What a gang! What a trip!

We could never had expected what would happen on our trip when we in August were planning to go to Bruxelles in December 2003. It was an afternoon, just like any other, when we felt that we “had” to do something fun during Autumn – and that was how the idea of Bruxelles was born. Once we had decided to go, there were lots of others that also wanted to join and explore “the city”. At the end we were 10 people and 2 dogs that were going to travel; Lene, Lena, Margot, Ulla, Lotta, Natalie, Pia, Felicia, mom and I – and Kurt and Thelma of course! A trip for girls. The flight tickets were cheap and when I also succeeded in finding a CHEAP hotel that was situated in the center of the town (on the same street as we stayed last year!) all were happy! Already in September everything was paid for; both the hotel and the tickets, so that it all should be ready once it was time to go.

The day before we were leaving for Bruxelles I asked Stefan to call and check so everything was OK with the hotel. He did that… and 10 minutes later mom calls to my work and tells me that there are NO rooms booked for us. First I thought she was making a joke.. but she wasn’t. Then I paniced – WHAT was I to do now!! Not only that the 8000 SKr that I already had paid seemed to be gone… But I also had to find hotel rooms for 10 people in 3 nights with just one day’s advance. Så I screamed to my collegues that I had to go and then I run out to the parking lot and my car and then I began to drive home. I can say that I was a bit surprised of the fact that my car could reach those speeds we were travelling in… It was fast! At home I turned on my computer and then I connected to the internet and began to search for the site that I had made the hotel reservation. I found the site and checked my information. It all seemed to be in order… But you are never 100 % sure so I also called customer service and they checked with the hotel and everything was OK. Now one could expect that I would be satisfied… but not! I wanted to be 110% sure so I also called the hotel myself – and THEN I was convinced that everything was as it should be. I can only say that it’s good that I don’t have a sensitive heart.

Then it was Friday and it was time to get together in Höllviken. All from the Swedish side had time to eat some pie together before it was time to go by car to Svågertorp and from there by train to Kastrup. Once we arrived at Kastrup also Lene and Kurt showed up so now we ALL were together.

At the check in we of course chose the wrong line and it took ages before it was our turn. The person at the check in looked all but happy when she realised that it was 10 people and 2 dogs that were to be checked in… Perhaps she reacted that way since it sounded like a poultry farm when everyone was talking at the same time?? It’s always a lot of trouble to check in dogs and it took like forever until everything was ok and we could go to the gate. On the way there we had time to visit some shops and in the end we bougth two boxes of wine (each 3 l). First we thought it was a lot of wine but soon we realised that it wasn’t and then we had to buy some more! The trip to Bruxelles went well. I think it must have sound like a poultry farm because ALL in the gang had to speak to EVERYONE even if it meant that they had to shout all over the plane. When we arrived in Bruxelles our trolley was already there so we only had to put it together and place the dogs in it. You know we always need the trolley so the dogs have somewhere to sit! The guys that had brought the trolley seemed a bit surprised and after a while they kindly asked where the baby where. I don’t think they could imagine that the trolley was for the dogs! At the air port we had to walk like for ever before we could get our luggage and get ready for the taxis that were taking us to our hotel.

The first evening we went to bed quite early since we were going to the show the next day. Four of us went up really early in the morning; Felicia, Lene, mom and I. The rest chose to sleep for an other hour. The taxi picked us up at 8 o’clock and by that time we had also had the time to take Kurt and Thelma for a walk as well as making them ready for the show. Our chauffeur didn’t seem to know his way around Bruxelles so it felt as we got some extra sightseeing even if we hadn’t asked for it. At last we arrived at the show and then we first had to get our fingers on a catalogue so we would be able to find out how many and which bichons that were entered! After that we had lots of time to find our ring and start to prepare the dogs. The judging didn’t start until 10 o’clock so we had lots of time. The rest of the gang showed up a little after 9 o’clock.

