My comprehensive Polyglot Gathering Berlin trip report – part 4
Welcome to my Berlin trip report. I decided to write a very comprehensive trip report, in an attempt to try and recreate my own participation in the event. This way my hope is that people who were unable to attend can at least get a feel for just how incredible the event was. This is part 4 of a multi part story and you can expect a new chapter every other day.
PS. I apologize for not having more pictures, I usually don't take many photos when I'm travelling around.
Part 4 – The Day Before (you are here)
My last report concluded with a group of people, I would estimate 15 were ready to hit the town, find a nice quiet pub and have a beer. Sadly the neighborhood provided very little in terms of opportunities so whilst we were walking Claudio, the Italian, decided that perhaps the locals would know. A girl, no more than 18, came walking towards us casually listening to music with large headphones, a fact that Claudio perhaps did not notice as his attempts to get the attention of the girl got louder and louder. Eventually he just ran up to her and, for legal reasons, tapped her gently on the shoulder. I felt slightly bad for this young girl as she was now being scrutinized by a group of 15 foreigners on where to find a bar, but at the same time it was an incredibly funny situation. Eventually Dani felt bad for her and went up to have a girl-talk with her in her native language and at the end of this very odd encounter we were none the wiser than we started.
I used my phone to try and locate places in the vicinity but the search came up empty. I checked the pub in the Hauptbahnhof and misread the opening hours, I would later find out. When we arrived at the station the pub was well and firmly closed for the night. Mind you this was not even midnight yet. This was the same time that the group divided, with one group wanting to go home and rest and the other group wanting to take a train to more busy areas of Berlin. The group who stayed ended up being an all-guys group, a fact which would prove relevant later. The group consisted of Claudio, Gabor, Attila, Philip, Sebastian, Chris H, Joop and Myself. It felt very surreal to be roving the unknown streets of Berlin with complete strangers, but it was like we had been best friends all our lives. During our transit to AlexanderPlatz Claudio impressed me greatly in his openness and ability to entertain women and subsequently get their phone numbers. One notable case was hardly a minute long, because the train was leaving and he had to abandon the conversation. Maybe he can teach me this subtle art one day!
As we arrived at AlexanderPlatz there was considerably more going on than at our location. Cafes and pubs seemed open and so the trick was simply to find one big enough to house us. A trendy looking “cocktail bar-esque” place with hundreds of chairs vacant out front seemed like a good choice. We approached the doorman and much to our surprise we were not allowed in. Actually they said the place was closed, which was complete BS. I assumed that the real reason was because we were 8 guys without any female companionship. Something about ratios and what not. We almost solved this problem on the way out as we ran directly into a hen party, celebrating a certain Sandra was getting married. They were around 10 girls – we were 8 guys, perfect match? Sadly that was not to be either, but a few of our people did get a shot of a disgusting alcoholic drink and we were on our way again. As we walked around scouting the area, harassing the locals for tips and having a really good time, has to be said, some people in the group decided that enough was enough. We all agreed and went back to the train station, where to our surprise there was a bar that would accommodate us. Or at least most of us, as a few decided to just go straight home. We sat down with a nice beer most of us and finally we had accomplished our goal. Or one of them rather, as Chris H had still not been fed any solids. As we finished our beer and went out me and Chris decided to go for some food, while we said goodbye to the remaining people who were going home.
If you are really hungry and have no idea where to find food in Berlin, go for a train station. The bigger ones seem to have just about any variation of hot foods. AlexanderPlatz had McDonalds, Burger King, a fish and chip shop a pizza/döner place and many more. On my recommendation we decided to go for the Döner. To me a döner is one of the better meals in Berlin, because it is usually not expensive and they stuff it full of meat and salad. Compare that €4 döner to what that buys you at McDonalds. Not even a meal. We brought the döner in the train and ate it on the way back to the hostel. I said hello to a few people in the lobby but ultimately decided that after having slept very little the night before, that I would crash relatively early and be ready for tomorrow’s stacked program of polyglottery.
As I climbed into the bed I could feel my excitement levels rise incredibly. Almost like the feeling you got when little and it was the night before Christmas or the night before your birthday. I did not know what to expect from PolyGlot Berlin but I knew that I was looking forward to it immensely.
In the next part I talk about Day 1 of the conference, including what talks I went to see, and who I met.