Backpacking to Europe – Part 19: Arriving in Berlin, Germany

Previously

If you just reached here and wanted to read the start of our journey, let’s go to Part 1!

Day 4: Sunday, 12th February 2017

Asleep. Awake. Asleep. Awake. That happened for a few hours after we had our toilet break in the middle of nowhere. We were supposed to reach Berlin at 7.30 am but due to the ‘skills’ of the driver, we arrived Berlin ZOB (the main bus station) at 5.30 am, earlier by two hours. It was so dark when we reached Berlin and once we exited the bus, I could feel that the air was really, really cold.

We arrived at 5.30 am when we were supposed to reach at 7.30 am.

Bangun, tidur, bangun, tidur. Berkali-kali sejak bas berhenti kat RnR. Kalau ikut, bas akan sampai Berlin pukul 7.30 pagi tapi punyalah hebat driver bas tu, pukul 5.30 pagi kitorang dah sampai Berlin ZOB. Gelap sangat masa kitorang sampai. Excited tapi pada masa yang sama, terasa sejuk sampai ke tulang.

Berlin ZOB, the central bus station of Berlin.

Our first stop when we reached Berlin was to go to the toilet at the station. As I entered, I could feel that I am not in Amsterdam any longer. The fonts used to indicate where the toilet is are different and so was the interior of the toilet.

Mula-mula sampai Berlin, cuba teka aku pergi mana? Yaaaaa, tandas dulu! Masuk-masuk, memang terasa aku dah tak ada kat Amsterdam. Dengan font tulisan yang lain, konsep toilet pun lain. Ish, memang lain lah!

Staring at this tower under freezing weather.

We went inside the waiting area and we were glad that there was wifi at the station. We did not know what to do since the Metro was not operational yet and it was really, really dark outside. I walked around to have the first glance of Berlin but it was so cold. I wore my beanie and checked the weather apps – Realfeel was -9 degree Celsius. No wonder the coldness was so sharp.

Kitorang masuk dalam stesen dan tunggu kat ruang menunggu. Nasib baik ada wifi kat sini. Memang kitorang tak tahu nak buat apa sebabnya Metro tak buka lagi dan kat luar memang gelap. Aku dok jalan mundar-mandir, pergi tengok luar. Tapi, tak tahan sebab sejuk sangat! Aku tengok kat apps, suhu lebih kurang -9 darjah Celsius. Padanlah sejuk dia lain macam!

Directions given by our friend to Rumah Malaysia.

We had made a booking at PLUS Hostel Berlin but at the same time, our uni friend had invited us to stay over at her parents’ residence. We were contemplating whether to stay at her parents’ or to just stay at the hostel. The thing is, her father is actually the Malaysian Ambassador to Germany and to stay at her parents’ would mean to stay at Rumah Malaysia, the official residence of the Malaysian Ambassador. We thought that maybe we would come over for breakfast first (she insisted that we have our breakfast there) and we would take it from there.

Waiting for the Metro. It was freezing, hence the beanie.

Sebenarnya, kitorang dah buat booking kat PLUS Hostel Berlin. Tapi, pada masa yang sama, kawan universiti kitorang pujuk ajak tidur kat rumah parents dia. Kitorang ni bukanlah tak nak berjimat dan terima pelawaan dia. Masalahnya, kitorang segan! Bapa dia Duta Malaysia ke Jerman dan kalau kitorang tidur rumah parents dia, maknanya mesti kitorang tidur kat Rumah Malaysia, kediaman rasmi Duta Malaysia. Kitorang ingat takpelah, kitorang breakfast je lah kat sana, sebab dia ajak breakfast sekali.

So, I opened up my FB messenger and screenshot the directions to go there from Berlin ZOB. At 7.00 am, we made our move after buying our tickets from the vending machine.

Jadi, aku pun buka FB messenger untuk save screenshot arah nak ke sana dari Berlin ZOB (direction dah diberi kawan kitorang masa kitorang tunggu bas di Amsterdam). Pukul 7.00 pagi, kitorang pun beli tiket dari vending machine untuk naik Metro.

The ticket vending machine at the Messe Nord / ICC S-Bahn Metro station.

Trivia:

The are several types of tickets that can be purchased from the vending machine. We bought our tickets at the yellow machine inside the bus terminal, but tickets are also sold at the red machine at Metro stations.

We bought the AB Tageskarte for 7 Euro each where we can travel unlimited for a day within Zones A and B. Find out about the zones, I won’t spoil the fun here! LOL

There is no turnstile at train stations in Berlin, so you just have to validate the tickets at the designated poles and the tickets will be valid from the time stamped.

Validate your ticket here.

