Having left the bakery, we walked the block and a half to the U Bahn station. I wasn’t thinking it through and so automatically headed us down the stairs to the U Bahn station we mostly had been using while living on Mueggelstrasse, only to remember that the S Bahn didn’t go there, so we had to go up the stairs again. Already my muscles were excited from the exercise of rapidly walking and then lifting the suitcases up the stairs.
Since there were no signs, we followed the crowd, hoping and assuming it was for the S Bahn station. Our pace had already quickened. I asked a lady halfway up the hill to be sure we were following the right crowd.
Arriving at the S Bahn station, I only knew that we needed train number 9. That one had just left and a new one did not light up on the sign that showed the next two arriving trains. I looked for a time table, but of course there wasn’t one anywhere to be found, at least for the S9.
Looking at the map, I realized we could take another train and then change, but it wasn’t yet entirely clear to me. One lady told us as a train was leaving that we should have taken that one. Very typical for a German, she repeated that fact three times during our conversation. I finally said, “well, we can’t do anything about that now.” She then confirmed that I should get on either such and such or such and such number of a train.
I looked at my watch and thought we should be okay still, but really I wasn’t entirely sure. We got on the next train and immediately I asked another woman to directions for the next train. Of course, I could see on the map, but the Berlin U/S Bahn map is so complicated I wanted to be sure. We would transfer in Adlens-something so the S46.
We had two small roll suitcases and a super heavy backpack that I could already feel in my shoulders. We were also carrying our coffees, a fruit cup we had purchased last night, two sandwiches, a sweet baked good, and who knows what else.
We got out of the first train and I quickly realized the next train would come on the same track, so we sat and waited up to two minutes before the next train came. That ride was maybe ten or fifteen minutes long. When we got out, the walkway was completely packed with people, which made me worry because of the crowds and because our flight was in just over an hour.
As we walked this wide corridor I saw signs for Terminals A, B, C and D, but I had no idea which one we needed. I stopped, checked my ticket and couldn’t see it stated. We just kept walking/running, and finally, as we came out of the corridor, I saw a sign and quickly checked and saw which terminal we needed. Of course it was D, the one that was the furthest away. Still almost running, we headed toward D. I was waffling between feeling like we would make it and also just hoping that we would. The flight was so cheap, so that wouldn’t have been the loss – but trying to find a new one, messing up our plans, having to either sleep again somewhere in Berlin or somewhere new in London – I didn’t want to even go there in my mind.
When we got to the first door of D I quickly looked around and found the Easyjet counter we needed but in front of it was one of those zig zag lines that crossed back and forth at least ten times. The crowd was huge. We got in line right away, but my heart sank. I didn’t see how we could get out.
I went to the bathroom where there also was a line, so I came back out, too nervous to stay in a small, smelly room with a line. I asked an EasyJet employee what he thought we should do. He said to just get back in line, that we would make it. The long line was moving fast, but since it was now less than an hour before takeoff and we also needed to get through security, part of me was still worried. Another part of me thought they would have to take care of us since they want their passengers on their flights.
Sure enough, suddenly the large man I had asked ten to fifteen minutes prior suddenly yelled out “London Luton? London Luton? Here number 28 and 29,” and he started opening up the gates to let us out of the long line. I told Cora, “go, go.” So we got into the next line and waited there. Finally having checked our bag, we got into the next long line for security. That was stressful trying to unpack things and Cora also temporarily panicking that we left her bathroom bag in the hotel, not realizing it was in the suitcase we had just checked, but we got through.
Then again I checked what gate number since it wasn’t on my phone, and we walked/ran to the bathroom and then the gate. We finally made it, only to stand and wait fifteen minutes to board. They checked the second wheelie bag for free because the flight was so crowded. That was fine with me. I just grabbed my book and papers out of it.
Waiting to board I just kept breathing. It had been a stressful morning. I keep my mood up, but the stress was still there. I didn’t feel like missing our flight, paying much more for another one, even maybe then having to drive in the dark to arrive in Padstow or to have to stay overnight in London because it was too late. I sat in the plane, and my body felt shaky from the early-morning exercise we had, walking up and down stairs, lifting the suitcases and carrying the heavy backpack. For an international two and a half week trip, we are packed very lightly, but still…and then I got to drive in the UK on the left side of the road for the first time.