Some beer, some meat, some salad, some bread… all in good company: what else can you ask for? Maybe a little better weather. We had been extremely lucky with the weather the evening before where it only rained later that night when everybody was in the tent. Today we were less lucky and had some rain, but we could hide in the house and under another, smaller tent in the garden.
My train was at 4:17 pm and Ante had offered to drive me. So around 2:40 I motioned to leave, which got me some mockery from the French guests who suggested that only a crazy, super punctual German would leave at this time for a train 1 1/2 hours later.
Is that so?
First Ante and I had to drive back home so we could load the three big suitcases into the car.
Once this was done, it was already past 3 pm.
And then Brussels hit:
- the inner city ring was closed
- the shitty maze of streets just before Midi were blocked by three trucks who tried to navigate
- we did not find parking
- it started to rain
- we had to walk quite far to get to the Air France counter in the station
- time passed
We arrived at the counter maybe 3:55 or so. Not bad. Not bad.
At the check-in I learned that had I managed to arrive 30 minutes ahead of departure, they would have actually checked my luggage through from Midi to Singapore. That’s how it should be, you might think, but this is not how it was when I was living in Belgium. This new service is now available since a year or so and it’s a bit of a pity that I was too late to make use of it.
Anyway: I actually had expected that I would have to check in and then carry my luggage myself and drop it at the airport. So nothing lost.
Ante, who had joined me and who helped carry the luggage, kept helping me bringing everything up to the platform where we were facing a new challenge. It was now 4:05 pm or so, because even though checking in was fast, moving everything up was not. There is no clear signage where the fricking elevators are (we found only one which went down at first – not up). And when we finally arrived on the platform, it was completely unclear where I had to go.
As it turns out, two ridiculously long trains were standing on the same track and we went of course first in the wrong direction to find my car. And why is that? Because there is not @#$!* indication where you have to go for which train or direction. It’s absolutely stupid!
We eventually went in the right direction, found my car, loaded the luggage and had virtually only three minutes to spare. Then the doors closed and the train was moving.
I would have never ever managed this without Ante’s help! Dragging three heavy suitcases while trying to find your way in the worst train station you can imagine would have been a mess and I likely would have missed my train. Thank you, buddy!
Oh: and I would have definitely missed the train if we had not left when we did. In fact, we should have left 10 minutes earlier to have some buffer. So much for overly punctual Germans…
It does not matter now: I am in the train to Paris, I have everything with me and I had a fantastic trip.
Now it’s only a few more hours till I am home.