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Okay, now my adventure with trains. A week or so ago, I was at a Wohnheim party in Mannheim (point A on the map). A Wohnheim party is a bit like a block party, except the apartment block is full of students. This one was held in the basement of one apartment block, which lent it a fantastic closed in atmosphere, and in hindsight was probably a pretty big fire hazard.

So Aaron (a Newfoundlander), his buddies and I rock up to this party, at about 11:00. The whole fashionably late thing works a treat here, where parties only really get started towards the late part of the evening. Being Australian is a huge asset for me at these parties, because everyone has heard of Australia, and ask the same questions about it, which allows me to rattle off some canned remarks, and then try out my dodgy German on the natives. It's fun to talk complete rubbish to people. That was all fun and games for a while, but we get a bit bored and decide to head off to a club. I go to get my stuff, but somehow manage to leave my umbrella and beanie (A nice one too!) at the party somewhere. A pain, for sure, but not too terrible a loss (Running total for the evening so far, about €10).

We get to the club, party for a bit more, and then decide to head home at about 5ish. A quick stop to get a bite to eat, and we run off down to the train station. A quick glance at the indicator board tells us where we need to jump on platform 9, on the train arriving in a minute. We run up the stairs, and jump on the train just pulling into the platform. By this stage we're pretty tired, but we try to keep awake by having a discussion about the allegedly missing platform at this train station. Every time we count platform numbers, we still end up on platform 10, so it's probably just a myth. The train is taking it's time to leave, so we start nodding off to sleep. Heidelberg (point B on the map) is only 15 minutes away from Mannheim, so I figured I would wake up in time to see the train station.

I keep an eye on each station we're passing, just to make sure we get off at the right place. An hour passes on the train - it's starting to get a bit lighter, and a ticket inspector comes up to check my ticket. He looks at it, and says it's not valid. That's odd. I ask if the ticket isn't valid to Heidelberg. He looks a little confused - and then says the train is going to Karlsruhe (point C on the map), not Heidelberg. At this point, the assorted collection of pennies rattling around in my skull decide to evacuate the hollow cavity and drop. I thought it was a little odd that it was taking so long to get to Heidelberg, but I just put it down to late-running trains. Aaron and I try explaining that we're on the wrong train, and start asking how to get back to Heidelberg. He doesn't believe we've caught the wrong train though. We start arguing. He calls the police to meet us at Karlsruhe. Goddamnit.

I learnt a new word that day - "das Arschloch". It accurately describes this ticket inspector, who insisted on fining us €40 for being on the wrong train. I can understand it if we were trying to game the system, but for an honest mistake, you'd think they'd be able to use a bit of discretion. I'm actually glad the police were there, since they were a bit more reasonable than the Ticket arschloch. So we were stuck in Karlsruhe at about 8 in the morning. Given that we'd just technically paid €40 for the privilege of being in the town (Running total - €50), we decided to just make the most of the situation, and went sightseeing in the town. It's not that interesting. It's especially not that interesting at 8 in the morning. So we catch some trams around, and grab a coffee (Running total - €55)

By the time I got back to Heidelberg (after catching a train back - total cost €65), it was 11am, and I had not had any sleep at all. Since I was in town, I did a bit of shopping (replacing my beanie and umbrella - bringing up the total to €80 - about AU$120!), grabbed the next bus home, and slept all afternoon. Consider this a cautionary tale about how the ticket inspectors in Germany are Arschlochen, and you should avoid interaction with them at all costs if you come here next year. I'm going to fight the fine, since I'll be damned if I'm going to pay for a crime I didn't commit. If Michelle Leslie can get off drugs charges lightly (and she's guilty as sin), I reckon I should be able to beat a poxy train fine.

3 comments

butercup *

Arschlochen, fare evasion, perjury.

To quote Jamie Hyneman: When will the fun ever stop?

captin_nod *

Sounded like an arse of a weekend :( Oh well.. if nothing else, you'll be in London soon :)

Hiren Joshi *

Just to clear things up - it actually was a pretty good weekend, just farcical.

God I miss broadband, I need a fix of Mythbusters.

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