I must be getting old.
In my youth, I would embark on travel to a strange land without a care, without a map, without a destination, walking and exploring aimlessly, hopping on and off trains without a thought (including one very scary ride at the tender age of 20 from Luxor to Cairo all by myself). Now, I feel like I have to study, learn and understand every inch of Berlin before I even set foot on German soil. So I have spent countless hours poring over guidebooks, websites and street maps in an effort to familiarize myself with the layout of the city, the attractions I might want to visit and the relationship of my hotel to every place I am even considering visiting. I have made lists of places and addresses, and marked up my street map to within an inch of its life. What happened to that carefree youth of yesteryear?
Maybe it's age, or fear, but maybe it's just that I know I won't have a whole lot of free time to see anything, so I want to make the most of the time I will have. In the meanwhile, I have a fantastic and comprehensive list of the places I'd like to see and the walks I'd like to take, and an annotated street map that will assure I cover as much ground as possible in the most efficient manner I can.
I'm willing to share this info with anyone, or even ask you along on the adventure, if you ask nicely...
Here is a photo of my beautifully annotated street map, which I can't help sharing with everyone.
And in 48 hours from now, I will be winging my way with 35 of my dear friends to a foreign land for a great new adventure. Old, perhaps, but never too old for something new and memorable.