My Life as a Traveler

Upgraded!

Brussels! After a nice flight on US Air and a reasonable 4 hours of sleep, we arrive in Munich. We check into the lounge, have some champagne and breakfast, and wait for our flight to Brussels. It’s late, but that’s ok, we can’t check in to our apartment until 2pm. We fly Lufthansa, which, even on a one hour flight, serves us sandwiches and beer (hear that US Air?)

At the airport, we breeze past the baggage claim with our carry-ons and find a taxi to take us to our apartment. Usually in Brussels we stay at the Sheraton, but the rate for this Monday and Tuesday night is more than George’s per diem. Instead, I found an apartment for the 2 nights, but it’s located 20 mins by bus from the center where George meets up with his crew; not the most convenient.

We get to the apartment and there’s no key! When we reach the reservations folks, they say, sorry, but there was a problem with this apartment and we need to move to another location. Hmmm… they send a taxi, though, and we head back toward the town center. Could it be… one of their apartments is just a block from Grand Place, the most central you can be. Yes! They have booked us for the same price (131euro/night) into a penthouse suite (usually 295euro/night) 3 blocks (instead of a 20 minute bus ride) from where George needs to be at 8am. We are happy. They even gave us free internet and free breakfast. Can’t beat that. Wish we would have booked this apartment for the whole week!

Just so you know, that is really the right way to treat people if you are a hotel manager and have to move people from the room have promised them. Always upgrade, include other free stuff, and make it as easy as possible for people to disrupt their thoughts about how things are supposed to go. Sometimes we cannot afford the Sheraton, and B-Apart Brussels will be our new automatic second choice.

We walk around this huge (by European standards) apartment, and marvel at the gigantorous balcony with a smashing view of the cathedral. We are just around the block from our favorite mussels restaurant and everything else that takes us 20 minutes to walk to from the Sheraton. We go outside and scout out the best way for George to get to his bus stop, stopping at the impressive Grand Place on the way back.

We’re tired, though. The 4 hours of sleep is catching up to us. At 6:30pm (early by European standards) we go out to Chez Leon, home of the cheap but delicious moules/frites/Maes (bucket of mussels, fries, local beer) combo. The place has been there since the 1920’s, run by the same family. It’s just like coming home.

And it only takes us 3 minutes to get back to our room for a good night’s sleep!

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