All aboard: Train ride from Hell

Goodmorning you are seated in the Intercity from the NS. First stop: ‘village nobody ever heard of’, final destination: HELL.

Last weekend I had the first national meeting of ESN for the upcoming year. It was situated in Groningen and after a workshop, dinner, pubquiz and party, the actual meeting started Saturday Morning at 10 o’clock. All the fresh looking (uh not exactly) ESN local boards sat through an important meeting (at least for my own  national board).They would determine whether our policy plan and budget would be accepted. Not accepting this would mean that I could go back to the writing table. Luckily everything went fine and the meeting came to an end way earlier than we expected. This was good news for everybody from Maastricht, cause this meant that we would be back early. If life only was that good.

14:00 hrs. We leave the building  and wait for the bus that should appear in about 10 minutes.

14.44 hrs. We arrive at Groningen central station. Our train towards Utrecht departs at 14.46 and about 30 out of 50 students still need to get tickets. Everybody who finished elementary school can (I hope for your sake) understand that 30 people getting a ticket at only 1 sellingpoint in the proximity of the busstop (only feaking 1) will be quite impossible.

14.46 hrs. We miss the train, The most annoying thing was that it was standing right besides us with open doors, while we waited in cue for the tickets.

15:06 hrs. After having grabbed a healthy snack at Burger King, our train, that had to depart at 15:16 hrs, suddenly starts taking off. One of the board members of Maastricht didn’t make it on time, because getting a facial mask at the ETOS in the station was of high priority (??).

15:07 hrs: we feel bad for leaving her in Groningen

15:08hrs: We feel less bad for leaving her in Groningen. It’s starting to become clear that this train will stop at Hoogeveen, meaning that something is wrong. We will have to take a train-bus which will take us to Zwolle. There appears to be a sign-malfunction somewhere in the middle of Nowhere (I won’t bore your with names of small towns). The delay will be around 30-60 minutes. I just love precise indications.

15:42 hrs: We are seated in a retro 1975 bus that luckily took us directly to Zwolle. Half of the other leftover board members ended up in another bus to Meppel, which means that the entire ride ends up taking even longer. Luck is on our side.

16:40 hrs: We go aboard a train towards Den Bosch. Hardly a logical route, cause this means we will have another 30 minutes delay. However, because there was yet another malfunction at Utrecht we decided to take this for granted, cause this way we would not get stuck in Utrecht. Left-over in the train: Me and two board-members of ESN Maastricht (Daisy and Danny) and some ESN Tilburg peepz in another coupé.

16:50 hrs: good afternoon may I have your ticket please. I seemed to have lost my ticket. Life keeps getting better and better. After searching for about 20 minutes (thanks to the patient conductor), I find my ticket next to me. It fell out of my pocket. Damn you pockets.

17:55 hrs: “Ladies and Gentleman, this train will not go further than Oss (1 freaking stop before Den Bosch), because of a collision with a human being. Yes, it is one of those days. Luck slapped us in the face and left our train.

18:18. We depart in Nijmegen taking a stop-train towards Roermond. This way we can see all the little towns on this god-forsaking distance. I adore going on the scenic route after having 4 hours of sleep, a hangover and several delays (I wish this last sentence was true). Luckily my mood is in the ‘I don’t give a damn anymore, let’s see whatever retarded set-back we will face now’-mood. ESN Tilburg has to get back to Utrecht. Taking the train towards Den Bosch was hardly a good choice.

18:38: The train doesn’t go any further than Venlo. We have to switch to another train there. Bitchslap in the face number 4 of the day.

18:45: Daisy gets checked for her ticket. She didn’t check in with her OV-chipcard, because this is not mandatory with the NS. However, we are now taking Veolia, another company, where you are obliged to do so. She gets a notification and all her details will be added to the system. Her mood shifts to that of gremlin after midnight walking outside a monsoon. Me and Danny are still good.

19: 38: We are in the other train of Veolia towards Roermond. We get  checked again. Daisy didn’t check in yet, cause she still has the fine of the last train and assumed that this is counted as the same train. Despite efforts of Danny and me to screw her over into getting a fine, the conductor thinks it’s all good. It would have been the cherry on this monstrous pie.

19:57: We arrive in Roermond. Daisy wishes to rush to get the intercity towards Maastricht in order to get done with this day. Danny and I can’t be bothered less and will take the half an hour delay for granted. We move slowly.

20:04 hrs: we sit in the train towards Maastricht and face the pleasant surprise that the board member that was left behind in Groningen, is in the same coupé we are. This means I don’t have to sit out the rest of the train ride towards Maastricht (Daisy and Danny went out one stop prior) all by myseeeeeeeeeelf.

20:34 hrs: We set foot to solid ground in Maastricht. Just 5 minutes by bike and then I will go and lay on my bed and move no limb whatsoever anymore.

To conclude: 5 trains, two busses. A 6,5 hours journey which normally would take me around 4. A sightseeing tour through the east side of the Netherlands. Yet we still had a good mood and I laughed my ass off during the trip. Will the trip towards the ‘real’ hell be as pleasant as this one? I just hope to have good company then..


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