It was Saturday night in Berlin, and Lauren and Marieke didn't feel like going out.
But my mascara was on, my boots were at the hotel door, and I was ready for some German adventure.
So! I decided to go out on the town by myself.
Phoneless, friendless, and fearless, I walked out of the lobby into the crispy night air and felt a pang of excitement. Here I was, venturing into this European city alone. I had already picked a bar I wanted to go to before leaving the hotel, so now it was a matter of navigating my way there.
I turned right and made my way to the "U2" train as Common sang into my ears from my iPod. According to the map, if I took that train to "Warschauer Station" I would be close to my destination, "Gluhlamp Bar."
When the subway pulled up to the platform, I walked on it like I owned the place.
It was so wierd...it felt exactly like Toronto, only the subway car was smaller and people around me were speaking german. It was so strange to hear voices without being able to understand anything!
About 10 minutes later, I came to my stop. I walked outside, looked at my map, and picked what I thought was the right direction.
Turns out, it wasn't, and I ended up looking for Gluhlamp for a good 20 minutes. For 15 of those 20 minutes, I found myself all alone in a dodgy, dark back alley, with nothing but the sound of my boots echoing as they clicked on the cobblestone.
"Kimberly, honestly," I said out loud. "This was a stupid idea. You go out in a foreign city by yourself and now you're going to get kidnapped."
At this point, I decided to go into a nearby Billiard's bar to ask for directions. The bartender just told me to keep going in the way I was headed.
So I did. And despite my scepticism, and to my great relief, I soon came to the bar I was in search of. SUCCESS. Let the foreign fun begin!!!
As soon as I walked in the door, I immediately felt a whole bunch of eyes fall on me.
"Woah now," I thought. "Either they smell the Canada on me, or I'm too dressed up for this place."
Indeed, it was a rather small joint with wooden floors and red walls, kind of like a mini Mod club, for those Toronto folk reading this. I took off my scarf, and proceeded to the bar.
I really had no idea what to order, so I just went for the local brewski and got a Berliner Pilsner - which turned out to be the size of my face - and headed to the middle of the room.
There I was, Kimberly Ivany, on the dancefloor, holding about a litre of beer, out in Berlin.
As I was pondering my state, a man made an announcement by the DJ table. It was in German, so I just smiled and laughed along with everyone else. Right after he left the microphone, he started handing out free glasses of champagne to everyone!
"Well! This place is rad!" I thought, as the man gave me a knowing nod and handed me the drink.
A guy named Ravi started talking to me after that. I told him how I'm from Canada, he told me how he's from Germany, and we talked about random things like the age of which Canadians can drive cars.
"Well, have fun!" he told me before heading to the bar.
I moved to another place on the dancefloor. If I wanted to meet people, I would have to be the one to start talking - loud and proud in plain English.
"Excuse me, do you know what time the subways close?" I asked a guy in a white shirt.
He didn't really understand what I was saying, so it was a really broken conversation. But eventually, he posed the question:
"How did you hear about this place?
"Well, the guy at the hostel told me about it, and it sounded like a cool place when I read about it, so here I am!"
"Oh!" he said. "Because, this is a private party for that guy over there!"
Oh. Sweet. Lanta. I just crashed a German birthday party.
"IIIII am SO sorry," I said with my hand on my head. Although I couldn't help but laugh. Of all the places I could have gone to in the city, I chose to come here and be the un-invited guest of honour.
The guy in the white shirt pulled his friend over, who was wearing an orange shirt, and said something to him in German. They started laughing too. No one was prepared for the presence of a little Canadian girl tonight!
"How about I introduce you to the host!" said Micheal, the orange shirt one.
HA! By this point, why not??
"That would be great!" I replied.
As we walked over to the bar where the birthday man was sitting, Micheal told me his name was Christoff and his birthday was on January 13.
"CHRISTOFF!" I exclaimed when we found him on a bar stool, "Happy belated birthday!!!"
I don't actually remember exactly what he said, but I do remember his facial expression. It was a look of pure confusion.
We shook hands.
"My birthday was on - "
"January 13th, I know!" I said with a smile.
"How do you know that??"
"Micheal told me!"
"You know Micheal?"
Micheal glanced jokingly at his wrist.
"For about 10 minutes now!"
The girl sitting next to Christoff started laughing. I started laughing. Micheal then explained that I was from Canada and heard about this bar from the guy at the hostel.
"I just wanted to say thank you SO much for the champagne and I hope you're having a GREAT night."
I think Christoff then said something like, "I like her!" or something else non-chalant in German as he took another swig of his beer. Either way, Micheal suggested that I might as well stay.
So I did, and danced away to Micheal Jackson, Kate Nash and "Praise You" by Fat Boy Slim.
After about half an hour, I decided it was time to continue by adventure.
"I'm gonna head out now Micheal," as I put my arms into my coat with my beer only half-dranken by my feet. "But thank you SO much!! Maybe see you in Canada sometime!"
"Have fun in Berlin!!!"
Oh, I DID!
I left the bar and went back out into the cold night with my mile-high beer bottle in hand, laughing all the way back to subway station.
Happy belated Christoff, this story's for the grandkids.