It is 6pm in my current time zone, which is midnight in Gentian time. This morning at 6:30am I awoke in Brugge and began my journey. I walked to a bus station. I took a bus to the train station. I took a train to Antwerp. There I bought an upgrade so I'd have a seat on the fast train, which turned out to have been a mistake because they sold me a ticket which had no seats. I sat on the crew seat the whole way to Amsterdam.
In Amsterdam I boarded an airplane, which left at 1:30pm and flew here. I landed at 3:30pm (makes it seem like a short flight! Too bad about the six hour time difference), and after making my way through customs have been hanging out here since. They say my plane will leave at 7:05pm. I hope it does. I'm looking forward to being home, and I still have to fly to Detroit, take a shuttle to my car, then drive home.
Places I've been since home: Detroit, Fort Meyers, Naples, Newark, Brussels, Gent, Brugge, Antwerp, Amsterdam, and Newark again. Hopefully I'll be home soon-ish. I'm tired, and long to be cuddled. I hope my kitties remember who I am!
In Antwerp I saw a family walking away from the train with luggage. Most of them had wheeled suitcases, but the smallest child (maybe 8 or 9 years old?) had an interesting invention. It was a cardboard box, tied securely onto a skateboard with a length of twine. Somebody had used more twine at the top of the box to make a looped handle to pull, at just the height of the boy's hand. He pulled it along behind him like a suitcase.
I met a lovely 79-year-old lady on my flight, with eyes like dark blue marbles. She had been visiting her son in France, and was heading home to Seattle. She was friendly and chipper. She told me about her November hip surgery, and how it nearly killed her, but now she is much better. Except that she is a bit wobbly and off-balance when she golfs. That doesn't stop her. "My friends know what is going on, and anybody else doesn't matter," she tells me. "Although my one friend wants to wave a bottle at any bystanders and tell them: she's just drunk!"
She lost her husband four years ago, but has been corresponding with a gentleman on Match.com. She is meeting him for coffee next week, and I wish her the best of luck with that and everything.
[Edit: Now it says 7:20. I'm crossing my fingers! ...which makes it hard to type.
On the other hand, typing is difficult anyway because I forgot to bring my fingernail clippers with me this trip. I have gross soft nails that need to be kept short. If they grow, they bend and tear and generally get in the way. I'm not capable of typing well with long(ish) nails, because I've never done it. My nails desperately need to be trimmed! Fortunately I'll be home (eventually), and can groom properly once again.
Happily I lasted all week without tearing or shredding a nail - until today that is. Pulling my suitcase down from the overhead compartment when deplaning here in Newark, I managed to rip my middle nail. Fortunately it didn't tear all the way down to the ouchie bit, so as long as I keep from doing any more damage before I get home it's no big deal.
See what I mean about Newark? It's all kinds of trouble!
When I printed out my boarding pass last week, on the flight here, it was a standard one. When I printed my boarding passes today for the trip home, it said "Elite Access". I crossed the magic threshold into Elite status, woohoo!
So far it has not done me any good, but surely any minute now I will start to see dramatic improvements in my traveling experiences.]
[[Edit 2: 10:45pm, 22 hours after I started traveling, and I'm finally home. Tired, and lonely, but I made it! About to go curl up with a kitty or two.]]