My first regular update and from now, I will give updates on a weekly basis. I am, however, unsure of the format so any input would be appreciated! So, what have I done this week?
After I settled in at the hotel (and slept for 1 1/2 hour), I spent some time to walk around in the district (Charlottenburg) and it felt almost like home; clean streets, a lot of cafés and shopping options. However, the shops I saw, reminded me of 5th ave in New York. To name a few; Versace, Moncler, Chanel, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Hublot, Hermés
You know the deal… Expensive stores in a fashionable area. I also saw a lot of more expensive cars in the neighborhood like Porsches, Lamborghini, Bentley etc. I guess Charlottenburg is the rich part of town, whereas other districts may be more hipster-ish or even chill-out. I will find out at an later stage and give an update. After viewing the area, I went to find food and ended up at an nice Italian restaurant. Just like the district, the food was pricey, but at the same time really delicious! You may wonder what I ended up eating? Haha, my secret! Just kidding; I ate at a place called “Mondo Pazzo”, which is an Italian place. Don’t know why, but I had a craving for Italian food. After dinner, I went back to the hotel and more or less went to sleep.
Waking up on Thursday, I wanted to check the news and social media before heading out. It turns out the WiFi at the hotel sucks and if I have my computer at the desk, I can’t receive a signal. If I put the computer on one of the shelves (40-50 cm above the desk, I can get a signal). I ended up going to the local Starbucks instead.
I had an appointment with the agency providing the apartment I spoke of in a previous blog entry, but it turned out that I had misunderstood the setup. They had originally sent me an email of apartments that fit my requirements and I should have replied which one I wanted to visit. Instead, I met up at their office and they became confused about this (which makes total sense in hindsight). We did speak about some apartments and they would setup a viewing session for me. They would then call me to confirm the time and availability for the apartment.
After this, I went to a shopping mall called KADEWE (short for Kaufhaus des Westens). This is a warehouse similar to Harrods in London or Steen & Strøm in Norway. I knew I was in need of a new jacket and this was todays shipping quest. I must have spent between 1-2 hours because I was done close to 15:00 and I was in need of something to eat. I found a place via Yelp, called “Dolores” which is a mexican-inspired food place, which I really would recommend! It kept me full for many hours and it was cheap. I then walked home via “Kurfürstendamm” which is the shopping street with the expensive shops I saw on Wednesday. When I came back to the hotel, I ended up taking a power nap (which felt much needed). At the evening, I met up with my classmate to eat dinner. We decided to go for German food, and we went to a place called “Repke Spätzlerei & Flammkuchen” which I found to be a good place. I ordered something called a french pizza. This uses a very thin bottom, which makes it crisp and with simple topping it’s a fairly light dish.
After this, we separated and I went back to the hotel.
I was on the school for the first time to meet up with the coordinator for the international students and select what subjects I will have this semester. It felt good to actually see the facilities of the school. I found out the school have its own roof terrace! This will become handy during the coming spring to refill my lack of vitamin D. This will also be nice for socializing and we’re even allowed to use it for barbeques!
After school, I went to view the apartment I was offered from the agency. Even though it’s expensive, it turns out that the entire market in Berlin has skyrocketed the last two years, so it’s kind of the expected price. I did go through the apartment and it looked just like the pictures. I said to the real estate agent that I would send an email later the same day, to let her know if I accept the apartment. I later found out the apartment is available from October 4th (Wednesday) because the current tenant have gone on vacation. Turns out there is a national holiday on Tuesday. I took a stroll in what should be my new neighborhood, just to see what it’s like. I turns out that its close to a park, some cafes, grocery stores etc. In general, located in a central, but quiet place in the city. As someone I know would have said, in a old-people-place. However, I’m primary here for studies (or so I believe, so far).
The same afternoon, I was invited to see where my fellow classmate is located. I stopped by, and talked with the landlords (a family) who live in the same apartment. Turns out they are super-friendly and big fans of Norway! So much that the man is going to Norway soon to look for jobs. After spending some time in the apartment, we went to eat at an Irish restaurant named “Celtic Cottage”. Also a place I would recommend.
I woke up, went to Starbucks to use their WiFi and searching for some place to stay from Sunday to Wednesday and ended up eating both breakfast and lunch there. It felt really good to have (proper) access to Wifi! I sent an email to a AirBNB host to ask if I could stay there from Sunday to Wednesday. I also used the time to decide if I should find another place to stay this semester and compare prices. Turns out the price difference is not as big as first anticipated and there is a park to speak with someone in English if there should be some problems with the apartment as I don’t speak German yet. It’s one of my goals to learn German during my stay in Berlin (there, I said it out loud). Later during the day, the landlords for my classmate wanted us to join them for a walk in the city to show us around. We spent a few good hours walking around in the district of Steglitz. Later on, we went to eat at an Indian restaurant. This was cheap and fairly good for the price, but not fully comparable to some of the places I have eaten in Oslo.
I had to check out from the hotel at 10:30. This felt kind of early compared to most other hotels I have stayed in, but let’s play by the rules of the hotel in order to not be charged for another day. I had also received feedback from the AirBNB host that I was more than welcome to their place! Yes (!), I thought to my self. Not ideal in terms of temporary home, but at least a place with a person I can speak with in contrary to the “hotel” I was staying at. I went to Starbucks to browse through the internet and I was invited to my classmate todays as well. For some unknown reason (at least to us) most shops were open today. They are usually closed on Sundays, just like in Norway. As my classmate had some need for some stuff to the room, we decided to go to IKEA. I actually believe this is my first trip to IKEA outside Norway (such wow, right?). Turns out we were not the only one to go there. I actually don’t believe I have seen so many people in one warehouse before! But nevertheless, it’s good to know where it’s located and how to get there. I probably need to go there when I move into the actual apartment for the semester myself. More on this later.
This has been my week so far, but again, I’m not sure if the format becomes too long or if I should keep it? Have you been able to read through the wall of text?