After much hesitation and a long lockdown and semi-lockdown we decide to go and spend Christmas and new year's eve in Brussels with our best friends. And to enjoy a few nights at the fireplace of my house, as well as check the work done in our kitchen, which has taken quite a few months longer than anticipated. Delays in deliveries of components, incompetence and insouciance of the contractor, bureaucratic bottlenecks, you name it, we experienced it. Time to go and have a look.
We get free antigen kits in UK but have to pay for exactly the same kit to travel. Not sure why, I thought maybe they do not trust a self-administered home test for travel, they want a certified company to do it. I was not exactly sure (my fault, instructions are clear) so we went to board the Eurotunnel and we are politely turned away. We need to drive fifteen minutes to a private test center near Folkestone, where a big gentleman at the door asks us to book a test online on his ipad. He says there will be no slot available for today but he will squeeze us in, and it does not look like it will be difficult as there is no one around except for a couple of Eurostar travelers like us who got rejected at check-in.
In no time we are inside and a polite lady hands us aswab... to test ourselves! So £39 per person, for nothing, really.
We need a test upon return as well, and it was easier to buy it in the UK and do it at home in belgium instead of having to go look for a lab there. I register a pre-return kit, for which I need a test number, then sample test number and PLF reference number for UK govt tracking. Surprise: the night before our return to the UK we do the test at home and the kit is missing a swab, luckily I had taken with me one of the free domestic use test kits and could use one of those swabs.
The double test kit for two people was £158, not cheap for something identical to what the government provides for free, but C-19, the test company, will refund £15 when I point out to them a swab was missing.
All that is left is a personal Locator Form (PLF) so the UK government knows where we are going to stay in London (at home, they know that already) and we are fit to travel.