The Journey- I arrived at the airport on time and checked in and sort of met everyone. We went through secruity and waited at the gate. It was a 3 hour wait and no one really knew each other yet. We boarded the plane which was huge! It sat about 300 people. I sat on an aisle seat with one of my classmates to my left. I had barley any leg room, and I have sort legs! The movie selection was nice, but I really didn't watch anything. It was a 8.5 hour plane ride to Berlin. We were served a snack and drink, and then dinner, and then breakfast. I tried to go to sleep while on the plane because I was pretty tired. I fell asleep a few times but it was very uncomfortable. We finally landed in Frankfurt where we had a 5 hour layover. At this layover, classmates were finally mingling with each other. The Frankfurt Airport was significantly different than the Atlanta Airport. Where the ATL airport would have hundreds of fastfood restruants insides, the Frankfurt airport was almost set up like a mall. There were more department stores than food stores. They were selling purses, clothes, perfumes, ect. After waiting for forever, we finally boarded the plane. This plane was slightly smaller, but I had so much leg room, and I wasn't squished in my seat! I would love to take that plane over the other for a long distance flight. We finally got in Berlin, grabbed our luggage, met up with our coordinator, and got on the bus that took us to our hotel.
Hotel- This hotel is rather small, but very nice. The lobby is quite small, but there is a common room which a big flat screen tv, table and chairs, a coffee/hot chocolate machine (.50 euros), and they use an honor system for the drinks in the fridge. Right outside, there are table and chairs to enjoy snacks, drinks, and to hang out with other students. About 200 feet (not even) there is a building with offices/rooms that we are using twice a week for our classes. The hotel is in an old persons neighborhood but it is still really nice. About 800 yards there is a huge park with walking trails. This park is full of nice green grassy areas, a rose garden, and a beirgarten where they have a nice sized television to watch the world cup game on.
Walking tour around Pankow- Our coordinator took us on a short walking tour of Pankow, the section of Berlin that we are staying in. About two blocks down from our hotel, there is a bistro that has a nice sized tv outside as well; Mario is the owner, in which we call this location "Mario's." At Mario's, you can get currywurst, a cheeseburger, chicken nuggets, pizza, and pasta. I tried the currywurst on the first day and was very impressed. We kept walking down where he showed us the ATM so that we can withdraw money. A few ways down was the mall which has a store called "Kaufland" which is like a Walmart. We kept walking a ways which led us to the train station-- both the S bahn and U bahn. The transportation pass that we have is good for any transportation in Berlin; the S bahn, U bahn, bus, tram, ect. We completed the tour and went back to the hotel. Some kinds went to Kaufland to buy drinks, but me and 3 other walked around some more.
Day 1 adventure- So after the walking tour, Mark, Colin, Nathan, and myself wanted to see what kind of bars/eateries were down past the ATM. We walked for a while and ran into this sketchy dude who asked us what we were looking for. We said that we were trying to find a bar, and then told us that his bar was open. He was standing right next to this what looked like a run-down bar which hasn't been touched in years, Then he said that he will give us a free drink. It was sketchy as everything so we said no and kept walking down. There wasn't much anything after that; it turned into a Turkish neighborhood. We went back passed the sketchy bar which had tables and chairs, the door was open, and the open sign was flashing. It was very bizarre. We decided to check out the Beirgarten, and I got a hefeweissbier on tap which was delicious. We watched some of the game, and then headed back to the hotel. There was a group of students sitting out side, and I joined them. I finally went to bed around 11pm after barely having any sleep. Berlin seems like it's a nice place. Can't wait to see more of it.