It’s been a while since my last post, but finally, the fun begins. I ordered my plane ticket on Friday and on Wednesday at 12:15, my plane took off, heading for Berlin. There is no undo-button for this and I’m throw myself into the feeling that I’m actually on my way to Berlin! It feels both exciting and somewhat weird for several reasons. The past weeks, I’ve spent quite a lot of time at work and the weeks simply flew by without me fully realized it. Because of this, I wasn’t able to say (temporarily) good bye to a lot of friends and it actually sucks. It’s just my fault and my friends should deserve better. Luckily, Berlin is just 1,5 hours away from Oslo with the air plane, so it’s not like it’s impossible to meet/catch up. At the same time, I’m ready for an new era in my life; something I haven’t done before. I’m ready for Berlin and its challenges.
So, I arrived in Berlin and these are my first impressions: the airport (Schöneberg) was surprisingly small. It was easy to find my way around the airport and people were both kind and helpful. My luggage arrived quickly and now I needed to find out how to get in to the city.
After speaking with the information desk, I bought tickets for the train and S-bahn (a metro driving above the ground). It was easy, convenient and cheaper than anticipated. I’d recommend this for all visitors.
Another trait is the data traffic being possible to use in EU without any additional cost! I have used maps most of the day to get around. A reason for using maps is that many people in Berlin (at least those I have bumped into) speaks very little English. This can become a challenge as I don’t speak any German except for being able to tell my name, order a small or large beer. Not everyday language for most occasions. Regardless of the language, I have been able to find food and grocery stores, so I won’t go hungry here.
When it comes to places to stay, I ended up paying for a hotel. I expected it would be easy to find a place to stay, but I forgot that Oktoberfest is about to begin… Luckily, I will be displayed some apartments tomorrow via an agency which rent out furnished places. Yes, this does cost more, but at the same time, I don’t have to spend time finding furniture, transporting them to some place to stay and not but not least, I don’t have to deal with selling the same furnitures towards the summer when I’ll be moving back to Norway! I my opinion, it’s totally worth it for the short amount of time I’ll be here (less than a calendar year). If I, however, were to study here for two years or more, I would have invested more in the apartment and furniture as it would have been much cheaper over the years.
My impression of the city is that it’s clean, friendly and easy to get around, in many ways like Oslo. The biggest difference would be the size itself. Berlin is a much larger city and getting from point A to B, obviously takes longer. I have heard each district has its own center, which is somewhat different than Oslo (or other cities I am familiar with).
Tomorrow, I will also meet up with my fellow classmate from Lillehammer and it will be an exciting time for the two of us because we are the only one from Norway (I believe) and the first students to join the double degree exchange programme.
To summarize my first day in Berlin, this is a city I am very excited to gain more knowledge about and explore to greater lengths as opposed to be a tourist here.