Checking In From Amsterdam

Well, I did a terrible job at updating the website from London, but I will try to give you a bit of a travel update from here in Amsterdam, while the laptop has power and internet, since those things will be a little harder to come by tomorrow as Lorie and I fly back to Montana.

First off, we had a great time in London. I’d really like to tell a long, rambling account of all the things we did, and perhaps I will eventually, but now might not be the best time for it, since I’m suffering not only from “bus lag” (that is, not sleeping well during the night transit), but from “intermittent keyboard”, a problem I’ve been having with my computer that interrupts my typing egregiously. The keyboard thing I’ll have to remedy when I get back home, but the sleeping thing I’ll probably address shortly with a bit of a nap.

So, London was fantastic. The UK had a distressingly comprehensive border control procedure that was actually rather unexpected: they require the precise address where you will be staying while in the UK, which Lorie and I did not have. We didn’t have that because we haven’t needed it for any other country we’ve been to these past several years, but the government gets to make its own rules, I suppose. I just wish that they had emphasized that fact a little better before we got underway. So, if you or someone you know is heading to the United Kingdom, make sure you have the address of the hotel or location at which you will be staying. If you don’t intend to stay anywhere, because you expect to camp the whole way (i.e., you’re on a bike trip), then I don’t know what you’ll do, other than camp in the Passport Control office. It was a very stressful experience, but also very educational. I’ve never been through US Passport Control as a non-citizen, so I imagine it’s pretty harsh too, given the level of distrust and scrutiny I encountered back in 2006.

So, despite a bumpy border, everything else in London seemed to go great. I understand many of the flagship museums were converted to free admission several years ago, and Lorie and I made a great deal of use of that. Thank you, United Kingdom, for having such accessible museums! We were shameless tourists during our visit, and tried to hit the major “postcard” sites of the city, like Parliament, Buckingham Palace, and the Tower of London. Even with several days, we didn’t feel like we saw everything, let alone go into everything, so there’s definitely things to do and see in the future when we return. I don’t know when we’ll return, of course, but Lorie and I both liked it enough that we’d like to do so in the future!

Okay, I think I’ll endeavor to take a bit of a nap now before Lorie and I set out onto the town to wander around a bit for our last evening in Europe for a while. It’s been a good trip, but we’re both really looking forward to returning home for the holidays, and seeing our families again in person, instead of through Skype!

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