So, yesterday was the first departure from Brussels – I should go back beginning of November just before heading out to the Caribbean. I had a lovely Sunday with my Flemish hosts, even if we missed the Brussels marathon which was passing the neighbourhood, it was too early in the morning! It was a sunny, warm autumn day and we headed to Place Luxembourg and the brunch/lunch café called Tout Bon, where we had a great brunch in the sunshine.
The café used to be a Le Pain Quotidien, which is a Belgian brunch chain with homemade bread, lots of different kinds of pots of marmelade, jam and chocolate spread etc. However, just before I arrived to Brussels, this particular café decided to cut loose from the chain and started calling itself Tout Bon, with a similar concept – actually better than the chain if you ask me!
In the afternoon S helped me fill my new (I have never had one actually) iPod Nano (latest version, very small and cute) that I got as a farewell present from him, I, R, V and T – O’s friends who have become my friends as well!! S is very serious about his music and we filled the iPod with lots of old and new music – great!
My flight was at 20.05 and S & I, my hosts for the last week (and hosts for my farewell party as well!) drove me to the airport. I had some frites avec mayonnaise at the airport canteen and stocked up on Godiva and Neuhaus chocolate for those back at home (my grandfather expects a big box of Belgian chocolates when I go home), before I headed to the gate…
Everything went smooth, no silly “Rows 7-25 can board first” announcements which I don’t think make sense when it is a smaller airplane (of course when it is a transatlantic flight it is different), nevertheless the last few times I have been flying with Brussels Airlines they have introduced this procedure which has created sooo much mess and confusion. Anyway, we take off almost on time and were flying for about 15 minutes when the captain came on the loudspeaks to tell us that we needed to turn around!! Some kind of non-dangerous technical problem had occurred, I think it was the cabin pressure – no cause for panic and I think most people just got very, very annoyed! I was so disappointed that I almost got tears in my eyes, it felt like I was halfway home already!
We landed and were told to disembark, so we stood up, got our things and then were just left standing in the aisle for 20 minutes before somebody questioned if they were going to let us off or what!? In the end we were told that we had 2 options, either to spend the night at the Sheraton at the airport and take the morning flight to Copenhagen, however no guarantees that we would all fit on that flight… or to wait until 01.30 and take a incoming plane from Athens to Copenhagen! I think 2/3 of the passengers choose the last option, I know that at least I just wanted to get home (and not open my very full suitcase again before I had reached my destination!).
I spent 3 hours lying on some hard seats at the gate with my very good book Ensemble, c’est tout by Anna Gavalda (I just discovered that my mother has read it in Swedish – Tillsammans är man mindre ensam) and listening to my music in the iPod! The majority of my fellow passengers who were middle-aged Danish, Swedish and English men came back to the gate DRUNK and they had all become best friends!! We were given 8 EUR vouchers x 2 which we had to use in the only place open late at night – “The Brussels Beer Café”… I had a coke, a tea, a sandwich, a package of crisps and a bottle of water for that money, apparently the middle-aged men were using their vouchers only for liquid…
My parents were so sweet and drove across the Öresund-bridge to Copenhagen airport to pick me up at 03 in the morning! We swung by the local bakery in Eslöv on our way home to get some fresh morgonbullar (morning rolls or småfrallor as I think people in the rest of Sweden would say😉 ) – I slept until midday though!
The sun is shining in Sweden and I’m on my way to the supermarket with my mother now – it’s good to be home again!