I was very excited to finally set foot in Europe, and with Berlin being one of the must-visit cities on my bucket list, I’m really beyond thrilled! The immigration officials weren’t as stern as I expected them to be, from the horror stories I’ve read and heard about some people’s experiences. They just asked the purpose of my trip and the countries I’ll be visiting, and it took less than a minute, I think, and I was permitted entry to Germany!
After planning this trip for almost a year, you would think that I was able to cover all of the bases already, but no-my Qatar Airways flight landed in Berlin Tegel Airport around 10 o’clock in the evening. Most, if not all, of the stores at the airport are already closed! And stupid me, I was expecting the stores to be open 24 hours where I could buy an international SIM card for my data! So my only option was to ask the airport staff how to go about getting to my hostel for my four days in the city! There were buses that would take you anywhere in the city, and a tram too. I mean, this is Germany after all, but I was still totally clueless since I had no internet to Google where I was, so I just checked my accommodation booking and prayed to the gods that I’d get off at the right station. Bad news, I did not. Haha. I was literally lost and walking aimlessly in the cold night of Berlin. And there are only a few people out and about. Remember, this was winter time, and I think it’s already past eleven in the evening.
Thank goodness, though, because I bumped into Norah—a local from Berlin who helped me find my hostel. She’s truly a godsend because I was just getting really cold by the time I bumped into her. I told her the whole thing about me not being able to get a new SIM card at the airport, and I just showed her my booking print out and she took me to my hostel right then and there.
I had my Berlin accommodation at the St. Christopher Inn Berlin-Mitte. They were very gracious, and the hostel was actually kind of nice for a solo traveler like myself. One of the guys manning the reception asked me where I was from, and I told her that I’m from the Philippines, and he smiled and said that his mom is Filipino! Instant connection! I absolutely loved the location of the hostel! It’s perfect because it ‘s all walking distance to all the tourist traps! I swear, I never had to use any transportation system during my 4 days in Berlin.
The following day was not as eventful as I’d like it to be because I was still getting used to the cold! I just went out first to familiarize myself – I saw the Berlin Cathedral, where I went in for a mass on Day 3, Altes Museum, Humboldt University, Alexanderplatz, etc. It was just all so fascinating to me, and I still cannot believe that I made it here! For some people, this may just be nothing, but for someone like me, who grew up in the countryside, this is definitely a whole new world!
Here are some of the pictures I took on my first foray into Berlin.