There and back again

Dusseldorf Travel Blog

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I caught a midnight train from Dusseldorf to Aachen where my car was parked.  I left the train station thinking, "Just take a right out of the station, then go left along the road."  This would have been fine, but it is not what I did.  Instead following the curve of the road to the left, I actually made a left turn.  Then I spent an hour or so walking around Aachen wondering where it all went wrong.

So I finally found my way back to the road that curved left.  I still had a kilometer and a half to walk to get to my car.  When I finally arrived, I got another pleasant surprise: the parking garage was now closed!  I looked around and found a separate entrance that was a small 4mx4m glass structure that was just big enough for an elevator and a set of stairs.
  Relief at last!  Well, not quite.  These doors are locked as well.  Ah ha!  I see that there is a small electronic scanner next to the door.

So digging deep into my brain for the German I learned 16 years ago, I read the sign: "Insert parking ticket to open door."  Never in human history has a "woohoo!"  been followed so closely by an "oh, snap!"  It seems that I left my parking ticket inside the car.  It is now 02:30 and I'm thinking to myself that I should have been home in 30 minutes instead of figuring out how to get to my car.

I finally gave up on the car as it was very late I was starting to get tired and my feet were pretty numb from the cold.  I start looking around for a hotel to spend the night and finally a spot of luck!  There is a hotel just 50m from the glass parking garage entrance.
  So I go to the hotel night desk and on the way I see an elevator that is marked as having parking access.  Hhhmmm....  My mind's 3D imaging raises it's hand and says, "Hey, if the elevator goes down to park, that is the same general direction as your car."  And so it is!

I ask the night desk attendant if he would help me out and open the elevator so I can get to my car.  He says, "Sure, I can do that."

So I'm finally in the garage and quickly into my car.  I find the exit and pull up to the ticket reader, which is about the time I realized I still had not paid for the parking yet.  Ooops!  So I start driving around the garage looking for the vending machine to pay the ticket.  There are none!  What the heck?  I can't leave because I can't pay.
  Myabe I have to pay at the hotel desk?  No, that wouldn't make sense because this is also a public parking garage.  Oh wait!  I saw a snack vending machine at the top of the stairs in the glass structure.  So out of the car, up a few flights of stairs and VOILA!  There's the ticket machine!  I open my wallet to get my money.  Grrrrrr!  I only have 5Euro left, but luckily I keep a few Euro coins in my car.  So, back down to the car, grab the coins, back up to the ticket machine and I am home free!  Not so fast buddy!  The ticket machine refuses to accept my 5Euro bill and I don't have enough coins.  Gads!!  Will this night ever end?  Luckily, the ticket machine lets me pay with my bank card's chip.

Back in the car with freshly paid ticket in hand I can FINALLY get on the road back to Belgium- at 03:15, when I should have been walking into my apartment had the trip home gone as origianally planned.  I arrived home a little after 05:00 and it felt like my eyes were about to melt out of my face.  But even with the (mis)adventure getting home, I still had a great time in Dusseldorf.  And of course, I still had the excitment of the NYE Mega-meetup in Amsterdam just a few days away!
belgian_tom says:
isn't traveling just fun :D
Posted on: Apr 09, 2009
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photo by: Chokk