Attempting to navigate the Berlin transportation system is a fruitless and frustrating process. It’s like they hired 50 different architects, gave them each a section of the city, commanded them not to talk to one another then shoved all their plans together randomly. Not only was I lost, but naturally, I was running late meeting my friend.
While juggling tickets, money and other things as I ran to catch the train, I lost one of my gloves. Literally one of the worst things to happen when the temperature is in the negatives, and I am about to spend the majority of my day outside. Unfortunately, there was only enough alcohol left in my system to give me a searing headache not keep my hand warm.
I exited the first train at Alexanderplatz, which, if you don’t know, is massive and a nightmare if you don’t know where you’re going and need to get somewhere quickly. On top of that, there was construction happening around the time I was there, so not all the trains were running. It felt like hours before I finally found stairs leading to the outside. I had to ask a teller, with the classic sunny German disposition, how to get to the Brandenburg Gate.
“Go right and take the Bus 100.” Was all she said before going back to the important task of ignoring my presence. Vielen Dank!
I exited the way she said, but saw no busses not even a bus stop. I walked to an intersection where, hallelujah, I saw the Bus 100 driving towards me, but then an out of service sign flashed from the top of the bus. This lady had to be messing with me. I was too proud to go back to that woman, so I ended up run/walking the full 2 kilometers to the gate, hoping the bus I needed would magically appear. It did not.
Once I finally made it to the square, some how with 10 minutes to spare, I sat outside a Starbucks, half asleep, trying cure my hangover with caffeine while also attempting to regain some of my dignity. The latter was especially hard when I was unable to fight off a tiny bird from stealing pieces of my muffin. It wasn’t long before the other birds sensed my weakened state and began swarming my table. The pandemonium captured the attention of half the people inside the Starbucks, and I was forced to relocate to a bench in the square.
At this point, I was fed up with the day and just wanted to go back to my hostel and sleep, but my friend, Tristan, arrived just as I was about to leave. He promised me that if the tour was terrible we could skip out early, so I grumpily agreed to give it a try. Besides, free walking tours are one of my favorite things to do in every city I visit.
I immediately perked up when I saw who the guide would be. Man-buns are my weakness, as are beards, and this dude rocked both. He was a certified European man god and also well traveled. I am sure he was also a wonderful tour guide, but I spent more time admiring how the sunlight turned is hair into a beautiful burnt auburn and less listening to his rendition of Berlin’s history. When I did turn my attention to him speaking it was more to enjoy the delicious British accent pouring from his lips than actually digest any meaning. Who cares if his chosen profession happened to be giving free tours, and he looked slightly homeless, I was smitten. It was blisteringly cold, but I could not have cared less about the fact I had lost feeling in my gloveless fingers within 5 minutes of the tour starting. Lust will do that to you.
Half way through the tour we took a little coffee break. I hoped that I would get a chance to talk to the guide, but he was swarmed the entire time, so I just relished the warmth inside the cafe and stared dreamily at him. He did seem to look in my direction several times.
After the tour started up again, Tristan really wanted to know about good places to eat lunch. Instead of asking our tour guide himself, he suggested that I do it and then without warning shoved me into him. I would like to say this was his attempt at being a good wingman, but, no, he just doesn’t like talking to strangers. Luckily, the guide didn’t even bat an eye when I came torpedoing towards him, and was all smiles when I asked about lunch. However, when answering he looked through me and told Tristan all about where to eat. He asked if we had a map and instead of taking mine, which I held up immediately, he rearranged himself in between us, so he could draw directions on Tristan’s map. I quickly shoved mine back into my pocket, mortified. It was like that moment when you wave at someone who’s waving to the person behind you.
After a few minutes, the guide turned back to us, smiling. I started to feel hopeful again, but he turning his attention to Tristan and said, “Has anyone ever told you that you have Channing Tatum’s eyes?” It was like someone had just punched me in the stomach. Also, what a strange thing to say.
The guide then went on to explain he had been dying to tell my friend the entire tour. So it turns out while I thought he looking at me, he was actually staring into Tristan’s famous eyes (le sigh). I was shattered.
He brought it up again in front of the entire group at the end of the tour, stating, “I can finally say there has been a famous person on my tour” (good one) gesturing for my friend to come to the front and putting his arm around Tristan’s shoulders. Outwardly, Tristan looked as if he was dying from embarrassment, but secretly he was loving the compliment. Sadly, for the guide, my friend has a girlfriend, and also had no idea he was getting hit on. I half expected the guide to ask if he could join us for lunch. Thankfully that didn’t happen. My ego couldn’t have taken much more.
So now I know what it’s like to pine for a man who knows exactly what Channing Tatum’s eyes look like.