Booted in Haarlem

One helpful hint for driving abroad is to avoid parking infractions. In Haarlem, Netherlands, several years ago, we found marked spaces with few automobiles and no instructions that we could see. But when we returned from the Franz Hals Museum, in the rain, there was our car — booted. As the rain grew heavier, we had to walk all the way across town to the police station to sort matters out.

Apparently, it was necessary to purchase a ticket from a machine about two blocks from where we left the car. Even if there had been instructions, it is not likely we could have understood them. The police were sympathetic but felt justified in requiring payment of the equivalent of $100.

Since we had rented the car in Brussels, the license plate was Belgian and the Dutch traffic warden had assumed the driver knew the rules.

Once the violation was in the computer system, the police would not release the car until the fine was paid. We walked back in the rain.

Cambridge, MA