Actually, this was supposed to be my 3rd new year’s eve in Belgium if I wouldn’t have got sick last year. Anyway, just as in 2017-2018, we celebrated NYE in a camping house in Roeselare and, together with some friends from Germany and the UK, spent a few more days in Gent…
I already went to Hamburg on December 30th to hang out with friends and crash down on their couch for the night; this also shortened the ride to the airport by far.
After boarding the direct bus to the airport the next morning, I called the assistance department at the airport and asked whether it was possible to pick me up from the bus stop and they assured me that I shall be picked up under the condition that I wouldn’t move elsewhere without letting them know.
It worked surprisingly well this time and, before I knew it, I found myself at the gate.
The only problem was that, when the boarding started, it was unknown when somebody would arrive to give me a hand boarding the plane; so after waiting for a little while, I decided to rise to my feet and prepare myself for departure, just in case. Some other passengers who spotted me offered to give me a hand instead and – as the airport staff didn’t know when the assistance would arrive – they accepted the offer and cancelled the boarding assistance.
There were a few communication issues in Brussels because the guy who picked me up only spoke French and Dutch with a heavy French accent I couldn’t understand. English was not an option but he handed me over to another colleague who spoke English. He dropped me off at a café where I met Liv from the UK and after a quick lunch, they assured us that they would come back to take us to the train station in 20 minutes. Nobody came, so we just asked for directions to the train station to check in for our assistance to Kortrijk and sorted it out that way.
In Kortrijk, we met Silke and Naqib (from the UK) and later drove to Roeselare.
The location was – in my opinion – very nice, it was easy to get around in there and find the most important places and we had an unforgettable party with good company and funny talks and games!
The next morning, Silke’s father drove us to the train station from which we traveled onwards to Gent and checked in at our hostel. After the past 2 new year’s parties, those who stayed longer went to Bruges to hang out and explore different locations. I didn’t make it last year and therefore – for example – missed the tour through the beer museum (I truly recommend to check it out); however, I went to Bruges/Leuven in Summer to visit friends and explore some places I haven’t explored yet.
The hostel was very cozy and – in my opinion – quite small, therefore easy to navigate through and find the most important places in no time.
As Liv and I (both blind) decided to get breakfast a little earlier than the others, we asked for help at the buffet in the beginning and some hostel guests and later one of the staff gave us a hand finding our desired food.
In comparison to other hotels/hostels I stayed in, I’d say it was one of the least crowded hostels.
As for exploring the city, we only briefly checked the winter market in the city center, visited the cathedral, did some shopping at a supermarket and met some of our Belgian friends.
On January 3rd, the day of our departure, we all together went to the train station – accompanied by Silke – where we split up. Liv and I checked in for our assistance to the airport and, once arrived at the check-in desk, they picked us up separately which happened quicker than we realized before we could say farewell, but at least both of us made it to the plane and back home safe.
The only problem – once again – I had was that the assistance didn’t show up in Hamburg on time, so I spent almost 40 minutes longer in the plane and one of the stewards and I killed the time talking about this and that. I think one of the reasons why it took so long was that we were parked a little further away from the terminal and that they (always) pick handicapped people up with a separate bus, regardless of the present handicap. Fortunately I arrived in the late morning and was more than flexible as far as trains were concerned.
The assistance helped me retrieving my luggage and gave me a hand boarding the S-Bahn to the central station. I didn’t book an assistance at the central station so, as I partially know how to get around there, I made it to the local train to Stade myself, partially asking for directions and whether I was boarding the right train. From there it was business as usual.
To wrap it up: Thus, another great new year’s eve with good company has come to an end and I am looking forward to the next occasion meeting some of my Belgian friends once again!