(If you missed part I, start here)
It is something you never want to waste time on, while on a holiday. May be you have the insurance cover, but it is way too much paperwork to do while on travel. It jeopardizes your plan too and you will have to pull out those plan Bs. So I desperately wanted our car to be just around the corner for whatever weird reason. May be Brugge people are so cool that they move your car to a better parking place. But my surprise valet is nowhere to be found.
The taxi guy was surprised and visibly concerned that we wanted to go to the police station instead of the Brugge square or to whatever the place those whose car ain’t missing might be going.
Lots of different things on my mind while we were in the taxi on the way to the police station, but Mari just remembered the one thing that was not on my mind. I do not have my original passport with me at this moment. Dayum! Without delving into the details, let’s just say right now and for a few days to follow I do not have my original passport (Warning: Stunt is reckless and performed by experts. Do not repeat at home). We did not want to go up to the cops and deal with that, instead of the more pressing matter at hand. So this is what we will be doing – I’ll be waiting right outside with all of our luggage, while he goes inside, talk to the cops, like a boss and walk out in a short while, preferably with the car keys.
I started to get antsy. It wasn’t supposed to be this long. I did not get any text from him either. Last thing I want is for someone who doesn’t speak English good to find me suspicious and ask for my passport. Just when I was losing it, I saw Mari accompanied by two of the cops coming out, heading to the cop car. Before I could make anything out of it, they left without a word. I was going through the longest two minutes of my life when my mobile popped – ‘Don’t wait there for long. Leave. I’ll text later’. Leave? I have more luggage than what is appropriate amount for one person to be dragging around on the streets of Brugge. I can may be call for an Uber but I don’t have a specific place to go to. I’m better off walking.
With nothing much to do I thought I would spend the rest of my day watching this engineering marvel of a bridge go up and down. But unfortunately the novelty of it wore off in about five minutes. Lucky for me, there was a beer shack just right across the bridge. As they say, best European vacation days are spent in the breweries. Well, at least I say.
About 3 beers later, my mobile popped again. We finally know where our car is.
(back to) 11:30 AM
(In the words of Mari)
On an otherwise dull day the cops were a bit more enthusiastic to see me than I expected them to be. Assuming right away that a brown colored person cannot possibly be from around there, they asked for my passport for id verification. I guess nothing much interesting happens around Brugge for the cops that they were glad to solve the mystery of a missing car. They made a few calls to cross check the towed cars that day – a Suzuki Baleno did’t come up. Just then, the third cop joined the other two to provide a theft angle to the problem at hand. Their visible enthusiasm to the prospect that the car might have been stolen was disconcerting. They seem to even know who are local ‘professionals’ who might be interested in a Suzuki Baleno. Very well convinced that the car is stolen we decided to follow the trail from the ‘crime’ scene.
Cops looked unnecessarily pumped up about this investigation. They really must not have had any interesting case in recent times. Not that I was complaining, but they were uncomfortably speeding while approaching the b&b place where we parked the car. They might as well have turned on the emergency lights to go with it.
Our b&b host must have felt bad at the situation that she was quite helpful, explaining it to the cops. It felt reassuring that the cops seem to understand the situation better, in Dutch (I think). We looked around the place, the roadside where we parked, the near by road construction crew patching up and their truck moving around. The cops did the math and made a few calls again, which left them smiling and also a tad bit disappointed that it was nothing more than a case of a towed car. Apparently we were a hindrance to the road construction crew.
What a wasted half a day, but hey – all is well that ends well! Did I say we just got a parking ticket the previous day in Leiden, Holland, so we were actually extra careful about parking in Brugge?
We did make the best out of the rest of the evening of the fucking charming fairytale town, before heading off to Luxembourg. We had to skip Brussels though in all this fiasco.