Thursday, December 6, 2012

All that for €0,10?

Today in Amsterdam I parked my car to get lunch and came across the worst parking meeter I've ever seen.  I walk up to it expect to just put some money in and get a ticket...not at this machine.  First think I noticed was that it did not even take coins (or bills).  So I touched the screen to start...first thing "fill in your license plate number."  I'm like WTF??  Of course I did not know what it was so I had to go back and check.  While doing that and coming back there is now a line of two people at the machine.  The first guy took literally 2 minutes to get a ticket.  Al least the next girl got hers relatively quickly.  Now it was my turn.

I typed in my license plate number then it asked me how many hours I wanted.  I only wanted 1/2 hour but you could only increment in multiples of 1 hour.  Whatever, I pressed '+' to make it go from 0 hours to 1.  Then I noticed that it only cost 10 frikken cents per hour!  What the hell is the point to go through making people wait in a line and install this elaborate system where you have to fill in your license plate if you're only going to charge people 10 cents?  Wow!  So I put in my bank card and paid the €0,10 and got the above receipt (I smudged out the plate number) to display in my window.

The whole process took about 5 to 10 minutes from me having to go back to my car, wait in line, and then go back to the car again to put the paper in there, and what all did the city of Amsterdam get from me for this?  10 cents!!!  Ridiculous!

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Took the day off from work on Friday and hopped on the ICE over to Düsseldorf, Germany to check out the city and also finally see a German Christmas market that I've heard so much about.  The train ride was a short 2 hour and some minute journey and was relaxing with the reclining seats and a good book that I am currently reading.  Upon arrival, I walked to my hotel only to find that they overbooked and had to send me somewhere else.  Luckily they had a partner hotel not far away so they sent me there and paid for my breakfast and minibar.  Not bad, but I would have preferred to stay in the hotel I booked since it was cooler than the one I ended up in.  O well.

The city was bigger than I expected and had a lot of good shopping.  Apparently the street they call Kö is the Champs-Élysées of Germany.  I did end up buying a nice jacket so I was happy about that.  The Christmas markets were actually all over, it was not just one.  The food and drinks were pretty good and it was basically the only place I ate while I was there instead of going to a restaurant.  I would recommend a German Christmas market to anyone that's interested.  They really take the time to make the whole city look great so it's worth the trip.