Woke up many times over the course of the night and morning, which I suppose is inevitable – I do think that the 60 hours I went without a bunch of consecutive hours of horizontal sleep helped me to beat down jetlag though, because I just don’t have any. At all. Yet, at least - knock on wood.
I’m not sure what the Hotel Sorat Ambassador usually goes for, because I know that I’ve been getting very good low rates on hotels through the university travel’s arrangement with hotels.com on all the hotels I’ve booked so far. I paid 46 Euros for this room, and the breakfast alone was worth 15. I showed up pretty late due to the delays at Orly.
( Review of Hotel Sorat Ambassador for TripAdvisor )
Pictures from the hotel:
“In the seventh floor guests meet on the interior factual turquoise.”
Nearby Wittenberg station:
The main Berlin train station is more or less a shopping mall that trains run in and out of, which was pretty cool. It was easy to get a ticket, but once again – I have no idea why people say “Oh, everyone speaks English in Germany” because… No. Everyone in the hotel, yes. Out in the world? No. And I’m totally lost without my little phrase book. I bought my ticket and picked up another phrase book, which, amusingly (and predictably) is not English-German. It’s German-English. So I have to read it inside out., and there’s no pronunciation guide (well, there is for the American English part, of course). Still, it’s better than nothing! But I think it confuses people a little bit to see me carrying it around and then trying to order stuff using it in clearly non-existent German. I asked for a kase sandwich and ended up getting some kind of wurst. Um.
S-Bahn side of the train station:
I took a slow train to save 20 Euros (and have more opportunities to take pictures). If I'd realized that all of the IC trains between Berlin and Braunschweig would require running like hell to get from one train to another each time I might have had a second think about that, but of course I didn't realize it until my ticket was bought and printed. So that was more adventure, and I really fear that this suitcase isn't going to make it more than a month. One of its wheels is already unhappy even though I've been babying it by carrying it up and down stairs. I hope I don't have to replace the bag. I'm already really badly off budget for the week, between one thing and another, and if I don't keep those horses in check I'm going to end up living on ramen noodles (or whatever the equivalent is in the UK) for all of May. I have $8000 left after airfare and about 35% of the hotel rooms paid for via the uni travel web site, and 14 weeks. Some of that has to go to hotels, and some of it to microfilm, and sometimes train tickets, and the rest for eating and drinking and necessities - so the $570 a week is going to go awfully fast. Too fast. I need to revise my budget tonight. Sigh.
More pictures! Get my mind off the inevitable budgetary fretting:
The reason my train was full of shrieky teenagers - a) some kind of holiday and b) ultimate destination of train:
Arrived in Braunschweig and checked into the pentaHotel after more cab hilarity – very cool, funky hotel. The beds are wicked comfortable and as ;pmg as the décor doesn’t keep me awake by glowing in the dark (which seems like a possibility) I should be fine.
Hotel staff looked like they were all under 21, which (combined with the pounding techno music and mirror balls in the lobby and the fact that the reception desk is also a bar) made me a little nervous that the hotel was just an upscale hostel, and possibly one that would turn into a nightclub. The room décor is fantastic, and the complimentary toiletries are nice, but for the money the room costs, 1) the wireless internet access should be free (it’s even free in Ibis hotels now, for heaven’s sake) and 2) there shouldn’t be such a strong smell of mildew coming from the bathroom, the ceiling of which has a lot of visible mildew stains, and 3) 15 Euros for breakfast? Really? I’m glad my next hotel is another Sorat. I wouldn’t make pentahotels a habit based on the internet and breakfast and the disco balls. While I think hotels should have bars, making reception one is just a little too much for me. I think it could make checking in an aggravation if one was arriving late at night, especially on a weekend, if you were tired and just wanted to get a decent room and go to bed. I expect travelers like that walk in the door, look at each other, and just turn around and walk out, headed back to the Mercure by the station.
I thought of
I’m looking forward to a hot bath and an early bedtime, and getting into my first archive in the morning!
View out the window: