Saturday, May 4, 2013

European Research Exchange - Arrival in Berlin

So I'm in Berlin now!

This summer I'm a participant of a research exchange to Germany, so I'll be working under Dr. Adrian Paschke at Freie Universitat Berlin. I've never been to Europe before, and I've been the biggest foreigner ever. Like I haven't felt like such an outsider ever, and its only been the first 32 hours haha.

I also had to board a bus to board my plane. It felt really ghetto.

So it all started in Toronto. I took a 7.5h flight to London where I got on a 1.5h flight to Berlin. Both of those flights were really uneventful. It was a really weird flight though, since I left Toronto at 7 PM, so I wasn't tired at all. But when I got tired I could only sleep for like a few hours and then I had to get up and face the morning since time zones.

Coming into Berlin though, my very first impression was that there was a lot of trees. I looked outside the plane window when I was coming down, and all I could see was trees, and then buildings where there were no trees. It was a really big difference than what London looked like.

London is all just like buildings and grass, like a lot of cities.

And when I got on a taxi to get to where I'm living, it pretty much was exactly as I saw it. There were trees everywhere. Next to the roads, in between the roads. Lots of trees. It's actually really cool. Makes the city seem very earthy.

The building are nice too. They have a cool mix of modern and historic buildings. We drove by a lot of cool things, and the taxi driver was nice and pointed stuff out to me when we passed by it. Like he pointed out the major landmarks and buildings like the Berlin Tower and Berlin Wall.

I actually don't think I have any pictures featuring outside without any trees in it so far.

I also went to the supermarket yesterday, and I got there by riding a bike. Now, I haven't ridden a bike in a long time. Like over ten years. But my housemate was like yea lets take the bikes to the supermarket. So I did. I rode a bike on a road, in traffic, in Berlin. It was so sketchy. Like I felt like I was going to lose my balance and get run over by a truck >_>

Luckily that didn't happen.

Today I went to the university for the first time, and walked forever. It was like a good 30 minutes from the train station to the school, and then in the school I walked around campus a bit, then walked more, then ate lunch, then walked more, then met my research supervisor, then walked another 30 minutes back to the station.

See, so many trees.

Speaking of the train station, the trains here are ridiculous. There's so many stations. Soooo many stations. And each station is pretty cool too, especially the cool ones servicing the central ring. Those are kinda nice.

But something that really stood out for me about the trains was that you have to press a button to open the door. So like in Toronto and Hong Kong the doors just auto open when they reach a station. But in Berlin they default to being closed, and you need to leave you hit a button on the door to open it.

Dat button.

I was so confused when I first tried to get on a train. It's weird.

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