Accompanying your husband on a medical trip to Brussels can be a memorable experience. What occurred at the time of the Brussels’ World’s Fair turned out to be a little more than expected.

Many years ago, my husband, a Professor of Ophthalmology, and I, attended an international meeting of ophthalmology in Brussels. For budgetary reasons, we decided not to avail ourselves of expensive accommodations arranged by the Society, but rather to seek our own. What we had overlooked was the presence of the World Fair, bringing thousands of visitors who also required accommodations. After much searching, we finally located a spooky looking ‘Bed and Breakfast’.

Our first disappointment, was with the absence of a tub or shower, and the presence of a basin and pitcher filled with cold water. The next shock, was of the toilet location which was across a courtyard.

After dark, with flashlight in hand, I ventured out into the night. While I sat enthroned, I noted the small window was broken, and to my absolute horror, observed a prying human eye. I lost no time racing away, shrieking the entire way back. Oddly, no response from any quarter! Upon reentering our room, my husband roused from his sleep and muttered “where are the cats?”

Was that all? No, my friends! An hour or so later, in deep sleep, we were catapulted out of bed as it had lifted and folded itself into the wall.

At 7:00 am, we sat in complete silence over breakfast of coffee and croissants.

Later that day, fortunately, we encountered a Brussels colleague who offered us sanctuary in his home.


Contributed by:  Betty von Noorden


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