Thursday, June 28, 2018

A Happy Story

Let me finish up yesterday by beginning with a happy story. 

At breakfast, I mentioned I had blogged about our difficulties on the pedal boat. “I bet you didn’t say what happened,” Matt said. “Yeah,” said Shayna, “you’ll need to save face.” 

“Take a look,” I told Matt.  “Just scroll down to the section with all caps.”

I watched as he found the section, started to read, and started to smile.  “Do you think I represented it fairly?” “Yes,” he admitted.

As we waited in the Brussels train station to go home, all we knew was that “due to an act of vandalism,” said the regular announcement, “train service from Brussels-Midi is disrupted.”  Checking the news today, it turns out that children throwing rocks on the tracks stopped all train traffic, and the need to divert trains threw the entire Belgian rail system out of whack.

At the time, though, we didn’t know what had happened.  “Ask information,” my father said.  Information had no information.  Our train was supposed to leave now at 7:30 (instead of 6:50), but at 7:15 it suddenly disappeared from the monitor.  By then we, and all the other people trying to get back to Amsterdam and clustered around the base of the Track 4 escalator (which was supposed to be where out train would depart).

“Do you know what’s happening?”


“Do you know why it’s no longer on the board?”


After being asked three times by my father to find out from information, I walked down to the Thalys desk only to find it closed.  Right then, the announcer came on and said the Amsterdam train would depart from Track 4.  Up to Track 4 we all rushed, only to find a train heading to Antwerp.  None of the conductors on the platform knew anything.

Finally, the announcer came back on to say that our train would now be departing from Track 5.  Down we rushed back into the station, and up to Track 5 we now rushed.  Finally, the train came in. Now, we had to find coach 8, which was towards the back of a very long train.  Lot of frantic, anxious, hot, and tired passengers pushing to get on.  Finally, we found our seats and I could now relax.

After about 30 minutes, I decided to head for a quiet dinner in the bar car.  I needed some alone time.  One chicken and hummus club sandwich and orangina later, I was feeling almost human.  We got back into Amsterdam at 10:15 pm, one hour and 30 minutes later.

Unfortunately, my work wasn’t done as I still needed to arrange our transfer to the airport in the morning and check in for our flights.  I finally went to bed at 11:30 pm and slept the whole night without interruption.

This morning went much smoother.  We had enough time for breakfast (it was possible we might only have 3 minutes, depending on when the driver came), and reached the airport without difficulty and with enough time. 

The only problem today was our landing in Copenhagen, which was so rough, we really landed twice.  I’m pretty sure we bounced.  It seems like it was very windy.

One taxi ride later we were on board our ship, eating a comfortable lunch.

Oops, time for the life boat drill.

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