I had a full meltdown on this day. But, it had a beautiful ending.
I was traveling from Brussels Central Station to Bremerhaven Central Station on this day. It is about an 8 hour trip, with 4 connection trains. I had anxiety over this trip for a day or two leading up to it, because I didn’t want to get stranded or end up on the wrong train. When I get stressed, I shut down. I have a hard time re-focusing to complete the task at hand. It is a flaw, and I am working on it A LOT with this trip.
I made it to my first train with no problems. I sat for an hour and a half, and arrived at my first connection. My ticket stated that I would get off at platform 3, and head to platform 2. I had 6 minutes in between trains. So, as advised, I headed to platform 2. The issue with this specific train station that I hadn’t run into before – it was SMALL. There was no confirmation anywhere that I was at the right platform to head to my next connection train, except a paper itinerary which AT THAT TIME I didn’t understand to read.
(I now understand how those maps work, and am confident this train disaster wont’ happen again because of it)
So, I waited, and waited. Alone at this station, in the rain. Not another soul in sight. 5 minutes after my train was SUPPOSE TO LEAVE, it never arrived and I obviously knew something was wrong. The issue was, there wasn’t anywhere I could see to go and talk to someone. This really was a small town station.
Eventually, another train arrived and I asked the conductor “where the fu*k is my train?!”, and he advised me it had been canceled, but to go over onto Platform 6 and another one would be there in an hour. So, I did and I waited.
The train finally arrived after what literally felt like a year. I got on and was SURE that would be the worse of my trip to Bremerhaven. Although now that I was getting on a later train, I knew I would miss my other connections. But, I also knew once I got to the next train station (since it was a main one) I would be able to calmly re-calibrate and figure out how I was going to get into Bremerhaven.
But, that didn’t happen.
I arrived at Aachen Central Station. This is where I learned to read the posted paper arrival/departure maps. I had no choice but to teach myself so that this wouldn’t happen to me again. I found a train to take, and it was arriving in 10 minutes. “Perfect”, I thought. But, not perfect. I waited on the platform, and again five minutes after my train was SUPPOSE TO LEAVE, it never came. I found someone who spoke English who told me “They have been making announcements that your train was moved to platform 5″…..Great, but I don’t speak German so how the hell was I suppose to know that….
And then, it happened…..
I LOST MY SH*T.
It’s what happens when I feel like I have a lot of pressure on me. I was tired, cold, lost. I didn’t know what the hell I was going to do. So, I cried. In the middle of the train station, like a little bitch, I cried. I wasn’t scared or sad, I was just frustrated.
But it ended up being the best thing that could have happened.
Once I was able to pick up my dignity from the ground where it went with every tear I cried (I am an adult, I swear), I decided – this is enough for me today. I am going to find a hotel and I am going to stay here tonight and figure it out tomorrow. So, I did just that. Ultimately, this trip cost me A LOT of money between the duplicate tickets I had to buy, the hotel for the night, etc. – but it was so worth it because I got to explore Aachen. Oh, and I got to learn how the arrival/departure maps work which has really been helpful on my other adventures so far!
After a hot shower and some bomb-ass sleep at Hotel Stadtnah (which I will write a review for), I realized how lucky I was to even be on this journey and I didn’t want to look back and think this was all for nothing. So, when I woke up the next day, I explored.
And, I fell in love with Aachen. Stay tuned.