Thursday, July 9, 2009

If It's Wednesday, This MUST be Belgium

Wednesday was a long travel day for us as we bid Spain a fond farewell after an exciting week and pushed on to Bruges, Belgium.

Battle of Wills with Ryanair

Round #2: This time we knew our side would win!

We got to Madrid's airport in only a 12 minute taxi ride from our hotel that broke all the laws of man, nature and physics.

Once safely back on our own two feet, we started to play the Ryanair luggage game. First we found a closed check-in terminal to weigh our bags. Remember, our stow away luggage cannot weigh more than 15 kilos.

We were 2.5 kilos over.

No problem, we just moved a few things to our underweight, 10 kilos allowable, carry-on luggage and we would win without having to leave anything behind at the airport this time. Imagine our pride when the scales showed that both pieces of soon to be stowed luggage now weighed EXACTLY 15 kilos, not a gram more or less!

Check-in Tecniques

Now, Europe has a great check-in system at their airports like you see here. Going to Havana on Flight 961? Queue up at check-in terminals 216 or 215. Simple, makes sense, easy but not Ryanair's method.

Everybody gets into any of five lines with no flight information posted and waits their turn. It took us 30 minutes to finally get waited on but this was not entirely Ryanair's fault. If you fly Europe's low cost, best on time airline, understand that the check-in line will be slow because one of every three travelers seems to have no clue about Ryanair's baggage weight limits and wants to argue about company policies to no avail.

When we finally did get our turn and spitefully placed our EXACTLY 15 kilo bags on the scale we were told that the computers could not check us in for another 15 minutes because we were there too early! This meant that we, along with the next six people in line who were also bound for Belgium, would have to re-queue. Chalk one up for Ryanair in our war.

Finally checked in for our flight to Charleroi, Belgium, we now awaited our next battle with this Irish based airline that makes you want the troubles between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic to continue in earnest for another 200 years. It was now time to have our carry-on luggage cramed into the display rack to insure it met Ryanair standards before going through security, only there was no one there to oversee this task today. We win again and I reduce my wish of malice to the Emerald Isle to 150 years! Once on board, scoring a leggy emergency row seat, we found out the reason for this apparent breach of company etiquette. Unlike our flight last week from Trapani to Girona, this plane had normal sized carry-on luggage compartments so we did not have to conform to their usual strict policy on this one.

Once in Belgium, it was a short bus ride to the train station and two easy and soothing train rides to Bruges, a.k.a., "The Venice of the North", arriving at about 9:00 p.m.

One of Bruges' Calming Canals

The Historic City Center looms in the distance

Fun Architecture

Bruges is famous for two products, chocolate. . .

. . . and lace

"Houston, we have a problem. . ."

Interseting building on Bruges' Markt Square

Markt is the correct spelling. I pray that this is NOT their Post Office.

If you saw the movie "In Bruges" then you will recognize Markt Square where a lot of the action took place.

The Belfort

Pink Elephant T-shirts for sale

Can the Catania Elephants sue for copyright infringements?

Knight Watchman

Time to go back to our Bed and Breakfast

I think we are going to like our stay in Bruges!


DPLassen said...

Boy, those Ryanair tickets better REALLY be cheap.

itzbfitz said...

WARNING: considering your ongoing battle with Ryanair and the recent preponderance of Irish assassins "In Bruges," it might be a good idea to keep looking over your shoulder...especially in Markt Square.



Tell me again what it was like in Bruges...

"Was it like a fairy tale?" No, I think he said, "It's like being in a dream..."

-- Colin Farrel, In Bruges

George said...

We ate at a restaurant on Markt Square where, tragically, the little person went down.