Her directions were very good, we arrived at Rumah Malaysia around 8.30 am without getting lost. His Excellency Dato’ Ambassador opened the door and greeted us after we pressed the bell. “Come in, come in. Put your coats here and your shoes here”, he told us and showed us the wardrobe. “Thanks a lot uncle”, we thanked him for his willingness to have us as his guests. We chatted for awhile before our friend, Jasmine came and met us. It has been awhile since we all met and there were a lot of things that we need to catch up. “Ok, breakfast is ready. Come, join us”, Dato’ and Datin invited us to the breakfast table.

Direction yang kitorang dapat memang bagus sangat, dalam pukul 8.30 pagi kitorang dah terpacak depan pagar Rumah Malaysia tanpa sesat. Kitorang tekan loceng sambil laung Assalamualaikum sebelum pagar utama dibuka dan Dato’ Duta sendiri yang sambut kitorang kat tangga rumah. “Masuk, masuk. Ni letak kasut dan kot dalam almari ni”, Dato’ bagitau sambil tunjuk mana nak simpan barang-barang kitorang. “Terima kasih, uncle”, kitorang cakap sambil tersipu-sipu. Segan sangat okay. Kitorang borak-borak sikit sampailah Jasmine, kawan kitorang datang dan join bersembang sekali. Tengah syok-syok sembang, Datin panggil dari ruang makan, bagitau sarapan dah sedia.

Our bedroom at Rumah Malaysia.

We were served with nasi lemak, cooked by the ambassador’s cook and after four days of not having one, we were on cloud nine. The cook cooked the nasi lemak very well. We continued chatting over breakfast and then, Dato’ asked us “so, are you guys sleeping here tonight? We are sending Jasmine to the airport afterwards (as she is going back to Malaysia) but don’t worry, we are more than happy to have you two here”.

Kitorang makan nasi lemak, dimasak oleh tukang masak Dato’. Rasa dia… sedapppp sangat! Melepas rindu nak makan masakan Malaysia. Kitorang makan sambil sembang-sembang sampailah Dato’ tanya soalan cepumas “jadi, u berdua tidur sini ke malam ni? Jasmine akan ke airport lepas ni (balik Malaysa) tapi takpe, we are more than happy to have you two here”.

The jacuzzi!

Amira and I looked at each other and as if we were on a telepathic mode, we knew what our decision was. “Yes, uncle. We are going to spend a night here”. After dragging our luggage and bags here, I did not think that I would want to drag the bags again to go to the hostel. After all, offer like this won’t come regularly.

Aku dan Amira saling pandang memandang satu sama lain seolah-olah dalam mood telepati dan terus aku cakap “ya uncle, kitorang decide untuk tidur sini malam ni”. Dato’ pun kata bagus sebab boleh jimat buat apa nak spend duit bayar kat luar. Kitorang pun angguk je setuju. Lagipun, lepas dah bawak beg berat-berat dari Berlin ZOB ke sini, tak kuasa aku nak drag lagi beg ke hostel pulak!

Signing the visitors book.

After breakfast, we were brought to our bedroom. Our first impression when we entered into the bedroom was: “Wow!”. Large bed, a jacuzzi, heated floor bathroom. Suddenly, we realized that we had made the right decision to sleep here. Jasmine told us that she wanted to continue packing her things. We excused her and we closed the door. W showered and gotten ready as we were going to follow Datin to send our friend to Berlin Tegel Airport to catch her flight back to Malaysia.

Lepas sarapan, Jasmine bawa kitorang ke bilik tidur. Terus macam “Wow!”. Katil besar, jacuzzi, lantai bilik mandi heated. Tak sia-sia keputusan yang kitorang buat ni. Hahaha. Jasmine bagitau dia nak sambung kemas barang, jadi kitorang pun siap-siap mandi semua sebab kitorang akan follow Datin untuk hantar kawan kitorang tu ke Berlin Tegel Airport untuk balik Malaysia.

Portrait with HE Dato’ Ambassador and his family.

When both of us were ready, we went down but not without getting lost. Rumah Malaysia is very huge and there were secret doors and some doors lead to different parts of this huge mansion. We traced our steps back and finally, we found the entrance. Whilst waiting for our friend, we signed the visitors book before taking a group portrait together.

Lepas dah siap, kitorang pun konon-kononnya nak tungulah kat ruang tamu bawah. Sekali, sesat! Punyalah banyak pintu dan tingkat kat rumah ni, siap ada pintu rahsia bagai. Lepas kitorang cuba-cuba cari lagi, alhamdulillah jumpa. Sementara tunggu nak bertolak, kitorang isi dulu buku tetamu dan ambil gambar portrait bersama.

With our friend and her husband.

Finally, it was time to send our friend. Amira and I followed everyone out of the house before joining them into the car going to the airport.

Akhirnya, tibalah masa untuk hantar kawan kitorang. Aku dan Amira masuk dalam kereta dengan semua orang untuk ke airport.

More photos:

Next: Part 20

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We would like to take this opportunity to thank His Excellency the Malaysian Ambassador to Germany and his wife for hosting us for a night. It was a memorable moment and one of the highlights during our trip. We greatly appreciate your kind hospitality!

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