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Brussels Airport… From Hell

Posted on Friday, 11 January 2008 at 23:06.

Exactly 7 days ago, by this time I was on my way home from BucureÅŸti. I didn’t get home until 3:30 in the morning.

The first delay became apparent when Oana called the airport: because of the heavy snowfall the airplane was delayed from 13:15 to 16:00; I would have to appear at the airport at 14:00. So fortunately I got to wait the first part at home.

The trip to the airport I made by taxi; the 20 km cost an hour, with traffic driving slowly. It cost 30 lei (about €8 or $12). The airport turned out to be extremely busy. MyAir didn’t know yet what desk I had to check in at; they would notify us.

About half an hour later we heard we could check in at desks 9 and 10. I could see them ahead, about 20m away. But it took at least an hour to reach it:

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Checking in itself was easy and fast. Then passport control, and then waiting at the gate. Băneasa Airport has three gates: simply three glass doors in a row. I had no idea which gate to wait at, and the room was crowded again with people waiting for their plane to leave. About two hours later we heard we could board at gate 1. A bus took us to the plane.

Then in the plane, we waited another half hour for 8 people whose luggage was in the plane already, but they themselves weren’t yet. When they finally arrived we took off and had a pleasant flight with attentive crew. I’d gotten pretty sick the day before and still wasn’t feeling very well. I had only €3 on me, so all I could buy were some pretzels. The crew were kind enough to offer me some tea for free, so that was very nice.

Once in Brussels, I realized I wouldn’t catch the last train to Holland, especially with the passport control taking so long. When I hurried to buy a ticket, I couldn’t get the ticket machine to work. Then to the counter; the man explained that there’d been a bomb warning and the trains wouldn’t ride for he didn’t know how long. I could buy a ticket in the train.

I went down to the platform anyway, and soon enough there was a train to Brussels North. There I bought a ticket to Roosendaal, since from there on I’d be in Holland and able to travel for free. I got some money from an ATM (I wouldn’t have been able to afford a ticket had someone checked…) and got something to drink. I was told I needed to catch the train to Antwerp and change there to the train to Holland.

Once in Antwerp the information on the TV screens changed about every 30 seconds. Train to Holland: track 22. Then no train anymore. Then an audio message: track 22. Then track 5, according to the TV screen again. Then 22 again. Then two trains! One track 5, the other 22. Anyway, in the end it turned out that the train from track 5, which left soon, would be a slow train, and the later train from track 22 would be fast and would be the one we needed.

In Antwerp I met a very nice guy from Luxembourg called Herin. His girlfriend worked in a café in Luxembourg and gave me a full set of Luxemburgish euro coins! I gave them some lei in return, although they were worth a lot less.

Once in the train and on our way to Roosendaal, the train suddenly stopped and stood still for 20 minutes. Bad news: we wouldn’t catch the train to Amsterdam from Roosendaal. Good news: the Belgian train would ride the trip itself. Yay!

In Rotterdam Herin and his girlfriend left me. I’d called Remco already, who lives in The Hague, asking if I could sleep over. Sure, was no problem. Then we arrived at Den Haag HS. I figured: next station will be Den Haag Central Station, and I’ll get out there. But no… next station was Schiphol. I’d completely missed Den Haag! Realizing that was probably the worst part of the trip… I was sick and tired, it was late, and I’d missed a warm bed. *sniffles*

I got out in Amsterdam instead, waited half an hour, then took the night train to Utrecht. From there I took a taxi (€22) to home… yes, home, finally, at 3:30 in the morning. A quick hot shower and clean clothes, and I hopped into bed. Mmmhm…

Comments

By Tita on Saturday, 12 January 2008 at 14:32:

My Lord! Isso é demais até pra pessoas super pacientes como tu. :-/

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