In the price for the hotel there was no breakfast included, so for that you had to pay extra. There were two alternatives – one for 6 € and one for 19 €. You can guess which one we prefered! Pia, Natalie, Lotta, Lena,Ulla and Margot decided that they were going to have breakfast before going to the show and therefore the three first mentioned thought it was very strange that none of the others showed up for breakfast in the bar… Not until they met in the taxt they found out what the “old ladies” had been up to. Oh yes, they had breakfast, but not a simple one… Oh no, they had just followed some other guests and had a REAL breakfast with everything that one can think of – and they didn’t even pay for it!! So they felt quite happy and satisfied! I have to admit that it was well done…

When we all were together at ringside we only waited for the judging to begin because the bichons were the first breed in the ring. Now I were nervous.. Kurt was the first one of our dogs to go into the ring and when he was there it took a long time until the judge finally decided that he wanted to have Kurt as number 1! Besides winning the champion class Kurt was also best male. Oh my so many Hurray! there was from our friends at ringside. Next one to go into the ring was Thelma and then I was nervous again, but everything went more than well and Thelma was number 1 in botch champion class and best bitch class. Once again the crowd at ringside shouted Hurray! Then it was time to decide who would be BOB and who would be BOS. Felicia and Thelma did very well and went BOB and Kurt and I was BOS.

When the bichons had been judged we put all our stuff together and put it in the trolley and then we could go sightseeing at the show ground. The finals weren’t going to start until late in the afternoon, but that wasn’t a problem since we already had decided to use this day for the show. Felicia and Kurt competed in juniorhandling but unfortunately they weren’t picked for the final. On the other hand Kurt and Thelma was BIS-2-couple among 22 couples. Not bad!

After the show it was time to head back to the hotel. Something that was going to be easier sad than done – at least for some of us. After waiting for a short while we got hold of 2 taxis and everyone except Pia, mom and I could go back to the hotel. For the rest of us the waiting began… yes, one of the chauffeurs promised to call for an other car that would come and pick us up in about 20 minutes. By the way, did I forget to say that it was raining? It did – A LOT. The three musqueteers waited and waited in clothes that now was totally wet… Ok, to make a really long story short, we finally got a taxi. I still can’t understand that the chauffeur picked us up the way we looked… So wet!! And after 2,5 hours of waiting we could finally return to the hotel. And what is the first you’ll here when you get off at the forth floor on the hotel?? Oh yes, happy laughter! There they sat all of them enyoing the warmth and good drinks. I wonder if they even noticed that 3 people were missing ??? Yes, they are TRUE friends…

After a warm dousche it was time for FOOD and we went to the Pakistan restaurant where we ate last year. It was a happy and funny night with lots of good food and all the time Thelma and Kurt sat in the trolley right next to the table.

The next morning we had breakfast and then it was time to go out and explore Bruxelles by foot. We first walked all the way to La Grande Place, the well known square, and had a look at all the beautiful buildings that surrounds it. When we left the square we continued down to Manneken Pis, which one has to visit when one is in Bruxelles. This day the little boy was dressed like Santa, so he didn’t have to freese… After taking some photos we began to walk back to the hotel. On the way we found a cousy café where we decided to have some lunch. It really took time before we finally got our food, but it was well worth waiting for. After a long lunch we went back to the hotel.

On the way back we found a mall which was nicely Christmas decorated and therefore we decided to have a closer look. Among other things we found a small Christmas shop and most of us found something “Christmas like” to buy. In the mall two clowns were walking on stilts and for some mysterious reason they began to talk to us (it can’t be that they thought WE looked like clowns??!) and they also “attacked” the dogs in the trolley. It really is amazing that nothing seem to scare these dogs, they were just as happy no matter WHAT happened around them…

In the evening we were still satisfied after the day’s lunch so we decided to stay at the hotel and eat cheese and biscuits and some pizza. It was a great evening with lots of talks and drinks!

On Monday morning we left our luggage at the hotel and we then took the metro with the dogs in the trolley to the big shopping street. It was important to make sure that everyone got on and off at the right stop, in this gang anything could happen… We spent the entire day in different shops and we did some good shoppings! In the afternoon we turned back to the hotel and then off to the airport. Just after 9 pm we arrived at Kastrup and thereby the trip was almost over for all of us.

I don’t know when I had so much fun the last time and I know that I will think back on ”the Bruxelles weekend” for a long time and laugh when remembering all the follies – there were quite a few.

Catarina