The Terminal

I had a FANTASTIC time in London last week with my friend and Stefano, but I’ll tell you about that another day. Today I wanted to let you know what happened at the airport on Sunday, because it might be useful to anyone who has future travel plans to Europe…

Let’s see. I went online to get my boarding pass on Saturday evening. Everything was fine up to the very end, when I got a message stating that there were some problems with my travel documents, and that I needed to go to an airport check-in desk the following day, that is, departure day.

We left the hotel a bit early in order to see what the “problems” were. I figured they just had to take a second look at my permanent Italian resident visa, so I wasn’t worried, even though I’d never received a message like that before…

When I got to the check-in desk, though, the airline representatives told me that my passport wasn’t valid for travel. WHAAAAT??? I was stunned.

Here’s why, and what happened afterwards:

My passport expires on April 19, 2019. That’s less than three months from now. The rule is that you can’t travel with a passport that has a three-month expiry date. Indeed, in some countries, the rule is SIX months.

I had no idea. I mean, I knew my passport was going to expire in April but figured I could use it in the meantime and had PLENTY of time to renew it. Who knew about the “three month rule”?

Back to the airport check-in desk.

  1. I made the point that I shouldn’t have been issued a ticket in the first place (NOTE: I booked with the airline directly, not with an agent). The airline reps agreed with me.
  2. I added that I should have been stopped in FLORENCE on my way to London, not in LONDON on my way back to Florence. Again, they agreed.

But they kept insisting that they couldn’t let me travel with this passport, that my passport wasn’t valid…They called their superiors who, at least in the beginning, confirmed my no-travel stance.¬†I began to get worried…Flashes from the Tom Hanks movie called “The Terminal” kept popping into my mind…

Luckily, in the end I got the go-ahead from the top floors, my boarding pass was printed yaaaay, and I boarded the plane with Stefano and my friend…

As you can imagine, I’m getting a new passport ASAP

So here’s my point today: before making any travel plans to Europe, make sure your passport doesn’t expire three months after your departure date. In fact, just to be on the safe side, make that at least SIX MONTHS……………………

London!

First things first. I’ve been trying to sort through my Alsatian photos…Yes, we were in Alsace, lovely Alsace!, for the holidays…I wanted to surprise you, but too much time has passed, so I might as well…fess up! ūüėČ

Here, finally, are a few photos of Strasbourg, where we spent the first part of our trip, including Xmas. The first photo shows a view of what is called Petite France, a lovely area of the city…

Anyway, as I mentioned, I have been trying to sort through my photos, but life keeps getting in the way, so much stuff to do, blablabla.

You know how it is.

This evening, for example, eleven colleagues/friends are coming over to our house for dinner, a mostly Alsatian cheese-and-wine dinner (yummmmmy cheese in Alsace!)…

Then on Wednesday…well, wait, let me tell you the story properly, as it happened.

This morning one of my best friends called for a chat. Among other things, she told me that she was going to be in London next week, from Wednesday to Sunday. Yes, this Wednesday.

I’ve wanted to go back to London for ages, so I must have sighed and said something like “ohhh, I wish I could go with you.” And she promptly replied, “well, why don’t you?”

Indeed, why not?

And so within minutes I had my plane ticket. On Thursday and Friday, she has to attend various meetings, but we’ll get together for dinner…and then on Saturday¬† (and Sunday morning, too, before heading back to Florence), we’ll be checking out the Mantegna-Bellini exhibit at the National Gallery, among other things…¬†

Well, this is sooooo exciting! I have to admit, it will be weird not to be sightseeing/going around with Stefano (who can’t take the time off right now…so he’s staying at home with the kitties).

But hey, I’ll be in LONDON, one of my favorite cities on the planet. It will be fabulous!!!

Take care, everyone! Ciao!

P.S. Isn’t it wonderful to see how so many buildings, both in Strasbourg and in the smaller towns we visited in Alsace, are decorated with plush toys? If you look closely, you will be able to see that the building that sticks out in the last photo is the same one that is lit up in the next-to-last photo. So pretty! And oh how I wanted one of those big bears! Hehe.