Ok, had ergens anders al het hele verhaal gepost over mijn ervaringen met de NS vandaag. Vergeef me dat ik het niet vertaald heb naar het Nederlands, maar na een week met gemiddeld 4 uur slap per nacht en het onderstaande te hebben meegemaakt hoop ik dat jullie begrip hebben voor de situatie
Looks like I am the first one to arrive on this forum after a wonderful and unforgettable week in OsnabrÃ¼ck, but did not expect it after what happened today.
I hope everyone had a good trip home, got home in one piece and on time, because we were less fortunate....
Some of you might remember that the Dutch railroad was (and still is) on strike in the Netherlands. It happens every now and then and usually it doesn't affect me too much, but today it was really horrible.
What happened you wonder perhaps...if you really want to know, continue reading, if you don't, click the back button on your browser now
At 8:54 we caught the train at the station in OsnabrÃ¼ck (which in itself was hard enough because of the great time in the disco which caused us to be in bed late or not get in bed at all) in the direction of Deventer (The Netherlands). At Bad Bentheim we were stranded, the train would not go any further.
After calling a cab company (in the best German I could, which isn't all that great) a Mercedes stationwagon arrived (Busses didn't go to the Netherlands as we were told). Try fitting 4 people with each a big suitcase and 1 or 2 bags of handlugguage in a car like this...it is possible, just don't ask me how.
We were all set and ready to go to Hengelo, where we would be sure we could either catch a train or be able to rent a car, it was one of the bigger cities in the Netherlands... On our way to the Netherlands we got stopped by the police when crossing the border (because of the foot & mouth disease) who asked for our passports...we could just see the taximeter running and our passports being somewhere in the bottom of the suitcase which were all so well fitted together in the trunk of the car. When he realized we were Dutch and were a victim of the strike he was lineant with us and let us pass without searching all suitcases (which didn't contain any of the blacklisted goods anyway). We could continue to Hengelo, where we arrived only a few moments later.
In Hengelo we unloaded our lugguage and figured we could catch a train which was supposed to run once every hour...wrong again... Every hour they would decide whether the train would or would not run...it didn't...as you probably had guessed already. The idea of renting a car originates from earlier this week and we thought we could arrange for a car easily, being back in our homecountry and a big city where we were sure they would have a car rental agency where the allow one-way rental (Hertz or Avis do this).
We didn't know who to call or whom to turn to. We asked several people who might be able to provide this service, we got 5 phone numers, of which 2 were disconnected, one not in order yet and 2 who didn't provide the one-way service (and we really didn't feel like returning the car all the way up north). After calling my father who looked up the general info number, we were able to call to Deventer where the closest one-way-rental service was provided...
To get to Deventer we had to go by bus. The bus was ready to leave at the time we decided to take the bus. We entered the bus and then realized not all of us had valid bus tickets. The bus driver was generous enough to grant us some time to get them, but I had to hurry, because he was running late already now. Of course when I arrived at the desk and wanted to pay for the bus tickets, they told me cash only...so I had to run for the ATM and withdraw money quick.
When I finally got the tickets I ran back to the bus, who just drove off...my heart pounded and I thought he would really leave without me...but he had to turn around and met me half way...so we were off to Deventer...which took us about 90 minutes, all crowded up and our suitcases moving back and forth in the bus because of the many bends in the road and sometimes abrubt stops.
In Deventer we thought the nightmare would be over soon, after all, we had phoned ahead and were told it was only a 10 minute walk to the rental agency....not quite.
I don't know how fast the guy who told us this can walk, but it took us about 40 minutes...But there things were looking more positive, two cars were ready and waiting for us and after we signed the forms we were finally set to go....by now it was half past three.
On the way back we heard on the radio there were many queues of traffic and we could see it coming...stuck in traffic as well... Fortunately it wasn't all that bad, we were able to avoid the biggest traffic jams and finally arrived home around 6 pm.
A trip which took us only three and a half hours on the way over there, took us over 9 hours on the way back...You can imagine that we were not all that happy about it in the end, but we were glad we made it back home after all.