Niederrhein Airport, or waiting for 5 hours at the gates of hell.

Coming back from a romantic weekend in Helsinki with my significant other via V Bird I had to change flights in Niedderrhein Airport, that sleepy little gem in the middle of the big nowhere that is the german border area to the netherlands.

In the past months I usually took the last Ryanair flight back to Stansted Airport from this normally sedate little place (only 14 flight movements per day), so when I found out that I had 6 hours between connecting flights, I wasn't too worried, as I imagined myself sitting in some corner of the usually empty restaurant, overlooking the airfield and reading as many sunday papers I could get my hands on and taking some pictures of the beautiful V Bird Airbus 320's.

The first sign that something was different greeted us when the plane parked in front of the terminal: the visitors terrace, normally empty, was packed full with people, staring at our plane. My first thought was that some starlet or footieplayer might be with us on the plane, but after getting into the main hall, it was far worse: literally hundreds of families used the small terminal for their sunday afternoon stroll, with dogs and small children yelling and yelping everywhere. The restaurant and cafe were packed solid, and every so often, everybody would get up and sprint towards the visitors terrace to see a V Bird arrive/leave. In the meantime the assorted German and Dutch masses (most of them looking like they never would be able to afford a trip away from their drab lower rhine region) would complain about the food ("Hans, look at that: they don't put gherkins on the hamburger. Have you ever seen anything like it") or about the service. If they would have stayed at home, they would have saved money and nerves.

I don't know, but for some weird reasons it seems to be deep rooted in the psyche of my fellow countrymen to take your extended family somewhere everyone else takes their families and then unisono complain about the masses at their destination, the lack of parking spaces and the bad service/food of the place they've all chosen.

As Jean Paul Sartre said : "Hell is other people".

The man had a point.