Bruno had sent me a link to a story on Berghain, apparently one of the most debaucherous, exclusive, and best clubs in the world. I let Bruno know immediately, “I’m not on that level.” I’ve partied with Bruno before, and that dude just keeps on going! He said, “Well, we should try to get in. It’s Berlin, we have to try!”
So after a day of sightseeing, Bruno tells me to research how to get into Berghain. “Go on Youtube.” (Turns out, there’s a fun test to try!) Bruno offers tips like, “Wear black. Don’t smile. Dress well but not too well. Berlin is hardcore.” So after I go back to the hostel, I shower and get dressed in a black dress, my Dr. Martens boots, and bundle up in two light jackets. I put one some purple lipstick for dramatic Goth effect. I ask Google Maps to get me to Berghain, and it gets me to the subway, out of the subway, then has me walk through several empty lots. While walking, I talk to my mother, and I remember saying, “I have no idea where this thing is taking me.”
I see a big empty warehouse building and wonder, “Is there where I’m going to die tonight?” and then I see the line.
I find Bruno drinking near the end of the line. He tells me, “I want to drink, but not too much inside the bar, because it’s so expensive!” I forget that public drinking is legal here! I look Bruno up and down. His shoes are white, his pants are blue, his shirt, jacket, and baseball cap are black. He looks at my shoes, “Red?!” “They’re Dr. Martens burgundy! Everyone here loves Dr. Martens!”
I scan the crowd, and clearly everyone got the memo about wearing all black. Either that or they read the same websites as Bruno did. They all looked like extras from the Matrix.
Or maybe X-men?
So Bruno and I stand in line. The club isn’t open yet, but we can hear music and see flashing lights from one window in the building. As Bruno and I stand in line, I notice him looking over the crowd. “It’s him.” He says under his breath. “The bouncer, it’s him!”
Berghain is a difficult, or near impossible club to get into because of the bouncer, Sven Marquardt.
Sven is an international man of mystery, and it is because of him, so many people get turned away at the door. What he wants and allows in club goers is unknown, so all the advice you find online is legend! Mythical! Nobody knows how to get in, you either do or you don’t!
Bruno becomes clearly nervous at this point. Me? I’m as cool as a cucumber, I expected nothing from this trip, so everything has been a pleasant surprise! Getting turned away from Berghain would be a badge of honor, “I tried!”
Bruno on the other hand, starts shifting his weight, “I don’t see anybody else with a hat, do you think he likes hats?”
I start laughing, “Oh my God, Bruno, calm down!”
“STOP LAUGHING! It said he doesn’t like people who laugh.”
This only makes me laugh harder, and I try to keep the giggles in. “It also said he likes people who speak German, you should speak some German.”
“No…………….. Somebody with a hat got in!”
I laugh some more. [The whole scenario reminded me of one of my favorite animations, about a guy trying to impress a girl character in a videogame, not safe for work!]
That feeling when you really want to impress someone but have no idea what they want!
So as the line keeps moving, the playful banter of Bruno and I grows quiet, and we slowly move through the line. I try to lighten things up, asking Bruno some simple questions, and it seems to help his nervousness, but I doubt it! We see friends made in the line torn apart when one person didn’t get in. We see a group of women, at least 6 turned away, and watch them walk in their heels through the abandoned lot. Eventually we’re face to face with Sven.
Sven is shorter than I thought he’d be, but he is still pretty intimidating. All of the tattoos and piercings on his face clearly indicate that he’s a bouncer that can handle pain! (But they hide the fact that he’s a professional photographer.)
He looks at us, stone-faced behind his sunglasses. He then motions toward the entrance. “You can come this way,” says another bouncer. Bruno and I step into Berghain. A security guard takes our phones and pats us down. “No photos,” he says putting stickers on our cellphone cameras. “Have a good night.”
Bruno and I walk inside and high five.
“WE GOT INNNNNNNN!”
We get inside relatively early for a Friday. The line continues to grow while we watch from outside, and as we wait for the dance floor to fill up, we get some drinks. We chat a little about life, travel, and finding love.
I don’t think I told y’all, but the situationship I left home with fell apart once I got to Spain. It’s left me feeling a little strange. Not everybody can handle or wants someone as wild as me, and I’m trying to understand, accept, and respect the fact that people can change their minds. Being away is typically a burden on one person, and… it sucks for both people…but anyway, Bruno and I were in Berghain. The dance floor was full, we got on out there to dance.
The DJ was amazing, and it was a club experience that I’m not at all used to! There were no highs or lows in the pace of the music, it just kept on going and going and going and going and going and going. German techno is truly beyond my grasp, but for a moment I felt like Rihanna and J Lo and Beyonce all at once.
Bring lasers and smoke machines to hip hop clubs, PLEASE.
I danced for as long as I could, got another drink, danced as long as I could, got another drink, danced as long as I could…. and then told Bruno, “I’m gonna sit for a second.”
The moment, the moment, I sit down, I start to feel the sleepiness coming on. It’s about 3:30 in the morning, and I pull out my cellphone to do some mindless browsing. I feel my eyes getting heavy, and I realize there’s nothing I can do at this point. On top of that, people are smoking inside the club, turning the whole place into a smog simulator. The dancing, the alcohol, and the not-sleeping-in-the-airport-when-I-had-the-chance is catching up to me. I go to Bruno, dodging the men who want to dance with me, and find him still on the dance floor. “Bruno… I’m leaving!”
“You can sleep later!”
“Don’t we have trains to catch?”
“Catch them later!”
“I’m going! Have fun! Be safe!”
I leave the club, walk through the empty lots, catch the train, and go to bed. Bed was lovely.
* * * * * * * * *
I text Bruno the next morning as I check out of my hostel. “You alive?”
Is Bruno alive? How long did he stay at Berghain? Will he and Kris’tina catch their train? Will Kris’tina finally taste some sauerkraut? Find out this and more on the next and last entry in the German Excursion.