We booked our transatlantic flights separately from our Germany-Spain flights, which led to the previously-mentioned 7-hour layover in Berlin. Since our main destinations were Barcelona and Bavaria, though, it was fun to have a day in another area. Berlin Tegel is a nice small-ish airport right in the city so it was easy to grab a cab and go sightseeing, then head back in plenty of time to check in for our next flight. I thought it might be dicey, given that we’d left home at 7:00 in the morning the day before and landed in Germany at 1 am our time (7 am there), but the kids (and adults) were champs.
Our first stop was the Brandenburg gate, which quickly turned into an adventure in and of itself. Thomas’ Blackberry fell out of his pocket, but didn’t realize. This Blackberry was both his work phone (not good to lose) and our only European-enabled communications device (yikes!). Minutes later a young German couple, also sightseeing, found it and called the last-dialed number, which, thankfully, was his German-based sister. She arranged to have them mail it to her and started FB-messaging Thomas.
About this time, the kids were complaining about how cold it was and were starting to get tired, so we told them we could get some hot chocolate at Starbucks. (The first things we saw when we landed in Europe? The American Embassy next door to the Brandenburg gate and a Starbucks across the courtyard.)
Thomas connected his personal phone to the free wifi in Starbucks and it immediately blew up with the messages from his sister. At this point we’d only lost the Blackberry 15 minutes before, so she was able to set up a meeting between us and the German couple by messaging us while calling them. They hadn’t yet mailed the phone, so they came back across the city (they’d left the area) to hand-deliver it.
So that’s how we ended up having coffee with a couple of German tourists from Cologne. They’d taken a 7-hour bus ride to Berlin for a weekend of sightseeing and gotten into the city at the same time we got off our 7-hour flight. We both headed straight for the Brandenburg gate, arriving within minutes of each other.
So many things came together: the German couple spoke English, the last-dialed number was a German one instead of some work client in America, and we stopped at Starbucks, with it’s free wifi, instead of hunting for a more interesting cafe.
That was enough excitement and stress for us, though, so we went back to the airport to try to relax and rest until our flight to Spain.
We did get to try something quintessentially German (and quite delicious) for lunch: currywurst, which we ate in a refurbished train car parked next to the terminal at the airport.
I’m afraid I did a pretty terrible job of taking pictures of food on this trip – we only have two, both of sausage, and both taken by Thomas. Apparently I needed to get back into the blogger mindset.