Having a sprained ankle and having to wait for hours, it is not fun, I can tell you that.
I was awake this morning before seven, as nearly everybody was leaving at that hour, and I wanted to say our goodbyes. I had decided not to go that early by bus, but to wait another hour and a half comfortably in the villa, and then take a taxi to the airport. Alison volunteered to stay with me and help me out, but since her flight was quite a bit earlier than mine, we arrived at the airport at 9 nonetheless.
She dropped me and my suitcases off at the ‘special services area’ in the airport, said goodbye, and vanished to catch her flight. So there I was, sitting on an uncomfortable bench, for more than three hours. My flight was at 13.45h, and the Italian people behind the counter just eyed me suspiciously from time to time, but said nothing. Luckily I had brought my Robert Harris to read, and that is exactly what I did, for three hours straight. Just once in a while an elderly couple, or a father with a helping son would join me for 15 minutes or so, and then we’d chat a little. There was this very charming old couple travelling to Cannes, he a total gentleman in suit with tie and everything, who apparently was born near Pompei, and had never even visited the excavations. They had been living in France for quite a number of years now, and it was nice to be able to talk in French for a change. They were both so sweet…
Anyway, around half past one the lady behind the counter finally summoned up an assistant with a wheelchair, and within less than five minutes my luggage was checked in and I had a boarding pass. On we went, through customs and security, and even the little bottles of water in my handluggage didn’t cause a problem. I was manually frisked, only the cast got some special attention, as it’s an exquisite place to hide stuff, I suppose. Yet further we went, straight through the entire airport, to a little waiting room right next to the gate, in less than 10 minutes from the first waiting room to this one.
By then I got very hungry, but the guy accompanying me just wheeled me, on simple request, to the baker shop in the transit area, ordered whatever I pointed at, and payed for me, so I even didn’t need to get up. I must say, I was quite impressed.
More Robert Harris it was, till half past one, when they wheeled me down, and into this special kind of truck for disabled. And then, to my surprise, at the airplane, the entire truck went up, to the level of the side door. Such fun!
In the airplane I was crammed into a regular seat, even though the business seats were empty and spacious. When I asked if there was a possibility that I could sit there, in order to lift my by then really painful and swollen ankle a little, the stewardess answered that it was business customers only, and that everybody had one complaint or the other. So much for compassion, I guess.
I made it through the flight quite unharmed, though feeling a bit queasy once more, and was happy to get off the plane. A very friendly (and pretty) girl was waiting for me, took me all the way through the corridors in both a wheelchair and this little electric car, waited for me by the luggage and hoisted my case off the belt, and wheeled me to the exit, onto the street, where Bart was waiting for me. Upon seeing that it would be hard for Bart to both help me ànd take care of the cases, she decided to stick with me and took me all the way to the car. What a service! Kudos to Brussels Airport, I say!
We got home by seven, and I was sweaty, sticky and exhausted. And still feeling a bit sick to the stomach. I lied down for a bit, took a shower, had a decent meal, and did feel better. By then it was passed eight, so no use to go to the Emergency at the hospital, as they would only take x-rays, and then make me come back the next day anyway. I decided on having a good night’s rest first, and in the morning go to the hospital.