Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Chelsea in Hofheim

Monday, November 4

Monday morning, we packed our bags yet again and headed towards our LAST ride on our Eurolines bus pass. We couldn’t be happier to be finishing up. I think I am going to do an entire blog on why you should avoid Eurolines at all costs. But anyway, we headed to the station and got on the bus. 

Unfortunately, it had neither power sockets or WiFi. We actually got on a little late, and most people had already boarded and gotten seats. There were no sets of seats together left, but I asked some French girls that were sitting across the aisle from each other if they were traveling together, and they offered to move so we could sit together. So, we disembarked heading towards Frankfurt.

The trip was boring and long. Despite having had some incredibly long bus rides, they all suck and they all feel like they will never end. I finished reading Ender’s Game (which, for the record, I much preferred to the movie). We arrived in Frankfurt at the main train station around 8:30pm and celebrated as we got off the bus with a happy dance and a decision to ritually burn our passes. (I’m sad to say, that never happened. I cleaned out my purse the next day and threw them away without thinking....)

We headed into the train station to find the train we needed to take to get to Hofheim, Erin’s town. First, I looked on an automated ticket machine. I typed in the destination, but there were about 4 different variations of Hofheim. So, we spotted a woman who looked official (thanks to her walkie-talkie). We asked her which Hofheim was correct, and she told us Hofheim am Tamus (something like that). 

I headed back to the ticket machine, chose the correct station, and was then confronted with two different ticket variations. They were the same train, which I’d already selected, but one said “via Wiesbaden” and the other was “via ohm something-something”. Once again confused, I clicked on each, seeing that there was a big price difference. The Weisbaden one was over 7Euro each, while the other was about 4Euro. On the way here, the ticket was about 4Euro, so I assumed that was the correct one. But, to cover our bases, I had Romeo go ask Official Chick again. She said the Weisbaden one (the more expensive).

I was pretty sure that was incorrect, so I decided to go ask Information Desk to be certain. I stood in line for about 5 minutes before Romeo spotted a sign for a live-person ticket desk (the line I was currently in did not sell tickets). We went in search for that, but apparently it doesn’t exist anymore, since we walked the length of the train station with no sign of said desk.

I headed back to the Information desk and finally got to the counter. The friendly German woman at the desk gave me a blank stare and asked, so sweetly, “Yes?” (Obviously, I’m being a bit sarcastic here. The woman was colder than an icecube.) I patiently explained our confusion, just like this, “I need some information; we are trying to get to Hofheim...” (no head nod, nothing...) “Um, Hofheim?” She snaps back, “Yes...?” and gives me a very irritated look and did a hurry-up hand gesture. I swallowed my annoyance and continued, “Yes, at the ticket machine there are two options with different prices. They have different via stations, so I need to know which to choose.” She turned to her computer and asked something that I didn’t hear. “Excuse me?” Huffing, she repeated herself. Once again, I couldn’t understand. I smiled and blushed and said “I’m sorry, I don’t understand.” She then puts on what I can only assume is her version of an American accent and says, “What are the two ‘via stations’?????” (I felt like she actually said it with 5 question marks, too). By now, I am really trying to control my frustration with her attitude. I replied that one was Weisbaden, the other I did not know how to pronounce, but started with ‘ohm’. She LITERALLY rolled her eyes and typed into her computer for half a second before saying, “That one... Not Weisbaden.” Just to push her buttons even more, I gave her my most winning smile and said with just a bit of sarcasm “Thank you SO much.” 

We FINALLY bought tickets, but then had to figure out where the train was leaving from. There was no clear indication on the ticket, so I compared the departure times with the departures board and found one that matched and seemed to be right, so we headed there. There was a notice saying the train was running about 15 minutes late, so we grabbed some Chinese to-go. A train rolled into the platform, but after everyone got off, no one got on and the sign on the front changed to say something about night (several other non-occupied trains on platforms said the same phrase). I assumed that meant the train was done for the day. I finally saw a conductor in the train and asked him “Hofheim?” He replied “Nein!” He must have seen my face completely fall, because he then responded in English “You must take the S8 downstairs.” 

I couldn’t help it; I was beyond frustrated. No one could give us consistent information and it seemed we were going to be stuck in the station indefinitely. It was already 9:15pm, our train supposedly left 20 minutes prior, but who knows which train that was supposed to be. We headed downstairs to the subway system and I found Hofheim listed on the board. It was the S2 train rather than the S8, so I was a bit confused. We checked the map and I was pretty sure the S2 was correct. Of course, that one had literally left about 1 minute before we confirmed it was the right train, so we had to wait another 17 minutes for the next train. By the time we got on the train, it was after 9:30pm, and we’d been trying to figure out how to get home for over an hour.

I was actually a little worried that the tickets we bought were for a different kind of train, and that if we were checked, we would be told that our tickets were not valid. I was too exhausted and my brain too fried to do anything, though, and we held our breath. Thankfully, no one checked and we disembarked at the correct station after about 20 more minutes. We lugged our bags to the closest taxi and I showed him Erin’s address. He nodded that he knew where to go, and 5Euros and 4 minutes later, we pulled up at the closest thing I’ve had to home in over a month.

We got inside and Erin’s mom welcomed us back. Erin was still at work, but we had a bite of food and a glass of wine with Moe (Erin’s mom) and regaled her with some tails of our adventures. I practically fell into bed that night after Erin got home and we caught up a little bit. 

The rest of the week was pretty lazy. Erin worked doubles at the restaurant most days, so we only got to spend time together after work and on Wednesday when she had a break. Mostly, I sorted through my clothes and parred down my suitcase contents. I had too much stuff, and wouldn’t be able to fit it all. We also drank a lot of wine, ate some amazing meals Moe fixed every night. We had a fun night with Erin on Wednesday, but fell asleep pretty early most nights. I worked on some photos from our trip, regretting the 33GB of photos I took. And, I relaxed, and it was amazing. 

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