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Reepermark: Tales From A German Red Light District

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reeperbahn red light district germany hamburg

This summer, I went backpacking across Europe with two friends of mine (which, if planned correctly, I can’t encourage you to do enough). We went all over the western part of the continent, spending just over a month there. With every city we visited, we would see the major sights and go on day trips from the morning to the evening then would flick a switch at night and try to teach Europeans that binge drinking can be done with the kind of gracefulness only ever rewarded with (mostly) false accusations by the local police.

One of our stops was Hamburg, Germany. Hamburg has a very famous red light/strip club district named the Reeperbahn, and naturally, this area was where we spent most of our time.

The three of us bought some cheap liquor and drank in our hotel before going out around midnight. The other two guys were pretty into the idea of getting their money’s worth in the red light district, whereas I’d never been to a brothel before and didn’t particularly plan on going in one here. One of my friends, Mark, decided that he wanted to build up to the main event and opted to go to a strip club with me first. We both got free entry and walked upstairs into a dimly-lit scarlet room. I was expecting bright lights and girls in cages. Rather, there were just three women dressed in black leather skirts with tape over their nipples. They rose and immediately walked towards us while speaking in English; I guess my “Back To Back World War Champs” T-shirt gave it away. Apparently, a lap dance is €50. I said that was outrageous and voted to leave. Mark, on the other hand is an absolute creep, and genuinely asked one of the girls if that entitled him to lick them. They said for an extra €20, he could do whatever he wanted (which explained the lack of stripper poles). Unfortunately for him, he didn’t have that much cash and wanted me to donate. I told him where to go and started walking out. Suddenly — and I’m not making this up — a tranny hooker who was very much a guy grabbed my wallet from me, screamed enough scary German words in my face to unite a nation and take back Poland, and ran out of the strip club/brothel and onto the street.

My other friend, who’d been drinking in a bar across the road, saw me chasing after this tranny superhero and ran out himself to stop the thief in his path. The guy, with his plans clearly thwarted, threw my wallet into the street then ran past me back inside from where he’d came. I retrieved my belongings and took a minute to process everything that had just happened.

Having just blown somewhere between €50-€69 (he wouldn’t say), Mark came out of the building and rejoined us. I thanked my non-creep buddy for all his help, and we marched on to what we thought was a hotel to plan what we’d do next. What we actually walked into?

A five-story brothel.

Mark and my other friend were happily surprised upon discovering this and started asking about prices. One of the girls came up to me, to which I told her I was just with my friends and wasn’t looking for anything. this place was much more okay with people staying without paying than the strip club, so I decided I’d hang around and chat while my buddies were doing their thing. Plus, there’s something about a 20-something Croatian whore recounting the genocide that took the lives of her parents and led her family (well, what was left) to flee to Germany that really gets me going.

After about 15 minutes, they came back downstairs (ironically, strip clubs in the Reeperbahn are a massive ripoff and brothels are cheap as chips), decided to call it a night, and we went back to our hotel.

Two days later, Mark’s dick started itching and he couldn’t sit down for more than 30 seconds. Other than that, though? No lasting damage. Just a solid story to tell.

Image via Shutterstock

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