It was her first night ever in Germany and she was sitting in a dark, smokey bar in Berlin’s hipster suburb, Kreuzberg. She was accompanied by the strangers she had just met that day at the hostel where she was staying. She hadn’t been fussed about going out, but a fellow Australian had convinced her to accompany him and a couple of American girls for dinner and drinks.
When they had first walked in, a large English buck’s party was leaving. They’d taken one look at her before shouting “Agnetha! Agnetha!” implying she looked like the singer from ABBA. Her blonde hair and blue eyes had always thrown people wherever she went. On the flight over the Air Hostess assumed she was German and started indecipherably rambling to her. Sometimes people mistook her for Polish, even Irish, usually some sort of Scandinavian; definitely not Australian.
There were just enough people in the bar to make an atmosphere which was exactly how she liked it; crowds and drink queues annoyed her. It was a run down, minimally furnished establishment which resembled a large living room more than a bar. She’d forgotten smoking inside was still allowed in some parts of the world as a thick layer of smoke blanketed the top half of the room. There were clearly no smoke alarms in the building. She made a note of the exits.
They had made their way to a group of couches surrounding a coffee table and close to the door. It was good to be near the entrance. Every time it opened it allowed fresh, cold air in and countered the smoke. It was September, but summer was already well and truly over in Europe.
She was too enamoured with getting to know her new friends to notice she was being observed. It was after the fourth round of drinks when the Australian man nudged her.
“That guy keeps looking over at you” he said as he gestured to her right. She sharply turned her head to see another set of couches next to them occupied by six men. When she looked over, her eyes locked with a man’s and she quickly looked away. She shyly looked once more and the same man immediately asked her something in a foreign language.
“Är du Svenska?” which turned out to be Swedish for “Are you Swedish?” She started laughing and told him where she was from. He was shocked and she was intrigued, so they began a conversation from his couch to hers.
He hailed from Denmark. The only two things she knew about the country was that it was Scandinavian and was where Mary Donaldson went to become a Princess. He was an environmental planner for the city council in Copenhagen, into kite surfing, skiing and tennis and could speak Danish, English, German and Swedish perfectly. The only languages she knew were English, Australian, sarcasm and bullshit.
While it was her first night in the city, it was his last. She explained to him how she had moved to London eight months earlier. He wasn’t fond of England, but liked Australia and went on to explain how he had travelled the east coast of the country once to visit a girlfriend who was studying there at the time. She was from the west. Not as many people ventured that side.
How had she not noticed him in the bar sooner? He was a 6’3” blonde with a warm smile and the most incredible eyes she had ever seen. They went from blue to green to yellow. He looked tan in his long sleeve white t-shirt and when she got closer to him, could see his skin was lightly dusted with freckles. To her, he was a modern day Viking.
Why on earth was this man interested in her? She felt he was way out of her league. She was in her mid-20’s, only had a bag of clothes to her name and spent her time wandering the earth. She was attractive but didn’t consider herself a knockout, nor did she think of herself as very mature. Being eight years older he definitely was and seemed to have his life together. She was half convinced he might be a serial killer. The other half thought he might be a figment of her imagination. She needed and wanted someone exactly like him and so he had somehow manifested like a sexy genie. She was grateful though, it had been awhile since she felt a spark with someone.
They were immersed in deep conversation for two hours before the Australian guy and American girls interrupted and announced they were calling it a night. She was so enthralled with the Viking she had forgotten they were still there. They asked if she was going back to the hostel with them. She looked at the Danish man. There was something about him that was niggling at her intuition. It was also his last night. He quietly asked her to stay. She agreed without hesitation.
While she said goodbye to her new found friends from the hostel he went and bought her a drink from the bar. It was some sort of watermelon flavoured cocktail with enough alcohol to subdue a ship full of sailors. It was disgusting. His friends decided enough cocktails had been consumed and enough time had passed for them to gate crash the conversation. Who was this Australian girl talking to their bachelor Viking buddy? She quickly learned the Danish were a cheeky bunch and they were on a boy’s trip before one of them was to become a father.
Everything was going well until the Viking leaned in and said “I have to tell you, you look just like my mother”. Geez thanks, she thought. Talk about a buzz kill. She wished it was a ‘lost-in-translation’ moment, but his English was unfortunately too good. He quickly realised the effect of his comment when she started to withdraw from the conversation. He apologised and explained how it was just a compliment, and that she looked Scandinavian.
