Monday, January 2, 2023

Arriving in Berlin

We arrived at Los Angeles International Airport around 4pm. Our flight boarded at 6:45, we arrived at least 3 hours before our international flight as the airline advised. 

Parking and check-in were fine (see previous post). We were in the “cheap seats” so we were among the last to board. 

We lucked out, there was still some space in the overhead storage, so we were able to put our carry-on luggage there. 

Now if you have read any of my previous critiques of air travel, you might have noticed that I’m not a fan of the ever-shrinking economy seat and reduced leg room. 

So, after flying from Los Angeles to Berlin, let’s just say we arrived a bit tired. Ok, we were completely exhausted. 

Now in my exhaustive research, I had learned that rather than use a currency exchange, I should just use the ATM in the airport once I arrived in Germany, to save any currency exchange charge. 

Seemed like a good idea, since my debit card has no foreign exchange fees. 

Should have been an easy task. 

We went to baggage claim and retrieved our checked baggage without any issues. 

Once we recovered the rest of our belongings, I looked for an ATM. 

At this point, I have to say Berlin-Brandenburg might be the nicest airport I have ever been in. 

In the airport, heading from baggage claim to the rental car desks. 

I know it’s still pretty new (opened about two years ago), but it seemed to be so clean, friendly and welcoming. Not to mention the lack of crowds.

I saw a sign for the ATM, but it seemed to be directing us to the currency exchange booth. 

It that point, I just decided to find an ATM in town, and headed to the rental car counter. 

We had no problem picking up the car, went to the parking garage, managed to find our way out of the garage, and headed to the hotel, only about 10 minutes away. 

The one issue we had was with the navigation system. I paid good money to have a vehicle with a local nav system. I had read that you should make sure the rental company reset the system for the proper area and language. 

Unfortunately, there were no employees in the garage. 

I tried to reset the language on the system, but I couldn't read the instructions (turns out the last renter was Dutch). I tried guessing what the buttons/instructions meant. You can guess how well that went. 

Even though we couldn't read or understand the directions, the nav system did have a great backup camera with an overhead view.

So, we ended up using google maps to find the hotel. We checked in, put our stuff in the room and went downstairs for a drink.

After a couple glasses of wine, I had an idea. I went back out into the cold to the car. I used my phone and google translate to decipher the instructions and reset the system. 

I did feel an odd since of victory.

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