Man, this day was for the fucking birds…Eurotrip Adventures!

Dan, outside of Koen's. Feeling (just guessing here) like a pack of dogdicks

We got up at Koen’s house at some ungodly hour. We slept about 2 hours total, I believe. We took the sandwiches that he’d prepped for us (I really wish I had the video of Koen, drunk in his underwear slapping nutella and/or cheese haphazardly on slice after slice of bread) and got a cab to the Bruges train station. This was gonna be a big day. First, we had to take the train from Bruges to Brussels, where we’d catch the train that terminated in Frankfurt to Koln. From Koln, we’d have about an hour and a half to kill before we caught the train to Hamburg. This was, easily, the most complicated day of travel on the whole tour.

We got on the Brussels bound train and passed out immediately. We woke up just outside Brussels. We were tired and bleary and stoked to get on the Frankfurt train and pass the fuck out for real. We had something in the neighborhood of just under an hour to kill, so we set about trying to figure out which track our train departed from. After the Lille train incident, we weren’t about to get burned again. The board was no help. Everything was in French and there were no employees to ask that weren’t sitting behind windows on the other side of huge, static lines of people. Ever since the shitty line in the Paris station, we were doing out best to never, ever stand in one of those lines again. We used a little deduction. We got out a map, tracked down the type of train we were supposed to be on from our tickets and studied the departure times. Our results: this motherfucker was leaving from track 4 at 1022. We went up to track four and found a chart that confirmed this, with “Frankfurt” helpfully written in red, to highlight that this was the track where the train to Frankfurt came. To be safe, we asked some of the people on the platform. A conductor came up. We asked him. We were in the right spot, hanging out with about thirty people, all of us on our way to Frankfurt.

Sleeping on the way to Brussels

At this point, we’re like 6 minutes from when the train is about to depart and a tiny commuter train pulls up on our track. We ask, unbelieving, if this is the train to Frankfurt. Dan is insistent that it’s not. “Look at that little sumbitch” he said, “there’s no way that thing is going all the way to Frankfurt.” He definitely had a good point. A few people on the platform asked the conductor on the tiny train if it was, in fact the Frankfurt train, and the conductor confirmed that, in fact, it was not. We continue to chill. Suddenly, it’s like 2 minutes until the train is about to leave. The commuter is still there and I start to get a bad feeling. “Dude,” I say to Dan, “something is wrong here. Our train should be here by now.” Dan said “Don’t you remember what the dude yesterday said: ‘the trains are never early, but sometimes they’re late.’” I said, “no, dude. This track should be clear. This little train should not be here. Something is wrong.” I looked at the time. It was 1023. I started to sweat. At that point, some station conductor came up and hollered “Frankfurt train?” Everyone on the platform looked up expectantly. He pointed across the way to track six and to the large, international looking train that had a LED display that said “Frankfurt.” Everyone made a mad dash down the stairs, across the gangway and up the stairs at track six just in time to see the train pull away.

The train just went to the wrong track. There were no announcements; there was no warning. There was not a single person at the station in Brussels who boarded that train. That should have struck the conductors on the train as odd, no? But it didn’t. As a result, there were about thirty of us stranded, all furious, all freaking the fuck out. I told Dan “we need to get down to the office to figure this shit out, because every single one of these people is gonna need to make impromptu plans and those lines are slow as shit.”

We booked down there, and found ourselves in line behind an awesome couple who were also supposed to be on the Frankfurt train. They were an extremely swishy American black guy in a Crocodile Dundee hat, a purple tee shirt, pleated docker shorts and a bunch of really skinny, shoulder-length braids and his ‘traveling companion’ who was a white, old, tough looking wiry German, not dissimilar to a 60 year old, Teutonic Clint Eastwood. He was wearing a sensible short-sleeve button up, sensible safari shorts with a large belt, socks, sandals and a no bullshit haricut and attitude. We began chatting with these dudes as only people brought together by being stuck in a horrible line after a deeply painful bureaucratic assfucking can. They were furious. They were furious with all the glory of a hardassed German and a slighted gay black guy who were NOT in fact gonna be shirtless and sipping Pina Colada’s in their cantina by the predetermined time this evening because of someone else’s ineptitude. Their fury was awesome. The entire platform of displaced would-be-travelers to Frankfurt had filed in behind us. The scene was, to put it mildly, a classically huge bummer.

Black guy began fanning himself with his hands to calm himself down and started pacing. Meanwhile, German guy just stared at the tubby woman behind the window, waiting for his chance to shine. When his turn finally came, he raised his arm, pointed at the heavens, invoked all of the travel plans of all of us sorry bastards behind him, bellowed unapologetically, called the intelligence entire operation there in Brussels into question and generally let fly while black guy sat there and grinned that “See, don’t be fucking with Gunter,” grin that is either so awesome or so fucking irritating depending on what side of it you’re on. Unfortunately, the woman behind the counter was French and as a result, she didn’t give two cold shits about any of this. She handed him (and then us) a pre-stamped envelope that we could use to file our complaints and generally told us all to get fucked. We asked if we could rebook a new train for as soon as possible and she said, “oh, you’ll be fine. Just get on the 125. Oh, that’s sold out. Just get on the 330. You won’t need a ticket.”

