I usually book the earliest morning flights possible, but I'm glad I booked a 1pm flight to Berlin; I figured (correctly) that it wouldn't be the best idea to get up ridiculously early my first night in Europe. Had lots of troubles falling asleep last night... I think it was partly b/c I was hungry. After crawling out of bed and eating a bagel in the dark (well, computer monitor was on...), I was finally able to sleep.
Taking the tube during rush hr from a busy stop is an experience. Fortunately, a terminal 5 tube came soon after I got to the station, and I was assertive enough to make damn sure I got on it. (probably only 1/3-1/4 of trains go to Terminal 5... half don't go to Heathrow, and half the Heathrow ones go to Terminal 4)
I got to the airport early b/c I wanted to be sure to have time to check out the new Terminal 5 at Heathrow airport. Check in and security were so quick that I really
had a lot of time to check it out. Seriously, check in was a snap using self sertvice terminals, followed by handing off my luggage at a counter. Security barely had any line- and I appreciated that the let you keep your shoes on and keep laptops in their case.
I'd regretted that I hadn't been able to eat at a "Pret A Manger" in London. But have no fear, terminal 5 had me covered! :) I got a smoked salmon sandwich and, out of curiosity, a Mandarin and Lychee juice. The juice was... interesting. A little sharp for my taste.
Had I not had time to eat at Wagamama, they also had one at terminal 5. Regretted not buying European exclusive MAC lipsticks? No problem- duty free had a well stocked MAC counter. (yes, I bought 2) Been looking all over and wondering if Cadbury still makes Cadbury cream egg filled chocolates
? Heathrow 5 will again be your friend. Different type of chocolate bar than I saw 2 yrs ago, so we'll see how it tastes. I generally subscribe to the "Convert change to chocolates" programme. (i.e. use any spare change to buy chocolate bars at the airport) LOL
generally felt bright and airy; it's ashame there were so many technical glitches when it opened because it really deserves better.
Had screaming babies on the flight to Berlin, but fortunately it was a very short flight. Baggage claim at the Berlin airport is practically right at the gate, which is kinda neat. (had to go through Passport control first of course) Got money out of the ATM with no problem- that may not seem noteworthy, but 4 years ago I felt like I was wandering all over Berlin before I found an ATM that would take my card. (I believe that I was doing this wandering at the time my father died, so I felt that it was a good omen to have no ATM issues this yr..)
I took a taxi to my hotel b/c I didn't feel like dealing with all my luggage on a bus. Taxi driver asked me which of 2 routes I'd prefer to take. Uh, I have no idea... He eventually decided.
I totally LOVE my hotel room
.(Hotel Goethe87 Das Wohngedicht) I chose this hotel partly b/c it's very close to the Theatre Des Westens where "Elisabeth" is playing. (can't be more than 1/2 mile) And I also thought it had character, and liked that it had a mini kitchen
. The clincher is that prices are quite moderate (compared to other Berlin hotels) I have a little balcony, a cooking area (with plates and silverware), huge walk in closet, shower supposedly rocks... and all very airy and tasteful.
Also, there is a quote over my bed "Wenn der Mensch sich selbst bleibt, bleibt ihm viel"; it's by Goethe (since the hotel has a Goethe theme) and babelfish tells me it means something like "If a man remains himself, much remains for him"
I tried to turn on my laptop to do a brief email check... but it was being wonky, and it would flash a blue screen of death and try to reboot itself. It would be death in my soul if I didn't have a functional laptop to upload images, and sync my ipod... not to mention go online. Tried fiddling around, and started it fine in Safe Mode... eventually turned off the wireless and that somehow seemed to do the trick. Guess the wireless card was what was causing it to be wonky.
After dealing with my unfortunate laptop issues, I headed out. I smiled as I walked past Theatre des Westens and then I found a supermarket. I'm terrible some times about eating- if I can have food in my room, it should be better. I bought bread, nutella, smoked salmon, cream cheese, apple juice, Fanta zero orange, meat tortelloni and bolognese sauce. And chocolate.
By the time I got back to the hotel, I didn't have too much time before the show so I hopped into the shower
. What's really neat about the shower is that in addition to the hand held unit and the overhead unit (latter not shown in picture) there are 4 other spouts that you can turn on with another control. So, lots of water. Nice.... just like the reviews say.
Then I spread some nutella on bread and went off to the theatre! (obviously, I ate the nutella + bread)
Excuse the lack of tiffedness... but I met Pia Douwes
! (and I am wearing the famous blue dress, that I seem to find myself wearing in many travel photos from 1993 onwards)
Those of you who know me know that I am generally not into the autograph/picture thing... with skaters or with actors. But hell, seeing Pia Douwes reprise her title role in "Elisabeth" was the catalyst in motivating me to travel all the way from America, and I thought maybe she'd appreciate having someone come from that far to see her in it.
And she was totally sweet- I know she speaks good English so I wasn't shy about speaking in English. Me: "I'd love to take a picture with you, but I don't know how to ask anyone to take one..." Her: *babbles something incomprehensible to me in German* and of course someone volunteered because, hello, when Pia Douwes talks, stagedoor people listen. ;) I also got an autograph... after talking to her for a minute, she decided she needed to add "All my love" above her name, which she'd already signed; she couldn't believe I saw her in "Chicago" in NY b/c she was only in it for 6 weeks. (that made me LOL because she had no problem believing I saw her in Scheveningen, Netherlands... and NYC is like around the corner from me)
Didn't bother waiting for the other actors- partly b/c I was totally hungry, partly because, as I said, doing the whole fangirly thing with Pia was the exception not the rule.
As for the show itself... my seat turned out to be freaking front row center. (i was in row 2, but the actual front row was taken away in the center) So exciting to see it again, especially from so close. Pia said she recognized me from the audience- since she took her bows *right smack in front of me*, that's not surprising.
Tonight the alternate male lead was on (which I knew from having checked any related websites I've been able to find so I'll get to see 2 takes on the part. Pia didn't mention being out Fri or Sat so hopefully I will see her all 3 times, cause she is totally amazing. I love the show, and Pia is truly the best in the title role.
Totally totally worth it!Picture having a chance to see your favorite retired skater skate their most famous routine and totally nail it... that's sorta what this feels like.
Was very hungry when I got back to the hotel- yay for tortelloni with bolognese sauce!
Will probably sleep in tomorrow since I think I need the rest; Then I'll figure out what I will do- it depends on what time I get up and how long it takes me to get moving. ;) But I've already lived out my dream, and had other really great experiences in such a short time- so anything else is just icing on the cake.