I have decided to document a portion of my recent "inter-planing" trip around Germany and Croatia. Before you begin to read this, however, be warned that it is a tale fraught with danger, bad luck and rich German bastards.
Do I sound bitter? Does it sound like I'm a little irked about all the money I forked out for my holiday? This is not my intention, I assure you. It would be understandable, however, for me to be angry at the cruel hand that fate that decided to deal me but truthfully I'm really not. You must be confused by now, what could have happened to him that was so dire? To be honest, I'm exaggerating the story- it wasn't all that bad. I just love to moan. Wait'll you hear though; those of you with a weaker composure may feel the need to cry. Those of you with a much crueler demeanor may feel the need to laugh. Rest assured though, I prefer the those of you in later group.
The story goes like this, I arrived in Berlin on the something of whatever month it was at some kind of time and made my way to the hostel alongside 8 of my closest friends/people I'd met the previous week (delete as necessary). Once bags were dropped, beds were allotted (I got the short straw but don't worry, it gets worse) and dodgy food was consumed we settled down to what was to be the main focus of this 2 week jaunt- alcohol.
Before I get into it I want to pause to mention that after this first meal 6 of my traveling companions suffered a great deal for the next few days. All manner of urgent trips to the toilet were made to too few toilets for too many people. I would have laughed, obviously, but I was in a much worse state.
Anyway, back to it. We started the night's activities with a rousing game of Kings. Anyone who has played this game can testify to how much alcohol consumption it tends to lead to, as for anyone who hasn't played this game- I would recommend that you stop reading now, go get a deck of cards, some booze, some buddies and proceed to get completely arse over tits.
After the game of kings and a few more mandatory jars we made the move for a bar crawl that was starting a few blocks over. I should be honest when I say that this crawl was hardly the most entertaining night of my life, had it been things might have turned out differently for me... but I'm getting ahead of myself. The thing about this bar crawl was that it was somewhat sparsely populated. After chatting with the Australian blokes and making my way through the small offering of talent one by one (no luck) I found myself with nothing to do but drink heavily. This is something that I excel at, or something that I'm terrible at depending on your definition. Needless to say, its not something that I'm proud of.
So I'm sitting at the bar, the last stop bar, the last chance saloon so to speak, and myself and one of my drinking buddies have exhausted all opportunities and our wallets. The decision is made, somehow, to make our way back to the hostel and I can only assume plunder the remainder of the beer we all bought earlier. Obviously we don't get that far and I should stop now to mention that this is where my memory gets a bit fuzzy. I remember walking down the stairs out of the bar and going to cross the street back to where my hostel was. It turned out that I was actually going the wrong way but that's besides the point. The point is that as I made to cross said street I looked the wrong way and some German captain of industry decided to take it upon himself to pull out into traffic in his big shiny Mercedes phantom penis like he was playing Gran Turismo.
I remember being very aware that I was on the ground but only vaguely aware that I had been hit by a car. What actually happened was that the car ran over my foot. You should see my shoe, it looks awesome. Anyway, when I realised what had occurred I stood up and made an effort to leave. Obviously this was stupid as I had just been hit by a car but your mind will suggest strange things when in a crisis I guess. Anyway, my escape attempt amounted to me managing to stand up and look dazed. The Ger-Man that was driving the car was already out of the car and attending to me. I assured him that really I was OK while thinking to myself, "I'm fucking awesome, I just got run over and it doesn't even hurt! Maybe I'm Wolverine or something?"
In the midst of my pondering the guy, his name was Chris by the way, suggested that the police be contacted so that the accident can be put on record. I thought, "Aye, why not. Chris is a good guy. We'll get this sorted and then go for a pint". So the fuzz shows up on the scene and they are total dicks. No surprise really but they side with the guy that speaks German. They were also nice enough to present me, the guy who just go run over, with a 10 Euro on the spot fine for jay walking. Charming.
At this stage my friends Steve and Joe have showed up. You see Chris, no not him, the guy that left the bar with me is also called Chris, well Chris has phoned Steve's mobile phone because he has no idea what to do in this situation. Except Steve has left his phone at home in Ireland with his brother, who's called Chris by the way- seriously, you couldn't make it up. Anyway, Chris has phoned Chris to try and get through to Steve to tell him that some German Chris has ran over Matt, that's me, and to come quick. Anyway, the message gets through and Steve and Joe come running. Got all that? No? Fuck it.
At this point I should let you know that Joe is the angry type, it doesn't take much to get him pissed off and German Police are, as it turns out, like a red cape to a bull. He starts yelling at them for siding with German Chris and about how they can't allocate blame when neither party has been given a breathalyser, a blood test or even a simple sobriety test. All of this is being yelled at a German cop in English and part of me is thinking that he kind of has a point but the larger, much more rational part of me is thinking, "Shut the fuck up Joe, you know that I'm drunk and it's a fairly safe bet that Car Crash Chris isn't".
I somehow manage to escape the situation and hobble back home, my foot really hurts now, with 2 guys holding me up most of the way. I now have all of German Chris' details and he has my first name and my mobile phone number. Sure enough, two days later I get a call from the man himself. I've left out the whole part about me walking a mile and a half to the hospital the next day and getting treatment because other than the fact that German Hospitals are ridiculously efficient, there's nothing of much interest worth mentioning. Oh, I fractured my 5th metatarsal and had to wear a cast for the rest of my 2 week holiday, did I leave that out? Yeah, that sucked. Anyway, I get a call for Chris and he's giving it stacks about how there's damage to his car and it's my fault, blah blah blah. I manage to get rid of him by telling him I'll talk with my insurance company later that day and that I'll do my best to see that he's compensated but I can't promise anything. I dodge a few questions about contact details and get him off the phone. Needless to say I'm now sweating bullets about having to pay for whatever made up damage I've caused a Mercedes so I seek out advice.
The resounding advice that I receive from my compatriots is basically "Fuck him, you'll be out of the country in 8 days" and it is advice that I take to like a fish to water. Over the course of my trip where I complete another bar crawl in a rented wheel chair and manage a walking tour of Munich (to name but two of my amazing feats of strength and tenacity) I have to field more of Christopher's text messages and ignore a few calls but it becomes a running joke. He's not getting a cent.
The moral of this story is two fold. One, never say die- if you break your foot on the first day of your holiday it would definitely be a viable option to cash in your insurance and book an emergency flight back home to your mammy but I promise you that you'll lose out. Obviously I lost out on some experiences and if I could go back and avoid the car I would but that's not to say that my trip wasn't memorable. Spirit of adventure and all that.
Lastly, if you take nothing else away from my tale, remember this simple advice. If you're in trouble in a foreign country- get out of the fucking country!