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Oh, Mama, can this really be the end,
To be stuck inside of Basel
With the Mulhouse blues again. – With apologies to Bob Dylan
Welcome to Bert’s.
I am at EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg and I may be here for a long, long time.
Having got up earlier than the birds today to catch an early flight from Gatwick to Basel and finished my single meet on time, I wanted to get home earlier than my planned 17.25 return to Gatwick. A 16.00 to London Luton (despite a longer journey from the airport to my home in West London) seemed the perfect opportunity and duly the friendly counter assistant at the easyJet changed my ticket.
Alas, “due to the late arrival of the incoming aircraft”, the 16.00 has just been put back to 17.15.
“Can I change back to the Gatwick flight?” I asked the woman at the gate boarding counter.
“Yes you can Sir, but the Gatwick flight is also delayed, by around 45 minutes.”
“Oh no. Why?”
“Due to the late arrival of the incoming aircraft,” she (or perhaps a recorded message inside her jacket, like the Buzz Lightyear toy) replied.
I am losing the will to live. I am tired. I got back from Panama via Miami Airport (and, more importantly, via the Admiral’s Club Lounge) on Saturday and this is not what the doctor ordered. Virtually every reader will identify with (and no doubt have said) the words I am currently thinking: “And people think I have a glamourous job. Actually at times like this it sucks.”
If you want glamour, Bert’s, one of two eateries (the other a coffee kiosk) beyond immigration, and a perfectly serviceable snack bar, is probably not for you. But you head there of course because you don’t know that last week’s plane still hasn’t arrived and probably won’t for around a month.
I bought a cobb salad and, to accompany my mood, a bottle of lemon (bitter of course). The most notable thing about Bert’s is the magnificent giant handlebar moustache that adorns the features of a very assertive, large man who runs the place. I wonder if he is Bert?
The Dufry ‘walk-through’ store is a disappointment. The main shop is cluttered and generally unenticing. Definitely not the Swiss giant at its best; the saving grace being the Lindt display in the centre of the shop complete with live chocolate making.
Switzerland has some great destination products and there’s no excuse for a shop of a reasonable scale such as this not to show it off via more than a single promotion. How about talking those Swiss wines and spirits up, for example, not just sitting them on a floor unit? The walk-through is in fact a very unsubtle, forced ‘push-through’ and I noticed many passengers, no doubt regular travellers, sparing themselves the walk by taking the shorter cabin crew and staff detour.
16.45 and there is still no sign of that “incoming aircraft”. I fear I may be at Bert’s for some time.