Landed in Berlin right on time, and despite over a dozen trips my first time arriving by air and getting to experience the joy that is Tegel airport. For an arrival it wasn’t bad – we got a bus gate, the signs to the area to take the bus to Berlin Hbf station was pretty easy, and overall it wasn’t awful. I was later to find out I was deceived.
I’d decided to forego my princess side, and see if I’d enjoy staying at the Moxy Hotel Ostbanhof. Now, I fully knew that I was getting a very basic hotel, and the room would be tiny. Honestly, the room itself was completely fine, even though the neighbourhood was pretty dead. The service, however, was absolutely abysmal. It took over 20 minutes to check in because they were slow as heck, and the complete lack of desk in the room was not something I could deal with for more than one night. I’d booked the one night as an experiment, and sorry to say…I gave up and went to the Marriott after that. I had work to do, and as fun as working in a common lobby area is for people watching…it’s really not conducive to getting work and writing done.
So right…first time at the Marriott since it was my first post-merger trip, and in the past I’d usually chosen the Westin. I have to say, the Marriott was leaps and bounds above the Westin for me – and will definitely be my hotel of choice going forward in Berlin. Great executive lounge with a super long evening happy hour (albeit a bit crowded at times), and cool artwork as well:
Two of the days I was in Berlin I had a few hours free, so went on two long walks, probably about 12-15km each. Some cool graffiti:
Don’t tell anyone, but my guilty pleasure in Germany is the Starbucks Bretzelsnack and a Caramel Macchiato…
Hey Dotard….I found the wall…it’s already been built AND torn down. Plz to open the US Government back up now kplzthxbye!
I did a super long walk east from my hotel, eventually ending up in Friedrichshein. I really liked the neighbourhood, and it feels very edgy and gentrifying to me…complete with tons of bearded hipsters and a bunch of places to get craft beer. I could totally see living here…
Did a “Red Berlin” tour which had a super cool guide, but I ducked out after the first two hours because…well…for those of us who lived through the 80s, there wasn’t a ton of new information. Still, I would recommend it, especially if you’re not a Cold War history buff.
Found a super cool craft beer bar called Labor which was part laboratory-themed craft beer bar and part Hungarian restaurant. I’ll definitely go back!
The decor was super cool, with the beer info displayed as elements on the periodic table.
After a few days of work, it was back to Tegel to fly home. Look, hipsters hawking contact lenses in a vending machine again. Seriously, has this become a thing now?
So, being elite/business class/DYKWIA means nothing at Tegel. Your “gate” starts with a boarding pass check, then security to get into the gate area. I don’t know what you do if you need somewhere to check in – fortunately I was able to do that online, but for a flight that was barely 50% full it took me nearly 40 minutes to get through security. I can’t imagine what an international flight is like. This is one airport, in the future, I’ll always arrive at at least 90 minutes ahead of my flight – which is a major pain!
Lufthansa flight 181
Berlin, Tegel (TXL) to Frankfurt, Germany (FRA)
Depart 8:45, Arrive: 9:55, flight time: 1:10
Airbus A320, Registration D-AIQF, Manufactured 1991, Seat 6F
Miles Flown Year-to-Date: 842
Lifetime Miles Flown: 2,693,430
That said, my flight was empty in business class, I had all of row 6 on both sides to myself, and despite a flight time of 55 minutes we were served a tasty snack:
Right, onto Frankfurt…as if clowns aren’t scary enough, apparently in Frankfurt you can hire a clown doctor to come and examine your kids….or maybe adults too? Creepy and no thanks.
I went to the lounge in the A gates in Frankfurt, since it was a Schengen arrival, but they informed me they didn’t have car service, and wouldn’t be able to drive me to my flight. Lesson learnt since I’d never tried the First Class Lounge in A before…so I just left the airport and walked to the First Class Terminal. Ahhhh, much better.
After a good shower, a small snack, and a couple glasses of champers, it was time for the main event! Please skip if you’re tired of seeing my posts about my favourite product: Lufthansa First Class. After a Porsche ride to the plane with another couple who was on my flight, it was time to get this show on the road!
Lufthansa flight 418
Frankfurt, Germany (FRA) to Washington, DC, Dulles (IAD)
Depart 12:50, Arrive: 15:50, flight time: 9:00
Boeing 747-8i, Registration D-ABYO, Manufactured 2014, Seat 2K
Miles Flown Year-to-Date: 4,923
Lifetime Miles Flown: 2,697,511
I don’t know how many times I’ve taken this exact pic from 2K, but it makes me smile every time:
PDB bubbles and time to go!
Am I the only one who thinks Sauerstoffmasken is one of the best words ever in German?
…I’m also partial to Schwimmweste because it’s one of the first aviation-related words I learnt in German:
Shortly after take off amuse-bouche of scallop came out:
Every time…this butter…
I have to say, I really love the new caviar Lufthansa has been serving lately!
Three apps, three wins! Veal and tuna, gorgonzola, cherries and pine nuts, and finally spiced salmon. Lufthansa almost always has one or two odd apps, but lately they’ve been going three for three. Love this trend!
So, I risked the beef once again…
…and a perfect medium rare. Honestly, the best steak I’ve ever had on a plane, and lately, I’ve had several good steaks on planes. Could this be the start of something amazing?
Best cheese board in the sky. Bar none.
This. Is. Everything. (How did I forget to ask for some chutney?!)
Baked apple crumble, a perfect ending.
…well, almost ending. Except the Johnny Walker Blue and chocolates.
After lunch, due to the early start, I passed out for five straight hours and had an amazing nap, waking up somewhere over Quebec….and tempted into lunch. The delicious Tom Kha Gai soup they’ve had for a while, but I don’t mind, because it’s so good….with more JWB of course!
Apricot tart to finish off an amazing flight. I’ve had a lot of amazing Lufthansa First flights, but somehow they just keep getting better and better!
…and better. When the agent with the signboard was outside the jetway, and I said “that’s me, but I don’t need an escort to immigration, I know where it is” she said “wait, don’t you want the private car?” Wait, WHAT? I’ve arrived in DC at least 50 times by Lufthansa First, and not once has the agent told me there’s an option to not take the moon buggy. How have I gone this long without knowing that this “oh so Lufthansa” touch was a thing?!
Goodbye, gorgeous, auf wiedersehen!
One last look at my chariot, and the end to an amazing trip!
After two nights in 45+ at home, I was so excited to be home and in my own bed, in theory, for 30 straight days. Let’s see if it holds…or the wanderlust (or work) wins out…