Grace, If You’re Reading This, You Owe Us a Fucking Beer

Grace, If You’re Reading This, You Owe Us a Fucking Beer

Prost!” Our steins clunk; beer spills over the side and splashes onto my cheap 50-euro dirndl — but I’m too sloppy to notice.

It’s Oktoberfest in Munich and I’m about 12 steins and three cheese kranskies deep.

Katie’s already lived up to our bogan reputation by spewing into her apron. At least she caught it, I guess. So we ditch it in the bin and decide it’s time for home.

Grace from Perth is with us — we’ve been hanging and drinking together for a few days now, or maybe just today? I can’t really remember. It’s day five of the festival and, to be honest, they’ve all kind of blurred into one.

The three of us make our way back to our hostel. I don’t think you could label us any more clearly as ‘obnoxious Aussie tourists’ — unless we had one of those heart-shaped cookie necklaces around our neck featuring a frosted image of ourselves in matching dirndls. Regardless, with the help of kind and sober locals, we somehow make it home without causing trouble.

Earlier that day, there had been a mistake with our booking at the hostel. Katie and I swore we had booked the extra night, but were informed we were getting kicked out. Sick. It was Oktoberfest in Munich, so finding a room was about as likely as one of us getting laid post-apron spew. But as luck would have it, the hostel had found a private room for us to transfer to; we just had to pay 100 euros more — each.

We stumble through the foyer of our 100-euro-per-night hostel, lean on the pizza vending machine for momentary support and eventually collapse on one of the communal couches.

“Wait, Grace where are you staying? Is this even your hostel?” I ask.

“Urgh, yeah,” she hesitates.

She gets all awkward, jumps up and shuffles to the check-in desk.

A kind of weird reaction, I think, but it’s 10 pm and I am ready for bed. We’ve been drinking all day, all week in-fact, and tomorrow we’re headed to Greece. So we walk over to say our goodbyes to our newfound drinking buddy Grace.

“Guys, there’s been a fuck-up with my booking,” she cries. “They don’t have a room. I don’t know what to do.”

With a dramatic flair, she tells us she’ll sleep out front, using her bag as a pillow and jacket as a blanket.

“Don’t be fucking stupid Grace, we’ll just sneak you into ours,” Katie laughs.

“It’s all good, we’ll get brekky in the morning,” I add.

It doesn’t take long for us to crash: Katie and I squished into her single bed and Grace in mine.

When I wake the following morning, I’m instantly confronted by the blinding glaze of our window, which accentuates the pounding of my head. I look over to find comfort in communal suffering, but see an empty bed instead.

We soon find out that not only is Grace gone, but so is our cash, Katie’s bank card, some of our clothes and my dirty washing bag.

“Fuck!”

“Dude, did she actually just rob us?”

Funnily enough, the realisation of getting swindled by a fellow Aussie after kindly taking her in wasn’t even the lowest point of our day. It was just the beginning of a series of unfortunate events.

We share a plate of deli meat, sliced cheese and bread for breakfast, the staple of dirty-dingy European hostels. It does little to lift our mood, but it’s free and well, we don’t have any cash. As we debrief on whatever just happened, my mind reminds me of our flight.

“Katie, what time is our flight?” I ask.

“11.”

“What time is it now?”

“Nine.”

“Fuck!”

To the train station we rush, my suitcase’s broken wheels acting as inconvenient as ever. Our brains are working at two percent capacity (the result of a week’s worth of abuse), meaning they take much longer to decipher our route.

But finally, as the train begins to slide away (us inside), I see it sitting there right in the middle of platform 3.

“Katie, your suitcase you dickhead! It’s on the platform.”

Now we are split, probably on opposite ends of Munich. I’ve been waiting at the train station at the end of the line for nearly an hour. Katie jumped off the train before I could drag my case out from beneath the leaning tower of tourist bags.

It was literally one stop… where did she go? Did she go to the airport without me? What if she’s waiting for me there?

Of course, I have no phone. I broke it on day two of our four-month trip.

I tell myself I’ll wait for three more trains.

One… two… three…

I’m walking up and down the platform scanning the windows of the carriage when I spot Katie huddled in a corner seat. I knock down the window and it’s a reunion better than the promise of Season 11 Friends.

We sprint upstairs to the outdoor platform in pursuit of the Flughafen express.

“Two minutes! We’ve missed it by two freaking minutes!”

“And the next one’s another 17 minutes away. 17 minutes too late.”

Across the road, we spot a taxi, a mode of transport usually too boujie for our budget — if only we had cash.

“Excuse me, how far to get to the airport?”

“40 minutes,” the man replies.

“Nah, yeah, nah. We need to get there in 20.”

“Autobahn?” he suggests. I spot his cheeky smirk in the rearview reflection.

Danke, se! Danke se!”

We climb in and hang on for literal dear life. I swear this dude is going 140 miles.

As we approach the airport, Frank (as we so affectionately came to know him)  asks, “Fräulein, Terminal 1 or Terminal 2?”

Being the people we are, we have no idea. With no time to check before the turnoff, we figure it’s a 50/50 chance.

“Terminal 2.”

It was Terminal 1. Eventually, we race through our terminal and spot our check-in desk. We might actually make it!

“I’m sorry ma’m. This flight closed for check-in 50 minutes ago. There is nothing I can do.”

It’s the tipping point for Katie and she breaks down in tears. The startled flight attendant begins to ferociously type. I can’t tell if she genuinely cares or is just desperate to shoo us away.

“Wait, give me five minutes. I will see what you can do.” (Germans: they get shit done.)

One hour and 380 euros later, we’ve got new tickets to Athens departing in 19 hours with a seven-hour stopover in Thessaloniki. We buy a litre of Gordons, a pen and an empty book. Sitting on the airport floor whilst sipping on spiked Macca’s lemonades, I begin to write this story. My pen touches paper.

Grace, if you’re reading this, you owe us a fucking beer…

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