This was horrible salve for our wounds because as I already mentioned, we were making a series of connections that would all be completely fucked now that the Frankfurt train decided to go wrong-hole on us. We decided to take a train to the other station (we were in Brussels Zud. There was also Brussels Midi and Brussels Nord), because it said that the 130 train left from Central, which we assumed was just another way of saying Midi. We were gonna go there, explain the classic asspound that we’d gotten at Zud and try to appeal to the compassion of the fuckers over at Midi.

On the train over, Dan and I talked about how we needed a German. This French whimsy and lack of giving a fuck about everything was really, really wearing on our nerves and threatening to completely derail our tour. “We need a German. They’ll at least know what’s going on, give us the hard answers we need and generally put a few load bearing beams in this sloppy, nebulous mess of a situation that we have here.”

Well, we showed up at Midi and it was pretty weird. Dan got on his phone to see about renting a car, and I went outside where I found an “explore Brussels” kiosk staffed with young, freshly scrubbed colligate types who spoke very little English and didn’t know their panties from a pack of venomous snakes. I asked them about renting a car and they gave me a brochure for the old timey Brussels automobile club. Shit was getting serious. We were pissing away our time. Hamburg was VERY far away and nothing was getting done. Dan’s phone call proved equally fruitless as he was quoted 700 Euro to rent a car from an unknown destination, which didn’t seem practical or affordable. We stood in line at Midi. Once we finally got to the front of the (as usual) insanely long, motionless line, the woman shrugged and said “sacre bleu. I am not ze international office. Go zere” and pointed to a door and a different subsequent line.

We walked in the international office and right away, a giant burnout greeted us, a la Walmart if it only hired dudes who knew every word to “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming.” Things were looking up. We approached the desk and the guy greeted us and SON OF A BITCH! He was German. His attitude was refreshing. “One sirty train? No chance. Keep dreaming. No way. Sionara. You get on ze 330. It’s ze only way. Go to platform 4. Every train on platform 4 goes to Central Station. From there, you can catch ze 330 to Frankfurt.”

This wasn’t helping us get to the show on time, and it also highlighted another little bit of confusion.

“Uh, wait. This isn’t Central station?”

“This is Midi.”

“That’s different?”

“Of course. It goes Zud, Midi, Central, Nord.”

“Okay, one last question. Is there any place around here you know of where we could rent a car?”

“Oh, yeah. At Central they have Hertz, Europecar, everything.”

on the road again

We hauled ass to platform 4 and jumped into a train that was pulling up. We were disheveled as shit, to put it mildly. At Central, we jumped out and after an almost Dumb-and-Dumber esque journey around the massive, mazelike station, we found the place that rents cars. We ended up getting a great deal on a top of the line 2012 Audi station wagon with fully AI GPS and all the trimmings for only about 250 Euro. We loaded into the car, shocked shitless that anyone on earth would lend the two of us this amazing car to drive over 2 international borders and ditch in a parking garage half a world away.

The first thing we did was get caught in a loop going around and around the station for about fifteen minutes while we tried to suss out the subtle differences between Belgian and American driving. In Belgium, apparently, you just have to not give a fuck and absolutely hate your fellow motorists. We got on the highway, and we giggled and talked about how we were gonna eat Burger King and generally patted each other on the back for being so good at handling adversity. Finally, we were on our way to Hamburg.

minor inconvenience

Now, let me put this in perspective for you once again: Here are two very tired, very stinky men in a luxury 2012 Audi with every single available feature cruising down the Belgian highway, then down the Dutch highway and finally down the Autobahn. There was never a point where we stopped looking at each other and saying “dude, what the fuck? This shit’s crazy!” We passed into Holland and stopped at McDonalds and fuck me if the girls that worked at this Dutch McDonalds weren’t the best looking McDonalds employees on earth. Every single one of them was gorgeous and sweet and spoke excellent English. I know there’s a lot of talk about America being the best country in the world, but one trip to the Dutch McDonalds at the offramp right by the middle of nowhere should be enough to stuff that idea back up the ass from whence it came. The food was hot and lovingly prepared (QPC for me, QPC no pickles for Dan). The coffee was spectacular, the help, oh man…the help was fantastic and they even had free wifi. It was the first high point of the day for sure.

By the time we got into Germany, we were making decent time. Dan drove and I turned the AC really, really low so I wouldn’t fall asleep on him. We listened to the radio and it was fucking terrible the entire time. Dan had the car on cruise control at a cool 140 mph, but because that car and that highway were made for speeds like that, it wasn’t nearly as terrifying as it sounds. We tried to roll down the windows and the wind was so violent and loud from going so fast that we ditched that idea almost immediately only to see a dude in a convertible with the top down blaze past us like we were standing still and COMBING HIS HAIR in the rearview mirror as though that’s not A) dangerous as shit and B) a complete waste of time.

