This post was contributed by Ben Brown.
As I’m a student, I don’t have that much free time to see my best friend (Danielle). We’re super close, but in terms of geological location, not so much. I live in Newcastle and she in London, but we have this whole concept that it’s cheaper (and usually) faster to meet in a different country than for one of us to face the Megabus. On a cold October night, we were chatting on the phone, arguing about which of us was going to take one for the team and brave the bus. I made the dangerous decision to just ‘look’ on Skyscanner to see if there were any cheap flights. We found £21 tickets to Frankfurt (bless up) and booked it in an instant, expecting to fall in love with a cute German city and not cute boys.
So… a pretty rooky error – we both got flights to Frankfurt Hahn NOT Frankfurt am Main that resulted in us having to get a 2-hour hot as hell bus into the city, which was full of lovely sights, but it was a brutal journey. When we got to Frankfurt, our Airbnb host was proving to be difficult to contact so we decided to head to the ‘Palmengarten’ – a botanical park in the centre of the city, and my personal 10/10 need to go to experience, because like every other millennial I “like plants” and that’s my entire personality.
Look, I’ll get to me being a messy drunk later but we actually had a holiday as well, so I may as well mention the beauty of Frankfurt whilst we’re here.
On the way to the Palmengarten we wandered through the beautiful fairytale streets of Frankfurt (because every fairytale in my head is based in Germany). We admired the amazing graffiti that felt like such a part of Frankfurt rather than an eyesore. It added to the beauty and colour of the city. The Palmengarten is one of those places that you HAVE to see, it’s stunning. It has everything from a whole land of cacti 10 times taller than me to a beautiful swan lake. Every single area was a photographers dream, and I sure made use of it. I went full dictator/director and made Danielle pose for a shot literally every 7 seconds, and doing my fair share of “TAKE A PHOTO OF ME HERE” shouts. The result? Some bomb looking photos for our Instagram for the cost of £21 *flights included*.
As we made our way through the gardens, we got an update from our host that the flat wouldn’t be ready until 7 pm, but the sky was in it’s ~Golden Hour~, so wasn’t so much of a problem. We spotted a couple who were posing their own photo-shoot, a maternity shoot in the most beautiful setting ever, just underneath the autumn trees by the lake. We offered to trade turns taking photos as every tourist does. It occurred to us after they HUGGED us both for getting such good pics, that maybe when their child grew up and they were showing them the picture, they might mention those (cool) twenty some-things who kindly offered to take their first family photo. Or really, those tired looking backpackers who were posing way too hard for their ‘couple pic’, which btw, didn’t end up so sweet but we had to do the classic British thing of ‘that’s fine, thank you!’
To fill the next hour we watched the sunset over the lake which was one of the most calming moments of the trip (the only calming moment). The best time to explore any city is in the dark. People are freer and fun at night and the bright lights fill you with joy – just be extra safe.
FINALLY, we arrived at our AIRBNB (which was LOVELY, but 6 floors up with no lift, so painful) and unpacked our two outfits as we planned our night. We love a drink, but at the ripe old age of 21, we know we’re gonna need a rest before we are destroyed for the rest of the trip. Hangovers hit us hard if we don’t prepare. We threw our butts in bed and tried to have a little nap. 20 minutes later, unable to sleep, (admittedly – did we even try?) we were showered, changed and were on our way to a club.
Turns out we’d booked our room in the middle of the “club” district, which happens a lot when I’m going on holiday, I must have a 6th sense for it. As we walked through the city streets, full of light and life, I honestly felt so euphoric without even having a drink – I guess travel does this to you.
The important bit – ordering drinks in a new language.
Ordering drinks in Germany? Pretty simple – you get beer.
What’s not simple was the payment system at the bar. You had a sheet paper they wrote your drink on, basically a personal tab (sooooo not a thing in England).
This turned out pretty dangerous because what stops me getting blackout is usually the pain of watching my money running out.
We were in the smallest gay bar ever – but probably the best I’ve ever been in.
I still have no clue what it was called it but it was around the corner from our B’n’B and although it was halfway through November, it was full of Halloween decorations which I fully respect. Every 3 minutes (no exaggeration) we had to duck and lunge out of the way because of the sassiest bartender, an older man with the longest beard, who I thought despised us. He had a constant frown until later he finally smiled when he realized we were one of the few who actually danced around him instead of not moving. During one of my many side steps out of the way, I was hit in the face with two dark brown eyes from across the room.
I’m not sure if it was the bottomless beer, but this guy honestly took my breath away – and it’s rare that happens to me in a club, because Danielle and I go to dance, not to find love. We already have each other, so I forgot about Mr. Dreamy Eyes and continued to dance.
Through the impressive blend of 80s German pop music, I heard British accents in the crowd, and automatically gravitated towards them, just before realizing that they were on our flight earlier that day. I remembered them because they were ordering beer and shots before we had taken off. They were three British, lesbian nurses and were all deep into party mode. Nurse 1 was trying to get every man to fall in love with each other (if only for tonight). Nurse 2, who apparently hated her nurse friends, was ranting to anyone who would listen (me and Danielle). And Nurse 3 had her boobs out from the moment we met them. #iconic
Nurse 2 (let’s call her Jemma) spent our first hour in the club trying to flirt with Danielle and even saved her name in Danielle’s phone with a winky face and “has lots of space ;).” We had no clue what that meant, but with slight hesitation, she half-heartedly flirted back, as Nurse 3 got her boobs out for the 5th time and we realized Nurse 1 had gone missing. Although not incredibly invested, Danielle found out what “has lots of space ;)” actually meant. It means that Nurse 2 and Nurse 1 were dating, so we slowly tried to dance away to avoid any drama.
