yes, I think I have felt before, Belgium had something surreal. – Helped by the fact, that for years the main sight was one of the train stations near or after midnight when Brussels homeless community was allowed to bed down in the well-lit basement, me sometimes waiting for hrs outside, on the pavement there, because I had forgotten to check details of the itinerary of the overland coaches.

Today, I can only shake my head in disbelief. The German train I was on to catch the cross-channel train broke down less than 100m from the final destination platform. And we passengers were kept behind locked doors – inside the train but out of toilets; fed little 2-sentence updates from bewildered staff: It wasn’t the 21st century train at fault, a cable came down – no wind, not a breeze.

When we got off, finally, staff on the platform handed out bottles of water and small packs of biscuits. It didn’t take long until I was able to claim my missed wheelchair assistance as we were processed for booking tomorrow and then a free overnight in a posh-ish international chain hotel nearby.

As glad as I had been to manage my change of trains in the labyrinth of Cologne Central station this morning without too much pain (despite lifts never being where I expect them), as glad I am that I didn’t have to take the measure of another station on foot this afternoon.

Now settled in a modern hotel, 3-bed-room all on my own. Eventually, I ventured out into yet another Arabic neighbourhood and found a kebab shop that has stepped up the social ladder, with friendly male Arabic french-speaking staff, tried my 2-3 words of French and got myself a lasagne to eat-in. Back in the hotel, they have run out of sachets of coffee and its freezing. I probably should go up and down in the lift a few times, it’s warm in there.

Only sent out half a dozen emails to re-arrange appointments and food delivery that been arranged for tomorrow. And I have ironed out the repeat of the pickle I got myself in re transit covid status by paying for another test and requesting refund for an unsuitable one bought in error – nay common sense understanding of transit. Now all I need is requesting refund and re-booking from English train company with evidence from eurostar and hotel. Probably another half a dozen emails. Easy peasy.

Going to bed without undressing for a bit, in the hope to warm up the bed. Reception staff advised me to turn off the air conditioning when I commented the room was cold. I’d never thought of that. See you in the morning.


~ by Barbara S on August 26, 2021.

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