I went to Brussels for work in March. I left Ottawa at minus 16C and when we arrived in Brussels it was plus 15C: talk about a difference. The trip was an adventure in airplane travel. My sister decided to come along and flew from Calgary to catch the same flights as I had booked out of Toronto. While she was waiting to board her flight in Calgary she checked the Toronto airport departures web site which said that our flight to Brussels was cancelled. I thought it was just a mistake on the web site. I departed Ottawa a few hours later and was issued a boarding pass for the Toronto to Brussels flight. We get to Toronto, and yes, the flight has been cancelled. By the time I got into the terminal, Annette was already on the phone with Air Canada and had us rebooked through London Heathrow that night. We were told to go to Brussels airlines to get our baggage and to recheck it through on our new flights. We go to the Brussels Airlines counter, talk about disorganized, no one was telling anyone anything. After waiting in line for awhile we were told that an Air Canada agent was coming up for those of us who were waiting for luggage, we waited and waited and finally Brussels Airlines took us back down to the baggage area and to Air Canada. Air Canada said it was not their problem that they had already transferred the luggage to Brussels Airlines. The Air Canada agent did try to call back up to the airline counter and then went up himself to see what was going on. He came back down and said our luggage would be on carousel 1 or 4 in about 20 minutes, we waited 40 minutes and still no luggage. Now we had to go to get through security for the London flights, we got through and then had to wait to see if we actually made it on to the flight as our boarding passes were just marked GTE. Thankfully both Annette and I got seats. We got into Brussels no problem but our luggage didn't. We reported it to Swissport, the company that handles lost luggage for Brussels Airlines, they assured us that 95% of luggage is found within 24 hours. We weren't so lucky, ours didn't show up at the airport until Wednesday morning and so was delivered to the hotel probably around lunch time. Three days of wearing almost the same clothes, thankfully we had both packed a few things in our carry-on bags.
We had wonderful weather the whole week; too bad I was in meetings every day but it made it nice for Annette who was able to walk to all the places she was going to; she had purchased a Brussels pass which gave her admissions to many museums. We were able to pick that up on Sunday for her so that she didn't have to hunt around for the tourism office before heading off to any museums.
|Courtyard outside our hotel window|
Mannequin Pis was dressed up for the ending of the book fair when we first arrived and for St Patrick's Day on the Friday before we left.
Grand Place at night; the weather was so nice we were able to eat out on the patio.
We had some free time on Friday afternoon together for some shopping and just being tourists. Happy to say the flights back were better, although it took so long for the bags to be transferred to the baggage hall in Toronto that Annette very nearly missed her Calgary flight. She made it but the bags arrived on a later flight. My next work trip is to Rome, Italy; Annette is planning to come along on that trip too. And I plan to take some vacation after those meetings.
It was Keltic's fifth birthday while I was away so we had to celebrate it after I got home. No homemade pupcakes just store bought cookies and treats but I don't think he minded.
So hopefully the worst of winter has passed and we will be able to enjoy a nice spring. Some sunny warm weather will certainly help get rid of the snow and dry things out.
Today is the anniversary of the creation of the Royal Canadian Air Force, the title "Royal" was officially granted on 1 April 1924, so I flew the Air Force Flag outside this morning. This flag came from the radar station, CFS Baldy Hughes that I helped to close down in the 80's. Technology had made those radar systems obsolete but small units like that were so much fun.