(Christmas) Party of One

The alternative title for this post could be – “I am a massive feckin’ eejit”.

Friday night was my school’s Christmas party. Unfortunately, one of my old friends from university was also in town with his parents that day. As usual, wanting to do everything, I arranged to meet them in the afternoon for a drink, thinking I’d still have loads of time to pretty myself up before the party.

One drink turned into, well, more than one drink so I was running way behind schedule when I crashed back into my apartment later that evening. A quick shower, a quick bite to eat and a quick glass of wine with my long-suffering flatmates and I was good to go. I Googled the address, put my free drinks tokens into my wallet and ran to the U-Bahn station.

Free drinks
Free drinks

I thought that the venue for the party was a bit odd – Wittenau is pretty out of the way. But maybe the school had some connection with the area that I didn’t know about. Yes, I was sure that was what it was.

I emerged from Wittenau station just as the heavens opened. Lacking an umbrella and inspired by German engineering and innovation, I pulled a Media Markt plastic bag out of my handbag and attempted to wrap the handles around my ears to keep my hair dry.

Vorsprung durch Technik
Vorsprung durch Technik

Naturally, I took off in the wrong direction, but a helpful passing German turned me around when I stopped to ask him if I was going the right way. I walked along, thinking I was every killer’s dream, as I’d even brought my own plastic bag to help him suffocate me with.

By the time I got to Oranienburger Straße 67, I looked like a drowned rat. But there was also another small problem.

I walked up to the bar and got the bar girl’s attention.

Me: Entschuldigung, das ist Oranienburger Straße 67?

Helga: Ja…

Me: Aber… das ist nicht der richtige Name… (But… it’s not the right name)

Helga: Was?

The guy beside me at the bar was curious now so he joined in the confusing conversation. I showed him the name of the bar I was actually looking for.

Knut: You know there are at least two Oranienburger Straßen in Berlin, right? 

Me: No, I did not know that. Heilige Scheiße. I’ve come all the way across the city only to end up at the wrong bar… oh well, white wine, please. Um, do you think she’d accept these drink tokens?

Knut: Probably not, no.

Me: No, I didn’t think so either.

After I’d got my drink, I took in my surroundings. It seemed that a) I was the only woman in the bar, and b) everyone else was a biker. Having given up on the idea of traipsing back across the city again, I made myself comfortable and settled in for the evening.

By around 3am, I was on first name terms with most of the punters, and Knut was my new best friend. I’d even had a bit of interest in English lessons. All in all, it was great fun. As I’d arranged to go to Dietmar’s for a nightcap, I started to put on my coat (and plastic bag) and asked for my bill.

Knut wouldn’t hear of me paying for myself so he settled the bar tab, called a taxi, and paid the driver in advance so I could travel back to Dietmar’s neighbourhood in style. Don’t you just love Germans?

The next day, I regaled my stunned flatmates with my (mis)adventures. They now think I should have my own reality TV show.

 

 

 

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148 thoughts on “(Christmas) Party of One”

    1. Linda has the luck of the Irish! it must be some leprechaun magic really, how she manages to find friends everywhere!
      btw Im really happy you like Germany and your German gets better too.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you Emmi! Yeah, I feel like I’m making progress! I was talking to two German women for ages yesterday and I could make myself understood and understand around 90% of what they were saying! Delighted 🙂

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  1. I never would have believed this story, especially about you befriending a full biker bar, had I not witnessed Linda In Action first-hand.

    People – this girl can make friends with a tree (ok, maybe not a tree… lightpost?) and have it cover a tab in a heartbeat and bond forever!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Did it remind you of Telecom Italia trying to find your address? 😉
      Maybe you can wear a Sainsbury’s bag around your ears – I’m not promising you’ll look as sexy as I did, but it’s worth a shot 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, I had to promise everyone that I’d go back again but… it really is very out of the way! We’ll see 🙂
      Knut was pretty nice alright! And he was a huge fan of Ireland – a lot of Germans seem to be actually! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Two streets with the same name in one city? That’s just asking for trouble!! So much for German orderliness (is that a word? It is now!).

