresh’ juice from a machine, and a strange brown liquid they describe as coffee from an equally odd contraption… It all added to a rather interesting start to the day. I lingered over the un-toasted bread I had smeared with apricot jam, and an apple juice that passed muster, and decided just when to dare waking my still slumbering better-half.

Not before 11 if I wanted to see my next birthday!

I need not have worried, I was joined soon by an equally disturbed S/O who looked at the coffee, and then at me with that accusing stare that says ‘You did this. Before you I could have accepted this as coffee. Now I too am insulted. Damn you Melbournians!’ It’s true, those who hail from Melbourne, Vic, Australia do tend to have a set standard for their coffee consumption. I smiled and mouthed ‘espresso, at the station’, all would be forgiven, surely. One short nod, that’s all the acceptance I needed.

Post-breakfast disaster we packed up, and shuffled off to the Berlin Ostbahnhof station, only a 5 minute walk from the hotel, and located Starbucks and our seats from the day before. In the back corner, where there’s a power-socket, some comfy chairs with a small table, and room to keep your bags out of the way! Two LARGE caramel macchiatos later, and with lattes to-go, and we were feeling slightly more human. Travelling whilst sick, sucks.

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We took the train all the way to the airport, Berlin Schonefeld, and made our way through the tunnels before popping out at the covered walkway and walked the remaining distance to the terminals. This is where our expected salvation went frustratingly wrong. We had planned on hanging out at the Green Wings lounge, where there were supposed to be toilets, drinks, food, and quiet. The lounge is located airside after security. Security WILL NOT let you through until the requisite 3hrs prior to departure. We were there 6hrs before. Lounge plans had been derailed. The security person was at least relatively helpful and told us how to find somewhere to sit in the main A terminal.

Once seated in the terminal, at Arabica which is upstairs and to the far right of the building near stamp duty return, we hopped from a basic wooden seats/table to a more comfortable armchair w/table, before finally claiming a sofa w/table AND power to charge up our devices. Whilst we can’t vouch for Arabica’s coffee, we did try their warmed (not toasted/grilled) sandwiches, and they’re pretty good! It was during our time here that we discovered the full review of Green Wings via Lounge Buddy, and were both disappointed and relieved, it would seem someone was looking after us, and averted us from spending up on a dud.

Thankfully when we returned to security we breezed through, and we able to find somewhere to sit that was out of the main thoroughfare of people. When finally time to make our way to the nominated gate, we went through passport control – at the gate, which was a bit different – and waited in the transit lounge. Here, however, we experienced something I’ve never come across before. Whilst I’ve travelled light, I’ve travelled with plenty of bags, I’ve never met non-airline personnel doing cabin-bag sizing once boarding commences… yes, you read it correctly, as they scanned our boarding passes, one officious clown decided it was is duty to weigh/size each individual’s bag, and lecture them on what they can and cannot carry – even when his information is incorrect – and then make threats of fines and “remember this, and don’t do it again!”. To say we’re unimpressed that Jet2 allow this to go on is an understatement.

But at least the flight was relatively on-time, leaving only 20 mins late, and the flight itself was good, bringing to an end what has been a rather interesting week away. It’s been 20 years since I visited Germany, and in some ways nothing much has changed, and yet everything has. It’s a country of polarities, of grim-faces, of cultural diversity, of schadenfreude. It’s leaving me wondering what it will be like in another 20 years. Leb wohl, Deutschland.

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