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August 5th, 2018.
A lovely warm Sunday in Belgium. As we’re driving towards Brussels Airport a mixture of excitement and sad feelings is running through our veins. We’re super excited to leave on this huge adventure but we also know that we’ll miss all of our family and friends.
Our flight is at 13.55. When we arrive at the airport around 11 am the huge screen in the welcome hall tells us we need to go to desk 6. After queuing for about an hour the lovely lady at the front desk gives us some great news. Our flight is overbooked and we are on the waiting list.
Awesome start of our adventure.
We say goodbye to our parents, turn around and walk towards whatever is ahead of us.
We go through security, buy some water and walk towards the B gates. Gate B.06 is waiting for us. We are the second last couple to board. Another nice lady with great news. Our boarding pass isn’t scanning. “Seating issue”. She calls her manager and after a few (long) minutes he finally tells her to ‘manually seat us in the system’.
Next, she tells us that we need to go to the information desk as soon as we land if we want to get on that plane.
Brussels – Kiev
After a pleasant flight of 2 hours and 50 minutes, we landed in Kiev, Ukraine. We went straight to the information desk. This time a little less nice lady points towards her male partner after we show her our boarding passes. The guy is on the phone, barely gives us a good day and just keeps talking to the other end of his line.
He takes our boarding pass with his other hand, types something on his computer and 2 boarding passes roll out of his printer.
He said something in Ukrainian we obviously didn’t understand but when he saw our faces he said: “free upgrade”, with a slight smile. And yes indeed, our boarding pass said “premium economy” instead of the usual economy.
So instead of hearing that we needed to stay the night at the airport, he gave us better seats than what we paid for.
I’m not sure if it’s because of the excitement of business class or just plain stupidity, but something strange happened. The guy behind his computer pointed us towards some queues, so that’s where we went. We gave our passport and they put a Ukrainian stamp in it. We walked ahead and we arrived in the luggage hall, which was followed by the exit of the airport.
Not really what should’ve happened as we needed to get on our connecting flight. We tried to retrace our steps, but we couldn’t get through ‘because of security issues’.
We still had a little over 2 hours before our flight so we went out of the airport. While we took a stroll outside, Yentl checked Instagram for a minute or 2 and got a lovely text message from Mobile Vikings “You’ve used 48 euros on roaming”. Seems that Ukraine is not part of Europe according to them…
Our rule of thumb is that we can only tick off a country of our Where have we been-list when we’ve exited the airport, so it had one advantage… 😊
We went through security again and got some weird faces from the migration officers. Why on earth is your arrival stamp August 5th too?
Kiev – Colombo
Our second plane left half an hour late, but at least we had extra legroom space.
After about 90 mins our first meal was brought: a salad with bread, chicken with mashed potatoes and some chocolate dessert with lots of whipped cream. As we had no individual tv screens, the meal was followed by a movie on the big screen.
We bought a zoo. A classic movie we both saw already but it killed the time. After that, we started writing this blog posts as we couldn’t sleep because of the not-so-quiet Russians behind us.
I think we both slept for about 2 hours (out of 9) when they woke us for breakfast: we could choose between an omelet or something with macaroni and cheese. We both picked the latter.
We arrived in Colombo, Sri Lanka
The plane made a nice landing at around 9 o’clock, local time. We set foot on Asian soil, bought a local sim card for 9 dollars from Mobitel and went through migration once again. Another stamp, this time Sri Lanka, shining next to the Brazil stamp.
Something odd struck us: at the airport in Colombo, there are at least 10 stores selling washing machines, fridges, ovens… Why on earth would you buy a fridge at the airport? Is it because of tax-free? If anyone knows, please enlighten us in the comments. 😉
After we got some Sri Lankan Rupees we took a tuk-tuk to our hotel. He wanted to charge us 1000 Rupees, but we bargained to 700 (which we know was still too much, but is actually only 4 euros for 35 minutes of driving).
If you’ve never been to Asia, you have to take a tuk-tuk. The drivers are crazy, but the experience is great and cheap (around 45 rupees (€ 0,25) /km). I think our driver drove more on the wrong side of the road than on the correct one.
Sri Lanka used to be a colony of the Dutch, but because the UK feared that Napoleon might take the Netherlands (and thus Sri Lanka) they conquered Sri Lanka in 1815, making it a crown colony until 1948. That’s why in Sri Lanka cars drive on the right-hand side of the road.
Winston beach guest house
When we arrived at our hotel we dropped off our luggage and jumped into the swimming pool. Ice cold water never felt so good!
We fell asleep next to the pool and woke up a few hours later. We agreed to stroll a bit through Negombo and have a small snack somewhere. Crispy fried cheese balls. Heaven. We decided to return to the hotel via the beach (as our hotel was just in front of the ocean).
Negombo isn’t the clean city Katrijn hoped for, although our hotel and swimming pool were clean. The beach was full of garbage at most places and the water of the sea wasn’t that clean & clear either.
When we arrived at our hotel once again it started to darken already and we decided it was time for a decent night rest. Sunset is around 7 pm and looks like this:
Thanks for reading!