    I don’t know how you manage to find such talkative Germans though – mostly Germans in bars concentrate on their own friends/the people at their tables and don’t even look at anyone else, except maybe people they recognise as regulars (some of the Germans in “our” Irish pub have started saying hello to us now). Maybe it’s a Berlin thing?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. We’ve been going to that pub for 4 years I think.

        It took over a year of commuting before people on the train started to say good morning to me. German commuters do not speak… or at least only in exceptional circumstances (when the 4 day strike was announced there were actual conversations between strangers at 7 a.m. A miracle!).

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Wow, 4 years! I think I’d have broken them before that! 🙂
          I do see commuters striking up random conversations here but I take the train at different times most days so I don’t see the same people every day – or ever! My neighbours are super-friendly though – they always say hello and smile. Took a bit of getting used to after LV! Yours?

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          1. When I see my neighbours they always say hello. I don’t see much of most of them though. They seem to be home at odd times.

            I never go to the pub alone so I’ve never felt the need to force random Germans to talk to me 😉 Usually we’re there for the quiz anyway.

            Liked by 1 person

              1. Oooh, I’m intrigued now 😉

                My neighbours regularly take in parcels for me, which means they must be there while I’m at work, then I spend DAYS ringing their doorbells to get said parcels bcause they’re apparently never in between 6 and 8 pm!

                Liked by 1 person

                1. We get all of the parcels in our flat because we’re closest to the front door and someone is usually in – our hallway looks like a post office backroom some days!

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  3. Reading this I almost feel like I have spent the evening with you – just about the same thing I would have done (and have done in Oxford where some of the pub names where sounding same to me and mixed meeting places several times). And great to see that German boys haven’t lost that sense of helping and making sure you get home safe 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, just a total gent who wanted absolutely nothing in return – quite shocking really 😉
      I’m glad some other people have done the same thing! Pub names in England are so samey! Easy mistake to make!

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  4. That slogan on the Media Markt bag is a truism of the ‘water is wet’ and ‘fire is hot’ level. Of course I can get the bag full if I want, it’s not like anyone has a bag-filling impairment, or something.

    Oh, and having several streets with the same name is a terrible idea. Do you see any news of Berlin postmen hanging themselves? ’10 Go Postal in Mass Suicide over Insane Street Names’. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, not yet but give it time! I know streets in different cities in Ireland have the same name (like in LV), so you’ll have an O’Connell Street in several places, but not in the same city as far as I know!

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      1. Yes, I think every large enough town has a Brīvības or Rīgas Street here, and no, they’ll just rename streets here if there are any clashes.

        In defence (so to say) of the Berlinese administrators I suspect that the repeating street names come from the towns incorporated at some point into the city, and that everybody have been too lazy or haven’t had enough balls to do something about it.

        Or could it be a East/West Berlin thing?

        Liked by 1 person

              1. It does feel that you might be practising the sentences less with the new system, but I think that it it’s just an impression. You still repeat stuff when you make mistakes – and you repeat proportionally to the number of mistakes you’ve made, not because you were unlucky and made 4 instead of 3 mistakes (particularly infuriating if it’s because of badly-sounding synthesised listening tasks, or a bad typo that counts as a mistake like ‘the’ instead of ‘they’).

                Anyhow, it doubtlessly removes most of the frustration associated with the lessons. Hell, I’ve even finished Swedish Adverbs 1 without shouting obscenities. 🙂

                Liked by 1 person

  5. I remember a similar incident involving an Icelandic flatmate of mine and a pub called The Red Lion… I doubt she got free drinks in any of the 600 that must be dotted around London, though she may have been taken for a ride 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, oh yes! So many pubs in England have the same name! So uncreative… The pub I actually ended up in was called ‘City of Westminster’ haha! It couldn’t have looked farther from Westminster!!

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