Nope! This time, it’s not one of those traditional ICC Newyear’s parties.
I was invited to join a private meet-up organized by Silke and Julien in Roeselare, Belgium together with some friends from the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and the UK.
I met up with Philipp and Yannik (from Germany) in Cologne on board the Thalys train to Brussels. I actually planned to go by plane, but there was no direct- and suitable flight to Brussels available on December 31st, 2017. However, we found extremely cheap 1st-class Thalys tickets (36 Euros, 4 Euros cheaper than a 2nd-class ticket)!
Because Silke apparently boarded the wrong train, she couldn’t show up to pick us up in time, so we had to wait for a little while.
Next, we took a train to Kortrijk, where Jesse picked us up by car, fully loaded with furniture and groceries, because they rented a vacation house with a few big rooms and as far as I remember, we even had to bring some extra furniture or all the furniture we needed; at least sleeping bags and matresses were indeed required.
All that might not really sound appealing, but Silke and Julien did a hell of a great job organizing sighted volunteers (friends and family) who helped preparing the food and took care of everything. The meals and desirds they prepared were totally awesome, and they didn’t prepare everything at once, otherwise it might have been a little too much.
During the course of the evening and the next morning, we also joined them in the kitchen and formed groups to help them washing the dishes and cleaning up.
In comparison to Germany and Austria where people already start to blow up things long before newyear and stop a day later or so, the fireworks in Roeselare or Belgium in general were surprisingly short. They started blowing up things at newyear and at 1am or 2am, it was completely silent.
The actual event ended on January 1st, but Liv (from the UK) and all the Germans decided to stay a few days longer in order not to immediately travel back one day after our arrival.
Therefore, we rented a hostel room in Bruges and spent some more time together with Silke and Jesse with whom we toured the city and had some fun.
On January 3rd – the day of departure – we toured the city of Brussels and had lunch before we dropped Philipp and Yannik off at the train station and went to the airport.
I arranged the assistance for my flight by calling Brussels Airlines in advance, and when we arrived at the airport, everything went as planned.
Due to stormy weather, we got a free roller-coaster ride in addition to our flight, and I was more than surprised how soft the touchdown was.
It took a while for the assistance to arrive by car who dropped me off at the terminal, where another lady took over who brought a wheelchair, as if I didn’t tell them that I am just blind when booking the assistance.
At last, we ended up in the entrance hall where my father picked me up. As for this trip, everything went as planned and the only annoying thing was that I arrived at home quite late, because I had an appointment the next morning.