Or so we thought our train ride was close to being over...
As we were almost to our transfer destination in Hannover at 7:30pm, a voice came over the loudspeaker- in German- telling us our train from Hannover to Wuppertal was cancelled, and we should stay on the current train. Thanks to our friendly neighbors for translating. The train we were on would go to Wuppertal, but just take about a half hour longer.
At around 9:00 pm, we started to see flashes of light in the sky, and some rain. Once we stopped at the Dortmund train station, the rain and wind were incredible, nearly knocking over a girl with her suitcase. When all those outside our train waiting headed for the stairs simultaneously, I knew something was up. Another announcement on our train informed us that we had to wait on this train at the Dortmund train station until the storm passed.
Storm ensues while we are stuck at the train station
All was okay though...people were talking, even singing, and we met a new friend in the row next to us. When we heard all trains in the state of North Rhine Westphalia were ceased until the storm passed, our train offered us all free drinks. We were pleasantly surprised when we realized this included the adult beverages :) At nearly midnight, some of us went into the train station to grab some food, knowing the train wasn't moving for awhile. Right as we got back on the train, an announcement informed us that all trains in the state were cancelled for the rest of the he night, and we had to get off the train. "Uuuuugh" is what we were thinking and feeling, but at least we could just go grab a taxi...or so we thought.
Prost! Free wine for our train troubles
We waited in lines of a ridiculous amount of people trying to get taxis. It was impossible to hail a cab, and they kept ignoring everyone. After about an hour, we realized that some people actually getting cabs had pieces of paper they were handing over. Heidi and I ran back into the train station to get one of those pieces of paper- a free taxi ticket from the Deutschebahn!! We thought we hit the jackpot. Turns out, all the taxis still did not want to drive us the hour and a half to Velbert. We thought it was because they were jerks, but turns out they were jerks who didn't want to drive towards the storm and storm damage.
At around 2:00 am, we decided we would take that hotel room Josh booked for us, but we felt bad because we turned it down 2 hours ago thinking we could easily get a cab ride home. Two hotels nearby were completely full, so we got directions from Josh for the A&O hostel. They had vacancies, and said they would maybe take a free hotel ticket from the DB. So Heidi and I ran back to the train station to get a ticket for a hotel. The guy working said- "go to hotel espanada...50 free rooms, I called 20 minutes ago." And gave us a map. Heidi and I basically started running, thinking this guy was crazy. But it was already 3am, and this night couldn't get any more ridiculous. We made it to Hotel Esplanade, where a very hardworking man was writing up tickets for people coming from the train station to stay there for the night. We easily got 2 hotel rooms- FO FREE!!- and ran back to the A&O to get Sarah and Michelle. The only damage done was a $12 fee at the hostel because Michelle had already made the beds...
Our savior in Dortmund
So off to Hotel Esplanade, where the line was now 20 people long. Thank god we'd gotten in 10 minutes before :) Sarah and I headed up to our room and opened the door. Once inside, I had a strange feeling when I saw a bag in the entrance that was not there when Heidi and I checked it out before... And we sensed a strong malodor. Turning on the lights revealed some train workers' stinking shoes and suits hanging up in the closet. Turns out the hardworking man at the hotel lobby was accidentally double booking rooms!!! Aaah this happened to Michelle and Heidi too. Once we got a new clean room, we locked the door behind us and finally settled in for the night.
In the morning we received word from Josh that we should board a 9:06 am train to Essen and get a taxi from there to Velbert. After 4 hours of sleep, we weren't too pumped to be back at the train station. After the 9:06 train and 3 thereafter were cancelled, we decided to go back to that amazing Hotel Esplanade and stay another night, because all trains were cancelled towards Velbert for that day. Surprisingly, we got another free hotel ticket from the DB and another free night at the hotel!! #livinthegermandream
The next morning, people still waiting for taxis
The rest of the day we spent napping, shopping, snacking, and dining in Dortmund. We soon became recognized as the "Dortmund Four" by the rest of our group safe back in Velbert.