Friday, January 19, 2007

Day 0-1, Ithaca -> NYC -> Amsterdam -> Berlin

This was a very long day. After having rehearsals Sunday night and most of the day Monday, we left at 9:30 AM Tuesday from Lincoln Hall. The bus trip to JFK was thankfully very uneventful. Checking in at the airport was a hassle, but considering the size of our group and the large things we were taking with us, it wasn’t entirely unexpected. The long flight from New York to Amsterdam was actually fairly short as these things go. Once we got into Amsterdam, some of us had a three-hour layover and some only had an hour. I was in the three hour crowd, and I spent most of it wandering around the airport and playing poker with M&M’s. Once we got on the one-hour flight to Berlin, I promptly fell asleep, missing what I was told were very delicious sandwiches.

Once we got to Berlin we had a bit of a scare. When we thought we had everyone on the buses, a quick headcount had us missing one person. It turned out she was just asleep and hunched down in her seat. But we only discovered this after four search parties had been sent to find her, one of which didn't come back and had to be searched for itself. Meanwhile, Steve Miahky bought some currywurst and offered it around. I tried some, thought it delicious, and then spilled a bunch of the sauce on myself. Eventually everything got straightened out and we made it to our hostel. The hostel is quite nice
and modern by hostel standards. I am sharing a room with three other 2nd violinists.
It is squarely in what used to be Soviet East Berlin, and the architecture around it certainly proves that.

Some friends and I decided to use our free time this afternoon to venture into central Berlin and see the Brandenburg Gate. So we bought S-Bahn tickets and got on the train
and changed trains at a station onto one which we thought was going into the city center. It got close. It went three or four stations, stopped for five minutes, and then went the other direction (strangely, no one else got out either). Well, no big deal, we'll just hop out and get another train going back toward the center. So we find one that comes into the station going the right direction and get on. And sit for five minutes. And then it goes the other direction. At that point we were so fed up with the indecisive trains that we decided to just bag it and came back to the hostel.

We have a rehearsal tonight (3 hours long, not exactly the best way to start the trip) with some Berlin musicians.

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