Spring Break in Split, 1988

The highlight of our days comes late in the afternoon, when we spread our dinars out on the bed and count them. Three thousand, four thousand, five thousand. We live hand to bar to mouth in Munich, but here we are rich.

Give us two tickets as far south as we can go, we’d said at the train station. We expected to find beaches, like in the brochures, but there are only rocks and cement. We expected to bed the girls who walk down the boulevard outside the pension every morning, their legs tanned by the Adriatic sun, but they don’t understand a word we say. We expected to bar-hop for a week straight but all the taverns are packed with young men standing around tall tables, elbow-to-elbow, with Tito looking down from every wall.

So we sit by the harbor with a two-dollar bottle of vodka, we eat three-dollar bowls of pasta in darkened cafes, and we count our money.

Down the shoreline a resort hotel rises off the water like an oasis, calling us from its bed of white stones. The cab ride is worth three meals and we spend our fortune in the final night, dropping shots of rum and tequila in a club like those back in Schwabing. The only girls are a team of Russian soccer players who don’t speak English or German or anything else we can fake.

Bar orders are universal, but pickup lines require some measure of fluency.

In the morning, we trade the last of our money for French bread and Nutella as we leave to catch the train. When we get back to Germany we will be poor again.

About the author

Mike Herndon has frequented, and been occasionally kicked out of many of the finest taverns and beer halls of Berlin, Brussels, Frankfurt, Munich, and,…

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Issue 07 · November 2009

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