Being far away from your own country and in a foreign land with different languages and cultures is not easy. The first days, you could feel that sometimes you have missed food and places that you used to go if you craved for example ‘Maggi Goreng’ in the middle of the night especially going to mamak restaurant that opens 24hours.In Europe, there’s no such thing as 24 hours restaurant. Shops or Tabaks and restaurants closed as early as 5pm and the only food that you could get was either a piece of giant pizzas slices or perhaps some Doner kebabs that cost around Euro 5 or 6(MYR20-24!). Not to mention, all off the shops closed in Sunday.
I’d remembered the first day of my journey; it was on 23rd June 2014. I had a flight from Kuala Lumpur via Hanoi and a direct flight after to Frankfurt. It was the cheapest flight I’ve got to go to Europe for one way ticket. I was so excited about the trip that I hardly get enough of sleep or rest the day before. I make sure that I arrived early at the airport and do the check-in on time. Luckily, the check-in counter staff was really friendly and she actually gave me the window sitting instead of aisle. The Vietnam Airlines offers long-haul direct flights to Europe and there’s no sitting numbering unless once you have checked-in. It was a 3 hours flight from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA1) to Hanoi international Airport before took off for Frankfurt. The Hanoi International Airport doesn’t seem like what I’ve imagined before, that is modern and sophisticated instead, it reminded me of the old Ho Chi Minh International Airport. I was back on the plane 1 hour after that. The journey went smooth and the steward & stewardess of Vietnam Airlines were really helpful and friendly throughout the 13 hours journey.
As soon as I reached Frankfurt Airport; went to the immigration counter. I was impressed by the immigration systems they use for the EU (European Union) citizen. Just a scan and they are ready to go and collect their luggage. As for me, I have to queue and get my passport stamped and so does the other passengers especially from Vietnam. I smiled at the officer and I have in my hand my return flight ticket from Europe just in case if the officer asked me. My instinct is right. The officer asked me few questions:
Immigration officer: Do you have return flight ticket?
Me : Yes! (And I gave the officer the copy of flight itinerary)
Immigration officer: What’s the purpose for your stay and how long you will be here?
Me : Holiday and for 2 months!
The officer looked at me and finally she stamped my passport. I feel relieved and picked my backpack from the conveyor belt and walked through the security and left the arrival hall.From then on, I knew that a new adventure awaits me as soon as I stepped outside of the airport.
It’s windy and chill outside of the airport (Flughafen is in German language). I waited for the bus for my Berlin trip. First time booking a bus in Europe and unsure what to expect. The bus came on time. I was amazed when everything is punctual as scheduled. I could see from far that a green color bus call Meinfernbus (www.meinfernbus.de) approached and stopped to pick up the passenger. It was 9 a.m. bus. The bus driver, clad in white colored shirt and a green and orange color tie came up from the bus with a blackberry in his hand. He asked one by one and finally scanned the bar code on my printed ticket. After that, I put my bag in the bag compartment and went up on the bus and get a sitby the window. Another awkward moment was that the driver drives on the left hand side. The bus is fully equipped with WIFI, electrical sockets, food and hot drinks and also the toilet (WC). After everyone went on board, as schedule the bus depart on time. We passed through Frankfurt and make our way to the auto bahn towards Berlin. More adventures awaiting for me!