26th March 2023: The long way home {Belgium, March 2023}

Instead of returning from Brussels the same way, I had decided to take an earlier plane back home, from Brussels Charleroi instead of Brussels Airport. That way D****e and I could hang out a little longer, too. We had free breakfast at the hotel that day since we had had a bit of an issue with her check in, and the manager had offered that as compensation. It was pouring rain, so we did not do anything before we headed off to the airport, which we did with plenty of time. Brussels Charleroi is serviced by a bus company, and when we got to the stop, a bus was leaving – that was okay, we were aiming for the following one.

We reached the airport around 11:40 and queued up to pass through security, who decided they needed to test my shoes for drugs. It took me forever to be able to pack again after taking the camera and liquids out, but we were inside without issue before 12:30. We sat down for a drink, and then went off to find D****e’s gate. She was inside at the right time, but her flight ended up delayed as she had to fly to France, whose people are striking at the moment.

I found my own gate, and sat down to wait. When it was boarding time, a mob formed, and as it dissipated, I approached – it turns out that my flight was not boarding! Instead of leaving around 15:00, we did not take off till 16:15. During this time there was no estimated take-off time, nor any information. Internet said over two hours, so I decided to venture it to the food court to grab a snack. When I finished, I went to the bathroom and when I came back, the ground crew were getting ready to board us. It went fast, and the return flight was uneventful. We never got any explanation for the delay.

When I landed, the usual exit was blocked, so I had to go all the way back to the next terminal and backtrack. In the end, I was commuting for around nine hours for a 120 minute flight. Talk about efficiency… The best thing though was that with all the excitement and tiredness I did not even notice that Europe had shifted into (out of?) daylight savings time, which usually breaks havoc with my system. All in all, it was a nice weekend, albeit a bit tiresome at points. It’s hard to find water-resistant walking & concert shoes.