My flight landed at Berlin Tegel in the early afternoon and my anticipated meeting with German border guards never happened. Thanks to the Schengen Agreement, which I was aware of but did not quite understand, my passport / visa moment took place in Paris at the airport before I got on my connecting flight to Berlin. The guy there did not even look at me so that eliminated any chance of my long, gray beard causing an issues. So I just grabbed my bags and walked right out of the airport and got a taxi.
With the possible exception of when I almost started a bar fight in Trinidad, I have rarely run into someone while traveling that has been unpleasant. My taxi driver is now on that very short list. I showed him the address for my hotel and he immediately said the one swear word I know in German and then sort of mumbled it a few times under his breath on the short trip to my hotel. Sorry guy, I’m almost as bummed as you that you are only taking me around the corner to the Holiday Inn and not straight down to Austria. Maybe next time. I tipped him well, because I believe in karma and I was not going to do anything to justify (in his mind at least) his anger.
I showered fully intending to go out and at least see one or two things before nightfall but my age and lack of sleep caught up with me. I ordered room service and went to bed. I envy people who can sleep on airplanes, I really do. I can’t and had been up for about 30 straight hours. I convinced myself that 12 hours of sleep tonight would trump anything I would see in Berlin that evening and I stand by that decision. If I wanted to go out on the town just after arriving I should have come here when I was in my early 20s.