I took a moment to look at my remaining funds. I had ninety Euros left for the rest of the trip. Simon hadn't had money for days, and Flower had eight Euros in change. We needed to get from southern Holland to Paris in less than twenty four hours. A ticket, that day, would have cost upwards of 150 Euros, but we had knowledge and a plan to get to Paris for free...
We stepped on a train from Dordrecht to Antwerp. The only train that went to Brussels and then to Paris. There were three stops before Antwerp. We took the backseat of the train, the one furthest from the ticket collectors and pretended to go to sleep. Well, I pretended to go to sleep...
We made it past the first stop before the ticket collectors were upon us. An older woman and a man, both with looks on their face of contempt...
I reached into the pocket of my hoody. What? There was nothing there. I checked my front pockets, nothing there either. What's going on here? I woke the others...
"Guys, did you take the tickets out of the hotel room?"
"No, you were supposed to grab them..."
I searched frantically in my pockets several more times before turning to my bag. I undid all of the zippers, rummaging through clothing, souvenirs, and food...
"I can't find them. I must have left them in the hotel. Shit, I did leave them on the sink. We were in a rush because we woke up late. Damnit! We bought those in advance..."
"Do you have money?"
"No, our holiday is at it's end. We were just returning to Paris before making our way back to the UK. All of our travel is booked..."
"A credit card?"
"No, I don't have a credit card. We use all cash..."
We handed him our passports. After looking through them, he pulled out his computer fining machine and began typing in our information. When he got the address portion, he turned to me with a confused face...
"I need an address from you."
"It's not on there?"
"No, it only says New Jersey, USA."
"Oh, well, I can give you an address..."
I gave him a nonexistent house number on a real New Jersey street, and a real zip code. He typed in some letters and numbers, printed out a receipt, and handed me the bill...
62.28 to Matthew Brinn
1120 North Ave. 08037 Blue
New Jersey, United States
"You might be lucky. Our address system doesn't match up with yours. Get off at the next stop and buy yourself a ticket..."
"Not a problem. Sorry for the mistake..."
We got kicked off at the next stop, where we threw away our faulty receipts and waited for the next train. Rinse, wash and repeat. All the way to Paris, then from Paris to Lille, then from Lille to Calais. Not a dime was spent, no bills were sent, and we traveled over a thousand miles for free. If you don't live in a mainland European country, you too can travel there for free..:-)
More to come..:-)