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International Hotel assembled in the time of Coronavirus

Brussels, 13th March, it was not even 24 hours since I had arrived to continue working on the project when my phone rang. It was Kike calling me from the factory to let me know that Felix had told him that everyone should come back with no exception. Things were not looking very well due to the Coronavirus. They were trying to book flights, so that everyone could spend the night at home. The Spanish Government declared the State of Alert only 24 hours after.

I suppose the situation was quite similar for all companies. These uncertain times and the lockdown brought by the Covid-19 left us in a place in which we did not even consider getting back to activities in a near future, as travelling was not a possibility.

Therefore, we had to keep working from Spain. It was nearly two months after, when we were able to think of the possibility of going back to Brussels in order to finish what we had started. We wanted to provide service to our customer who had supported the decisions that we had made. Even though, these decisions entailed a delay in the project, because the most important thing was people.

When the decision of going back to Brussels was made, we had a meeting with all the people who were going to travel to Brussels to finish the project. We had to consider that the probability of getting a flight was non-existent. Therefore, everyone, who would travel to Brussels, would have to do it by van. We knew when they were leaving, but we did not know when we would come back. 

There were two groups who went to Brussels. The first group, in which I was included along with 4 more colleagues, Abel, Zafrilla, Paquito and Juanfran, left in a van on Monday 11th May. This was when the adventure began.

Those days, the lockdown restrictions were not as bad as in the beginning. However, bars and restaurants were still closed as well as toilets in petrol stations. The trip was over 18 hours long, and the fact that everything was closed was a major obstacle. Luckily, this only happened in Spain. We did not have any other setbacks apart from this.  We were about to spend a lot of time together for the next few weeks, so we organised the driving shifts and discussed some things. 

We arrived at our destination the next day: The Radisson Blu Royal Hotels in Brussels, which was going to be our workplace as well as our home for the next few weeks. From then, we set a routine. We had breakfast at 7.15 am, then went to work. We had to furnish the common areas of a 5 stars hotel which included: The reception, 2 bar tops, 2 restaurants with custom-made upholstered benches, tables, stairs railings, units to separate space in the 2 restaurants, furniture for the VIP room and meeting rooms, acoustic panels, stairs claddings, and a “Gantry” which nobody knew what it was, but I think we will never forget it  ….

The following week, some more colleagues got to Brussels: Kique, Dani and Toni.  The Fama Family for this adventure was all in Brussels.

We ate when we were hungry. We always had food, which was prepared following all the security measures that the situation required. We kept working until 07.00 pm or 08.00 pm depending on the day. It was our especial time when we finish our day at work, we could have a nice shower, go for a walk and drink some of the Belgium beers that we had tried in one of the most popular bars in Brussels “Delirium Bar” in previous trips. However, we settled for buying them from 24 hours shops. We talked about our families who were waiting for us at home and how much we missed them. We also talked about the things we had done at work that day. 

There was no time to do any tourism in Brussels at the time. It was mainly because bars and restaurants were closed like in Spain. There were only some home delivery options available. Museums were closed as well as parks. The most similar thing to have a drink in a bar was to have it sitting in front the hotel laundry on a Sunday night.

Lorry after lorry, day after day, weeks were passing by, and the moment when we finished our job in Brussels arrived. It was time to come back home after nearly a month in Brussels. We had the feeling that we had overcome a big challenge, we were proud of our job. We arrived at the factory on Wednesday 10th June; we were finally at home.

I would not like to finish these words without saying that this was only possible thank to our providers that were also part of this adventure in Brussels. In addition, I would like to thank the other part of our team, the people who stayed at the factory and helped us overcome the challenges that the situation brought, so that we could come back home as soon as possible. 



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