Woohoo, I’m here! It’s a little cold I won’t lie, but having said that it isn’t unbearable and the city of Berlin has treated me well so far. Before I elaborate on what we’ve been up to since arriving in the city, I must just backtrack slightly. First of all I must say I’m so impressed with how functional and world class our public transport system is becoming. I caught a cab to the Gautrain station in Sandton and within half an hour I was at the airport, ready to kill some time as I waited for my flight to Frankfurt. I met up with my fellow travelers ahead of our flight Paul was the lucky one chosen as the South African winner to attend the Berlin leg of the Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange Project. Accompanying him on the trip is his girlfriend Sindi. Lizzie, who is the Brand Manager for Smirnoff Triple Distilled & Black is also traveling with us. We boarded our Lufthansa flight at around 7pm. Having spoken to several of my friends before departure, it became clear that Lufthansa wasn’t the preferred airline to use, but I was pleasantly surprised. The service was fantastic, the plane was clean and it’s one of their new additions to their existing fleet. Their choice of in-flight entertainment was really good. Over 100 cds; a variety of hit TV series like Modern Family, Two and Half Men and 30 Rock to mention a few. The choice of movies was great too: Inception, Grown Ups, and Killers. There were loads more, but if it weren’t for me being so tired, I probably would’ve watched more. Now of course I would notice this, being an avid follower of entertainment, but also on the flight was actress and acclaimed dancer choreographer, Lorcia Cooper. I didn’t get a chance to speak to her, but I would presume she’s got a little project lined up in Berlin. If that is the case, then big up to her. Another South African success story.
We arrived in a cloudy and cold Frankfurt in the wee hours, cleared customs and boarded our next flight to Berlin. It’s kind of like flying to Durban, short and sweet. I love flying in conditions like this because it’s clear and you get a general idea of the place you’re visiting. This is great especially when it’s your first visit to that place. Our driver was standing in the arrivals area waiting to meet us. As soon as the car was loaded up, we started to get a clearer idea of the city of Berlin.
From the airport we drove through what is still known as West Berlin. I love European cities in the mornings- especially in winter. It is calm, the lighting is great and to see the sun creeping through both the old and new architecture is quite remarkable and immaculate. Some might think this is strange, but others might understand what I mean if they, too, have experienced this. The one thing both Lizzie and I noticed is that the city is quite flat. There aren’t many hills around and the buildings aren’t that tall. Random thought I suppose and granted I’ve only been here all of six hours, but I just thought it would be a ‘taller’ city. When we explore the city more, I’m sure those initial thoughts will be altered somewhat.
After checking in at the Grand Hyatt, we enjoyed a good continental breakfast. My fellow travelers are a great bunch of people and I can see us having loads of fun in the days to come. Once we were done with breakfast, now brunch and almost lunch, we cleaned up and then went for a stroll around Potsdamer Platz. Apparently every year the people of Berlin set up a Christmas market, where you can get a whole range of Christmas decorations and delicious goodies from a wide array of stalls that have been set up for the festive season. I will most certainly be going back there to get some presents for those of you been good or for those of you who ask nicely ☺ Oh wait, we’re paying in Euros so maybe not. Haha. There are also other activities on offer, like ice-skating for one. We’ll attempt that tomorrow I feel. Just on a side note, can you believe it’s exactly a month to go until Christmas already? Wow time flies.
Tonight we’re heading out for dinner and then we’re going to check out one of the nightclubs in the city. Stay tuned for more as we build up to the Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange Project going down this Saturday in Berlin, Cape Town and twelve other cities around the world.