September 23, 2017 – After a great night’s sleep, we got up to head to the airport to start our journey traveling from Brussels to Atlanta. Our flight wasn’t until 10:30am, but I never like to cut it close with flights (especially international ones). Also, we had to continue our European tour of Priority Pass lounges and take advantage of a free breakfast, so there was that too.
We left the Novotel around 6:30 am. As we were falling asleep the night before, there were people outside partying like crazy. They were so loud! I had no idea Belgian’s partied that hard. Maybe it was because it was Friday? Well, when we left, they were STILL out there. Probably not the same people, but there were so many drunk Belgians wandering around outside our hotel as we made our way to the train station. It was hilarious and very interesting to observe.
We already had our return ticket to take the train back to the airport, so we went through the turnstiles and boarded the train. The ride from the city center to the airport was about 25 minutes.
Once we got through security and checked our bags, we went to find the lounge.
Side note: you might be wondering why we kept checking our bags when we only brought carry-ons. Olive oil, my friend. The TSA frowns upon bringing bottles of it through security. It was just in Eric’s bag, but checking my bag was free too so why bother lugging it around when I didn’t need to.
All of the lounges at the Brussels airport were in a separate area away from the gates. We had to take an elevator up and then there were doors upon doors with all the different lounges.
The Brussels airport Priority Pass lounge was AMAZING. I wish I could go back to Brussels just to go to that lounge again. It was state-of-the-art with massive TVs, a fancy Starbucks drink maker, even their mugs were fancy. Their food was plentiful and the best quality of all the lounges we’d been to (including Atlanta). Giant croissants and other pastries, meats, cheeses, yogurt, fruit, and that was just what they had for breakfast. I feel as though I became a European pastry aficionado, so I can say with confidence that their pastries were top notch.
Other than the Atlanta lounge, each lounge we visited was in the morning. I kept hoping for to-go coffee cups so I could bring coffee on the plane. Not a single lounge had to-go coffee cups… until Brussels! They also had giant refrigerators where we could help ourselves to beer, wine, champagne, sodas, water, and about every single juice we could ever want. They even had beer on tap that we could help ourselves to. It was awesome.
After about an hour at the lounge, it was time to board our flight. We got to our seats and settled in. Just before it was time for take-off, our pilot actually came back to talk to all of us which was different. Normally the pilot would just make an announcement, but he physically walked back to each area of the plane to tell us all that we were in for a rough flight.
While we were gone, there were quite a few hurricanes that churned up in the Atlantic. We would be flying through the remains of one. It wasn’t a full-blown hurricane, just lots of wind and pressure changes which was going to make for a roller coaster of a flight.
He wasn’t lying. The fasten seat belt sign stayed on for our entire 8-hour flight. The flight attendants powered through getting us our meals/snacks. At one point during a snack service, one of the flight attendants got sick. she was almost to our seats when she ran up to the main attendant to let her know she needed to go sit down. We didn’t see her again after that.
Other than the crazy turbulence and the flight attendant getting sick, the flight was easy and we arrived right on time, then it was off to customs. I can’t remember which concourse or gate we arrived at, but it had to have been the furthest gate from customs as possible. We kept seeing signs letting us know how far we were from customs. “25-minute walk to customs” excuse me, what?! I was very thankful I had checked my bag at this point.
So we walked… and walked. I was also thankful this was our last stop and we didn’t have another flight to catch like so many people on our flight. There were airport employees along the way making sure you were walking in the right direction. Literally, their entire job was to stand in a corner and point. We must have passed at least 20 of them. At one point, one of the airport direction pointers hollered out, “last bathroom for 15 minutes!” employee of the month right there.
We made it to customs and got through without any issues. Except they didn’t stamp our passports which made me sad. We went to 5 countries and came home to a 6th and I only got one passport stamp. Thanks Belgium!
Our bags turned up unscathed after their final journey and then we were off to catch an Uber home.
WHAT. A. TRIP.
Until the next adventure… Bisous!
The diary may be over, but the posts have just begun! I’ll be bringing you a full recap of our trip including tours we took, excursions we loved, things we would have skipped, places we stayed, and a whole lot more tips. I’ll also be posting our entire itinerary complete with transportation soon!
I also want to take a moment to say thank you for taking the time to read my little blog. This started as a way to document our trips so we would have stories to go along with our pictures. Writing is something I’ve always loved and to be able to share our journeys with you fills me with joy almost as much as the journeys themselves.