Our plane landed in Berlin under heavy clouds and hard rain. I had hoped the forecasts would be mistaken as they had been so often when we’ve been able to compare real life conditions to media representations. Weather forecasts tend to have the same bias towards sensational reporting as other so-called news. As we approached Berlin, I was pleased to watch the ground below illuminated by bright sun in cloudless sky, but my once again I was not disappointed by my disappointment when we suddenly were descending into thick clouds onto rain drenched runway with haze and fog obscuring the terminal and peripherals.
In my mind, there are probably a few more cities more depressing than Berlin under clouds but I haven’t been to one yet. My last trip to Berlin was thirty years ago as winter approached, and my expectations for today’s visit have been shaped considerably by that experience. It was barely after the fall of the wall when the neglect and deterioration of the city from the communist deformation was evident. It seemed the environment, particularly in the eastern zone, created its own overcast. Of course, times have changed, and Germany has (or soon to have had) the strongest economy of the European Union, so I expect the malaise I detected thirty years ago has been overcome and that even the clouds and rain may become something else to appreciate.
Before leaving the airport Paula and I took some time for coffee and to steel ourselves to plunge into the Our Next Great Adventure. By the time we left the airport, the sun was shining in a dark blue sky. My skepticism has not necessarily served me well, but it has at least been a trustworthy companion. We plunged into the city, confident or our ability to steer ourselves through an area where we have little understanding of the language and considerable ignorance of societal dynamics. After a short break at our hotel we decided we should take a long walk in the city to delay the inevitable encounter with jet lag. We immediately somehow locked ourselves out of the hotel, on a roof-top terrace in midst of a gigantic downpour.
How does that statement end? You know the one that starts “Past performance. . . . . ” Fortunately, we had both an umbrella and a cell phone so were able, after several calls to the front desk, were eventually liberated by a young woman who lectured us sternly, in the way only a German can lecture, and advised us not to engage in any further misbehavior.
There will be no photographs in this post. It is only a teaser, an introduction to our new next adventure, about which we will describe in upcoming posts. We will write about our sixteen-hour layover in New York City, and the two overnight flights we completed. We will catch you up on our day in Manhattan and the joys of experiencing the city as a couple of “out of towners” (intentional reference to the movie). We will also fill you in on how we happen to be where we are and where we intend to be next.
I am also uploading this post as an advisory for those of you who would think a good drenching is an acceptable substitute for abundant sunlight to stave off jet lag. It’s nearly two o’clock in the morning and I’m in the lobby typing away. Club music is playing over the speakers and young folks, in well lubricated good humor, are streaming in towards the elevator as I wonder how it is Tuesday night is a party night in Berlin.
Another bit of warning. This blog will be over-taken by events. By the next time one of us posts again we will be somewhere else. Our hotel has a nightly rate slightly more than a round trip flight to JFK, so tomorrow we will be on a southbound train for a destinationabout which we will discuss later.
Fare thee well, for now.
Great start! I quickly flashed back to the (non) happy, smiling people in Germany. You’re lucky she let you back in. Good luck on next portion of this journey! Remember: foot in door until all pockets checked for necessities… i swear, you young kids always running out the door forgetting something 😉
Intriguing beginning! What a start to your trip!