He was back in the game.
After a few more rounds the rest of the Vikings set off to find a kebab. No matter where in the world one travels to, the kebab is the international symbol for curing late night hunger.
Once they were alone the Dane took the opportunity to move closer and in one swift, suave move, he kissed her. She melted. At that point she was ready to move to Denmark and have his blonde multi-coloured eyed babies. He was very good at kissing.
After an intense make out session they both stood. No words were spoken, but it was apparent they were going back to his accommodation. They walked out of the bar together and stopped for another kiss. As their lips were locked together they heard cat calls. His friends were gaping out of a taxi stopped in the middle of the road, kebabs in hand yelling at them. Awkward. Four guys crammed into the back seat while another jumped into the boot. German taxi drivers were mellow fellows. The Dane hopped into the front and she slipped in to sit on his lap. With his long legs and her head bent by the roof, it was an uncomfortable ride. His German to the taxi driver was impressive though.
It turned out the Vikings were staying at a Hostel as well. It wasn’t as nice as hers but was larger and had a bar on the ground floor. They’d saved money on accommodation to spend more on beers. It suddenly dawned on her they would all be sharing a room together and there wouldn’t be any privacy. Luckily, the Dane realised the same thing. As the men went one direction down the hallway, they peeled off and went another. It was past 3am by this stage, so fortunately the majority of inhabitants were already asleep.
After trying a number of locked doors to linen cupboards and empty dorm rooms, she was led to the communal bathroom. It was here or nowhere. Now or never. When in Rome she supposed, or in this case, Berlin. It was a small bathroom, just a single shower, toilet and sink. He grabbed her and started kissing her furiously. She started removing both of their clothes. It was cold so they moved into the shower and let the hot water pour over them. Things were getting heated. They were too drunk to realise the shower drain was clogged with hair. It started overflowing, flooding the bathroom and soaking all of their belongings. They were too busy laughing and exploring one another to care. At one point they heard giggles from a couple who had briefly stopped outside to listen to them. She was pressed up against the sink while she looked at him behind her in the mirror. As he slowly entered her repeatedly he touched the front of her softly. It was the first time in her life someone had made her orgasm. Not the ideal setting, but definitely the ideal man for the challenge. She had only ever encountered selfish lovers who never bothered to help her get over the line. She was definitely having at least ten of his children.
It was 5am when they decided to call it a night. He wrapped himself in wet clothes and ran to his room to find her a dry shirt. When he came back he asked her to stay with him. He didn’t want it to end just yet. They snuck into the room and climbed into a top bunk. She found it hard to sleep due to the lack of room, the fact she was in bed, being spooned by a stranger and was surrounded by random snoring men.
She was restless and kept moving around. To soothe her, he started touching her again. By this stage it was daylight. She opened her eyes and looked around to see her surroundings while trying to stifle her moans. The father to be who rested on the bunk opposite them was looking at them half asleep. She saw the flicker of understanding register on his face and he turned to face the opposite wall clearly embarrassed.
A few hours later and after a total of 15 minutes sleep, a chorus of phones began ringing. It was time for the Vikings to get up, check out and fly home. They silently and quickly left the room, bags in hand, giving her and the Dane one last moment of privacy. They were in the middle of very intense sex when a maid walked in. She thought everyone in the room had already checked out and, when realising her mistake, hastily backed out so they could continue to finish each other.
They jumped down from the bunk. There was regrettably no sexy way to do it. She dressed herself slowly, while he packed. The awkward farewell chat kicked in and she hated it. When he was finished packing he walked her down stairs and into the street. It turned out she was only a 5 minute walk away from her hostel. He handed her his business card and kissed her. If she was living in London he wanted to see her again. It was only around an hour’s flight away from Copenhagen. He held her face and kissed her again, told her to enjoy Berlin and turned to make his way to the nearest U-Bahn.
In that moment she had no idea if she would see him again.
Little did she know that she would.
She also had no clue about the chain reaction of events that had just started.
She pulled out a yellow IPod from her bag, fixed the earphones in her ears and put Bloc Party’s Kreuzberg on repeat as she walked toward her hostel. From then on, every time she listened to that song she thought of him, and that one night she had in Berlin with a Viking.