Things didn’t hold out very well for us though. First we hit horrendous construction that brought the Autobahn to a dead stop. THEN it started to storm. We were driving down a single lane, uneven shoulder and it was raining so hard that we couldn’t see 2 feet in front of the Audi’s hood. It felt dangerous even though we were going less than 10 mph. We contemplated stopping and saying ‘fuck it’ but there was no place to pull over. It was crazy. When the weather and the construction finally cleared up, we were back on our way but only for about 3 miles. At that point we ran into the Hamburg rush hour, which was dismal.

Hamburg's beautiful outskirts

We got off the highway and took some back roads (thanks to our state of the art GPS) across some rivers, by some cooling towers, down some lonely avenues until we mercifully arrived in Hamburg, in the Reeperbahn, at the club. The street was jamming. The promoter came out and told us “oh, there will be no parking because there’s a huge festival going on right over there. Sweet. At this point, a bunch of people rode by on a bar. It was a full bar, with stools, a bartender, a tap and a keg and it was on wheels and everyone was pedaling and drinking and it was pretty much the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. Miraculously, we found parking right down the road, we loaded in, we soundchecked. The sound was great, the room was gorgeous and the show went off without a hitch. After a LOT of Frenchness, it was real nice to be around the Germans.

The show ended and Dan and I went and checked into a hotel, then went out for some beers. Hamburg has lots of hookers and strip clubs and stuff like that, so it was some pretty interesting walking around. Did you guys know they’re making slutty women with huge tits now, for example?

Told you. Beautiful room. Good times.

We posted up at some bar full of weirdos and drank a few weird little beers before cruising back to the hotel, briefly watching the free porn that comes on in Germany during late night and passed out. We were both excruciatingly exhausted after such a ride, and we were gonna have to return the rental car and do all sorts of wacky crap like find the train station and book all our tickets the next morning. Shit never ends, man. Sheesh.

Tune in tomorrow for our adventures in Berlin (or Berlintures! Heyo!).

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Man, this day was for the fucking birds…Eurotrip Adventures!

  1. Bozo says:

    It woulda been kinda funny if maybe you n Dan and 4-5 of the other Frankfurt track patrons had maybe mobbed the random conductor who suddenly came up and yelled “Frankfurt” questioningly as though shit was perfectly normal and just, ya know, beat him to death or something. Ya know, killed him. It’s kinda funny if ya think about it, if you’re not stupid or something. Boy howdy I sure hope manboooooobz says something positively hulaaarious today~!

    • manboobs says:

      Hi, man. What are you maundering about? As of next week, I’ll be carrying around a picture box with the fucking gross gangrene foot, the shitty smile, or the sick kid on it. I’m saying nothing positive… 🙁

  2. car painter says:

    Why are dutch girls so hot. Has anybody seen the dutch olympic field hockey team. Its a whole team of hotties.

  3. Nick says:

    We have those pedal taverns in Milwaukee. You get to bring your own beer on board too, which is pretty awesome and then you sort of just pedal from bar to bar drinking beer.

  4. Greg says:

    I saw one of those pedaling bars in Charlotte, NC last week. Only one dude was riding it. It was equal parts awesome and sad.

  5. kanthackit says:

    Sounds like a fucking wild time.. Thanks 4 sharing man you’re an excellent storyteller..

  6. 3X Krazy says:

    I dunno, I think maybe the ‘700 euro’ rental quote was the funniest part of all this for me? I mean, that’s…nearly 900 dollars. That’s fucking insane. Am I missing something? That just how they roll in Brussels, or, did they think he wanted to rent the car for three months? I dunno, it’s just funny as shit I guess

  7. 3X Krazy says:

    Also, on the topic of $, this is mighty inappropriate but I kinda get the notion you and Dan have got plenty of dough? Like in a good way. I dunno, I just cant shake that between you and your respective wives yall have real healthy incomes. I just enjoy the idea of you guys havin plenty of money I guess. That make sense? Like, the 700 euro shit woulda been no thing if push came to shove? That kinda shit. Not Bon Jovi rich but ya know, but, able to summon serious funds in a pinch and nothing but the finest scotch. I want you guys to have money, is all. If this economy had your balls in a vice thatd be ok too, but I want you guys to have (lotsa) money? I really mean it, hard to explain.

  8. Stir Crazy says:

    “Did yall know they’re making slutty women with huge tits now?”
    lulz

    Also holy shit yall, Bad Santa 2 comin next year. I know, made my day too

  9. karrot says:

    Also, did you really mean 140 mph or 140 km/h in the Audi? Even the latter is fuckin fast compared to American speed limits…

  10. Coon says:

    I drove you guys to the trainstation to be correct, and you called me the king of Bruges (thanks!) but hey, could as well have driven you to hamburg directly, what a shitty trainventure! But Audis are just badass!
    When you, by any chance, are back in Bruges I’ll happily slap you some drunken sandwiches together! And we should get some cheesebooooorgers!

Leave a Reply