Lisbon, London and Brussels
January 8-12 I travelled to Lisbon, London and Brussels.
The flight Toronto-Lisbon departed with a half an hour delay, but we arrived half an hour early. How? 200 km/h tail winds pushed us to 1000 km/h flight speed!
Although I spent a whole day in Lisbon on the way to Brussels, so I could be with my daughter and my parents, who were on their way to Spain, I did not leave the Airport's VIP Lounge, so there's not much to report, other than they have a pretty good food and wine selection.
The next day I took the Eurostar train to London, at over 300 km/h, where I took care of several business-related issues, and went back to Brussels at night.
In Brussels I stayed at the grand, although a bit run down, Metropole Hotel. In the lobby they have thank you notes from a large number of celebrities, like Stephen Hawking, Hooverphonic, Albert II Prince of Monaco, Monica Belluci, Avril Lavigne…
Other than a long meeting at the European Commission Expert Group on Venture Philanthropy & Social Investment, of which I am a member, I did two important things: get a customized box of chocolates from Neuhaus, and visit the The Belgian Comic Strip Center (Comic Book Museum).
As an anecdote, I had to ask for help to operate the subway ticket machine, because the ‘multi-selection’ button, instead of being ‘pressed’ (like the rest of the buttons in the poorly-designed machine) needed to be physically turned! Then I bought the ticket that the machine instructed clearly “1 journey, including the airport” only to have the conductor tell me it was not valid and having to buy a second one (making it as expensive, and a lot les comforable, as the Uber I took upon arrival). And to top it off, when I arrived in Toronto, the roads were so icy that my wife could not pick me up, so I had to stay the night at an airport hotel… which would not take my chip-secured credit card.
The joys of a travelling executive. Welcome back home.