Present time: 9pm
Number of hours to stay awake: 9
Ways to succeed: Whatever works
Goal: The Fischmarkt

We walk amongst St-Pauli’s neon signs, hunting for an interesting venue to start our evening. Casinos and Sex Shops compete for customers, their facades alit with fluorescent lights and vulgar animations, enticing partygoers to indulge in all possible vices. Hamburg’s sex district is the one we chose to keep us awake until 6am. Our goal: to make it to the Fischmarkt’s opening.

Casinos and Sex Shops compete for customers, their facades alit with fluorescent lights and vulgar animations, enticing partygoers to indulge in all possible vices.

We head towards an Irish bar, recognised by the bright green neon lettering above the doorway. Inside, the bar is made up of a long thin corridor, a few high tables to one side, a wooden bar on the other. The walls are made of sweating black tiles. At the other end, a band is setting up on stage. I am handed a Guiness. Behind the bar, a barmaid with the longest, straightest, blackest hair hands us our change. We stay lost in thought, singing the latest hits that are tumbling from the speakers. Starting up on our second drinks, the band begins to play. Their set list is a mix of rock classics. The bar is full and all are singing loudly. We join in happily until hunger starts clawing.

We stay just long enough to put our jackets down on a sofa and pick them up once more, a simple action that will have us smelling of stale beer the entire evening.

Hungry for Asian food, we enter a Chinese restaurant. We order too much as famished people do. A buffet of fried prawn dumplings, spring rolls, noodles and white rice, half a duck, vegetables and beef sauté are laid out before our drooling mouths. Our chopsticks grab the food quickly and easily. We swallow the meal with a bottle of red wine. Our appetites satisfied, we stare down at the leftovers feeling a slight guilt at the waste. It is nearing 2 o’clock. I wipe at the spills of noodles around my plate. The server takes away the dishes. We leave the restaurant under a thin drizzled curtain of rain.

Our brisk walk takes us passed a few doormen and into a club where we dance tightly against others. We stay just long enough to put our jackets down on a sofa and pick them up once more, a simple action that will have us smelling of stale beer the entire evening.

I head to the bar with the best intentions of ordering water and come back with a rum and coke.

Attracted by the music like moths to light, we sit in a karaoke bar. We drink Singha Thai beer. A couple sits across us kissing passionately, oblivious to the debauchery going on around them. Someone sings Living on a Prayer and we sing with him, sure to make Bon Jovi proud. Only when our throats are sore do we look for somewhere to dance. There, I hold the tip of his fingers as I twirl again and again like in the rock n’ roll ages. The club is nearly empty. It is something passed 4 in the morning. I head to the bar with the best intentions of ordering water and come back with a rum and coke. I might have drunk it or it might have stayed on the table.

A hazy vision of golden lights lies ahead as the horizon reveals the market.

Outside, the rain is becoming denser. Our energy spent, we lean at a table of a bar chosen randomly simply for the fact that it is still open. Fewer people are on the streets. Girls in sparse clothing are dancing around poles. The song finishes and they exit. The bar will close soon. It is 5.

We walk through the rain, cold yet refreshing. I hide my nose in my scarf and inhale the aromas of old alcohol and dead cigarettes. We are equally drunk and tired. The night sky is turning a lighter shade of dark. Birds are waking up. The streets are unoccupied. We are a small bunch of 5 or 6, all walking in the same direction; the Fischmarkt.

Seagulls sing to the vendors. We buy tall coffees from laughing men and lean in the orange glow of the market.

The Norderelbe River appears. The smells change to ones of dampness and earth after a night of rain. A hazy vision of golden lights lies ahead as the horizon reveals the market. Tents are lining up to the festive auction hall, a beautiful building of red bricks and sparkling windows. Seagulls sing to the vendors. We buy tall coffees from laughing men and lean in the orange glow of the market. Vendors slowly start calling out for attention selling everything from fish, sweets and fresh fruits. Chilled by the cool morning wind, we head inside. A band is performing on stage as vigorously as if they were playing a sold out concert. The long wooden tables that make up the center of the hall fill with people drinking a morning coffee, enjoying a last beer or savoring pancakes and fish sandwiches. As I remain alone waiting at the table, I fall asleep for what seems like ages. It is only 20 minutes before I am joined once more and we sip another hot drink.

Exhausted and barely standing, we leave the Fischmarkt behind, the sun following our footsteps towards a cozy bed.

             

The Writer

I write stuff for fun, if it was for a living I would be homeless.

Find out more about me, Stefanie, here.

Quotes

I like the French language, but not the one from Quebec, it's like French but dirty.
'Hey girls, where are you from?'
'Quebec.' Guy on bus