Travel Tales 1: Getting there

Depart MSP at 1:10 on May 16. Flight time: 10 hours and 45 minutes

Arrive Amsterdam at 6:55 a.m. on May 17

That was the plan. Then we got to the airport, and Delta informed us that our passports were not good for the trip. Despite my obsessive checking and double-checking of details for the entire vacation, I had missed the Dutch requirement for passports valid three months after the return flight. Ours were good for only 75 days past the end of the trip.

Panic. Trying to remain calm and not show panic. Wading through voicemail hell while standing at the Delta counter, trying to understand instructions, people talking at me from three directions. All of the humans involved were great — Delta personnel, passport office, waitress at the restaurant where we had lunch while waiting for the passports (“Oh, you poor thing! Can I bring you a free dessert?”) In the end, the Delta people got us on an evening non-stop, so we were only eight hours later than our original schedule.

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After all the travel stress, we settled in to a peaceful apartment on the Oudegracht. (That’s the canal, above.) Hans, the landlord, warned us of a likely intruder, and told us sternly that we were not to open the door to this beggar.

Sure enough, the long-haired orange kitty came scratching at the patio door and meowing to be let in every time he saw us in the apartment!

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