I dread to think what would’ve happened if Danielle had got with Nurse 2. Because obviously, that would be pretty bad, getting with someone’s partner in a club with their partner is right there. Ammiright?
No longer distracted by Nurse 3’s topless activities, I let my eyes wander the club and “He” found mine again for a second time. Something just compelled m. I never thought I’d ever experience that whole “I couldn’t look away” thing, but here I was. Brown eyes was 6 foot hot with messy dark hair (totally my type) with the most endearing smirk. He signalled by flicking his eyes – non-verbal gay for “Let’s meet over there.” We made our way over to the cloakroom where we kissed for a while after a short exchange of names (yeah, I waited for a name…).
Catching our breath, we talked about our lives; he was a law student who just moved here from Brazil to study at the University of Frankfurt.
There is something so disarming about drunken conversations in another language in the dark backroom of a club. We split our plans for the future. Me: to travel and create animations inspired by the places I go to. Him: to become a top lawyer in Frankfurt and to get married (something I’d never considered but wedding bells were truly ringing in my head). After some more smooching and exchanging of numbers, a ton of time had passed. I thought I should probably catch up with Danielle, so we headed back to the main bar. Brown eyes and I went our separate ways before we left the room, which I didn’t really think weird at the time.
I found Danielle back with the Nurses, doing shots of Jaeger. I caught up with two at once, and we went back to the dance floor. Maybe another hour passed and I had stopped thinking about the stranger I had been kissing earlier in the night. I was full of life and love, twirling to German songs I could barely understand, but the beats were too good not to dance.
Again, his eyes caught mine – flicked.
We were in our little corner of the bar, making out and discussing art and music. Art and music? Yes, I was honestly falling hard. Something was nipping at my brain and I had to say, “Come meet my friend, she would love you!” He quickly responded with, “No.”
I was taken aback – like damn, ok.
“My boyfriend would wonder why I was with you guys”
Excuse me Mr. WHAT. WHO. Could you have not slipped in the boyfriend bomb somewhere between the name exchange and my falling in love?
I was devastated because 1) he’s not single (yes this shouldn’t have been my first thought, but it was. I feel bad but I really felt so strongly about him after such a short time). 2) Wow … id been making out with someone’s boyfriend behind their back. My throat dropped to my feet and I felt sick – I can’t believe id just enabled cheating 3) Danielle’s gonna KILL me!
Of course, I’d love to tell you we stopped kissing there but the excitement of a different country and good beer made me do it. DON’T JUDGE ME.
He said so many things and convinced me to stay in his arms a few minutes more and it felt so nice that it even overcame the gnawing guilt developing.
We made our way back to the dance floor (separately obviously – ☹) and the magic, or the alcohol, had faded and I repented my sins to Danielle, she FLIPPED and said its best we go home – before we ruin any more relationships.
Leaving nurse 1 & 2 to deal with 3’s wild boobs, we left them behind and head home.
Finding staple drunk food of a country is the best. It tells you a lot about the city and one of my favourite people I’ve met was a guy in the takeaway. I tried to order my takeaway in German and failed and the server absolutely ROASTED me. But I got the most amazing vegan currywurst that anyone should try (it’s from the takeaway next to Aldi in the gay district… if that helps? Drunk me does not do well with places and names).
He even did an impression of me trying to say MAYO and forgot to put it in the order. Brutal. But the great thing about attempting a language is no one will ever be annoyed at you failing, and will try to help you… even if it’s mixed with some lighthearted jokes.
Cuddled up in bed eating our currywurst Danielle lectured me about my drunken antics (don’t make me feel worse, thanks) and she told me all about her night and the nurses.
Being best friends for as long as we have we can be quite brutally honest and Danielle gave me a verbal beating about how I always lose my head around any guy who looks at me and that we should have just stuck with each other.
Everyone knows travelling could make or break a friendship and honestly we test that limit every time we visit a new place – still there’s no one else id rather be curled up in bed with eating drunk food at the end of the night.
Everyone knows traveling could make or break a friendship and honestly we test that limit every time we visit a new place.
The next day, we laid low, took even more pictures and actively avoided talking about the night before… whilst my Brazilian lawyer sent me an “I’ve left him, we weren’t working anyway” text to really make me feel like the most awful human. How could I have ruined someone’s relationship in one night?
I had just wanted to dance.
Leaving our sins behind at 2 am with our backpacks full of regret, we headed for the airport. We wouldn’t tell anyone back home what I’d done (except I’m writing this article, hi mom) but what happens in Frankfurt doesn’t really stay in Frankfurt, not when the pictures are this hot.
Getting onto the airport shuttle, we had the most awkward encounter with the nurses and by awkward, I mean… we ignored each other COMPLETELY even though we were sitting next to each other. Danielle just pretended to sleep whilst I stared straight ahead fully aware of them avoiding acknowledging us too, both groups full of shame.
Following this, my man has kept in contact – he messages me a “how are you” every couple of weeks and updates me on his life. And sometimes, he hesitantly asks me to come back.
Honestly, even if it’s not for him, Frankfurt, I most definitely will be back.
Ultimately, the moral of this story time, folks, is when in a strange city with your best friend, concentrate on THAT love story – not a fling with a dreamy-eyed stranger.
Meet Ben: Ben is an animator/artist from the north of England travelling for inspiration from new cultures… whilst making a fool of himself along the way… so now he writes about it. Keep up with him on IG.