The last couple of weeks brought lots of fun and enjoyment, but vacationing across Europe was incredibly hectic and unnerving as well. Since Mandi still has her third week off of work for Easter Vacation here in Germany, she’s traveling around the country with some friends and I came back to Berlin for a few days. For me, this is a way of resting and focussing and getting back into my hobby job.
There’s something for everyone in this city including lots of Internet- and power-ready cafes where I can work. Today I spent the entire day at my favorite spot, the westberlin bar & shop, which is a cafe near Checkpoint Charlie – in when they opened at 10:00 am and out at 7:00 pm when they closed (though because I had a meeting at 7:00 pm I hung around their large front window to borrow the WiFi, much to the chagrin of their employees who laughed at me and made faces from within).
The hostel I’m staying in is only 10€ a night and I don’t eat much when I’m in my programming trance, so it’s pretty economical to be here. Hostels seem to have a bad reputation but they are great ways to interact with others and be social in new places. I’m writing this post from the lobby and there are dozens of people from various countries speaking a mix of English, German, and native tongues – something you miss from the isolation of an expensive hotel. Last time I stayed here I was in the megadorm with fourty-nine others, but this time I opted for the seven bed room since it was one more Euro per night. In some regards I wish I had stayed in the megadorm, but the bathrooms on the floor of my new room are much nicer.
I’ll miss these experiences when we return from Europe.
Today marks the beginning of the most exciting week in Hannover. CeBIT is an internationally famous technology fair that meets at the Hannover Messe (convention center). It’s one of those things you are simply aware of if you read computer magazines or follow tech blogs, like the similar CES in Las Vegas. Learning that I would be living just down the road from this tech fair thrilled me. Although I had never given it much of a thought to attend, it seemed so possible all of the sudden and I started looking forward to this week.
But I’m not going. Mandi and I are on a train to spend a week in Berlin. We are going to attend her work conference with all of the other Fulbright recipients in Europe – hard to turn down a free trip. So we’re in the Hauptbahnhof and it’s super busy; there are three or four train routes operating where normally one suffices; the city has a new tram line for this week only; as visitors pour into the city, residents flee (hence the stuffed overhead stowage on the train which is usually empty).
Oh well. It can be just as well not to be there during the chaos. Our roommate spent the morning with her mom and sister cleaning up the apartment for some unknown visitors to stay for the week – probably best to avoid these guests. The streets at night which are usually so quiet and serene will likely be filled with strangers shouting out their drunkenness while finding their escort(s) of choice. We’ll be relaxing in our hotel or strolling through the Tiergarten.