We finally made it to Berlin at 8am! Going through the passport inspection was different from other countries I have been. the officer onlz looked at my passport, stamped it, and gave it back. No questions were asked. This was a good thing, I guess!
Heike meet us at the airport with vans to take us to the hotel. It was about a 25 minute drive from the airport to the hotel. When we arrived at the hotel, we were given our rooms. I will be rooming with Emily here in Berlin. We were given time to go up and freshen up.
For the first day, we spent the day getting acquainted with the city. This was to keep us from going to sleep. We walked to the train station where there was an ATM. We took the time to take out money. We walked around the train station to see the shops that were there and where we would need to go to take the S-Bahn and U-Bahn.
We grabbed a bite to eat at a small sandwhich shop in the train station. The sandwhich I got was reallz good! I learned to say "das bitte" or "that please" to pick the sandwhich that I wanted.
From the train station we walked around the area and learned how to read a map of Berlin. The most memorable was this building called Kaufhaus des Westens. It was a huge department store with 7 levels. We spent about 30 minutes there walking around the 6th level. On this floor were a variety of foods from meat, cheese, wines, chocolate, dessert, fruits, veggies. etc. There were some foods you would find in America, such as "Poptarts". The choclate flavored poptarts were called "Chocotastic". I thought that was so funny!
We walked around the streets for a couple of hours. I observed many things that were different than America. There was a lot of construction going on. The signs to walk across the street were interesting. There is a little green man with a hat and one arm sticking out, the other is a little red man with both arms stretched out making a "T". They are called "Ampelmann". These figures have become an icon and there are stores that sell items with these figures on them. The Ampelmann started in East Germany, but now is scattered throughout Berlin.
There was a church close by to our hotel, which we walked by. Right now it is under construction. It was bombed during WWII. They want to preserve what is left in memory of the war. It once was a very big and beautiful church. To continue holding services there a modern church was built right beside it. The building does not look like a church, instead it is a tall buildings with small square stain glass windows all the way around. It is in the shape of an octagon.
We were given time to go back to the hotel to take a nap. We got back around 2:30 and I feel asleep instantly and didn't wake-up until 4pm. I thought it was the next day when I woke up. I was so confused!
At 4:30 we left for dinner. On the way to dinner we stopped and activated the go phones that Heike provided for us to use while in Germany. We can use theses to call other people in the group or make international calls. We ate at a place called Zillemarkt. It was a nice resturant. I ordered schitzel, this was a popular dish in German. It is meat in a thin paddy and fried. It was good.
After dinner, we walked around to some different stores. We stopped to talk and exchange phone numbers. Then we went back to the hotel. It was a good first day!