Siamo Arrivati!

20 May

Libby & Janie enjoy morning coffee at AMS after a restful night outside the carriers at the Hilton.

20 May 2012. We have arrived! The long journey from Portland ended Friday when Ric, JaneGray, Libbyjean, and I landed in Rome. Wednesday’s departure from Portland was on a non-stop to Amsterdam, where we had a layover allowing everyone – especially the kitties – a chance to rest. It was 10 hour flight with cats under the seats in front of us. “Under” is relative. Thanks to a metal box under the seat in front of me (I suspect it was equipment for the in-seat video entertainment system), Libby was not really “under” and I had to straddle her carrier the whole way. Luckily my short legs made it less of a problem. There were a few “Exorcist” moments when the carrier twitched and pitched as Libby stretched and objected to her confinement. Janie was quite vocal, but the engine noise drowned her out. Amazingly, both cats did very well. 13 hours in their Sherpa carriers and no messes; however, there was a line at the catbox when we set it up at the Schipol Hilton.The Hilton had a you-can’t-refuse-it offer for us. No standard Hilton rooms were ready for occupancy (of course it was only 09:30) but for an extra €50 we could have an “executive” level room with free drinks and snacks all day. We didn’t really care about that perk: we needed a room to free the cats and let them go potty! They did have tasty antipasti e aperitivi for us, though.

Thought we’d need two bags checked, two carry-on, plus 2 cats. Not a chance! Checked 8. Funny how a cat under the seat in front of you costs $200, but my laptop in the same location would be free.

The animal transport/export paperwork was a challenge we left to a professional, AirAnimal. They did a great job of making sure our documents were in order and in our hands on time. The EU has reasonable requirements, but things have to be done in a certain order, a specified time in advance of travel, documented, and signed off by the USDA no more than ten days prior to flight. AirAnimal gave us 3 sets of documents, and ironically the only place the documents were inspected was by Delta in Portland. When we arrived in The Netherlands, we passed through Passport Control with not a glance at the kitties. Delta also checked our entire luggage through to Rome, so we did not have to claim it at AMS, thus we had nothing to declare at Customs. We simply walked out of the terminal and over to the Hilton with cats in tow, a backpack with our laptops and a backpack full of cat supplies. Arriving in Rome the next day, no passport control, no customs as we were already in the EU. No one in Europe ever looked at the cat paperwork. Considering 3 vet visits and AirAnimal’s fee together amounted to almost as much as one airline ticket for a human, it seemed extraordinary no one wanted to make sure our kids were properly documented!Delta having checked our luggage through to Rome thwarted our plans to have a change of clothes in Amsterdam. We spruced up as best we could with minimal toiletries and headed into town to buy shirts and underthings. We thought Portland was a bicycle-centric town, but Portland has nothing on Amsterdam. There are even traffic signals for cyclists, and the cyclists obey them.

Portland, your bicycling lifestyle pales by comparison to Amsterdam. Of course, it’s flat in The Netherlands….

On the Friday flight to FCO, Libby managed to score an upgrade to Business Class. It seems there is a restriction on the number of pets per cabin: only one allowed in Coach and one in Business Class. In fact, KLM gave Ric and I a row of three seats, leaving the center seat unassigned “for the cats” according to the agent. When the flight attendant moved Libby and me, I asked her why. Seems KLM is concerned about the safety of the pet in the event oxygen masks are needed and for “security.” She was vague on “security” but adamant that the cats would have a mask available should that be necessary. The move didn’t change Libby’s flight much, but I got a nice breakfast out of it. And Libby actually fit under the seat on this flight.So we are here! We are having “pinch me” moments when we turn to one another and say “Hey, we live in Rome!” then laugh! More later on starting our life in Rome.

14 Responses to “Siamo Arrivati!”

  1. Kim May 21, 2012 at 16:32 #

    Do pinch yourselves! I am glad everyone and the cats traveled well. Look forward to future updates.


  2. Diana Shaw May 21, 2012 at 16:05 #

    Loving your blog. Your adventures are always so entertaining and fun to read. Looking forward to following your marvelous life in Rome.


  3. Janet Tabbal May 21, 2012 at 05:37 #

    We are so very happy and excited for your ‘life in Rome”…a new chapter begins. It’s so fun to ‘live’ it along with you through your blog! We are going to miss you and your loving hospitality but we couldn’t be happier for you and Ric!


  4. jetjet2 May 21, 2012 at 04:15 #

    It’s 6:15 am Rome time! Laurel is up and getting ready for work! Where are the keys? Where’s the BMW? Oh, I’m in Rome… no Hwy 26 or 84! I’m walking on my Hwy 11 for 20 minutes… Have a wonderful 1st day on the job! 🙂


  5. Catherine May 21, 2012 at 02:38 #

    Laurel!! How exciting. What an adventure to get there. And now, the real adventure begins. I am so happy to know that you are all there safely.


  6. Cynthia Thompson May 20, 2012 at 18:20 #

    Ric and Laurel – Congratulations on the big move! I’m sorry we did not get a chance to say goodbye in person before you left. The tips you gave us for our trip to Italy in September 2011 were great! We went to Cinque Terra, Florence and Rome. I look forward to reading the updates on your blog. Best wishes for a grand adventure. Cynthia and Dennis


  7. Deb Fischer May 20, 2012 at 16:58 #

    I love that you are doing this! Happy first few exploring and settling in days.


  8. angela olson May 20, 2012 at 16:48 #

    The bicycle culture in Amsterdam is a sight to see! So glad you are finally at “home in Rome” and that the kitties did well on their first European adventure. I am so happy for you guys!!!


  9. Carolyn May 20, 2012 at 15:46 #

    Hi! Thank you for including me on your blog. I’ve read all here and signed up to know about future writings. I’m so happy you all are safely in Rome. My Shadow and Shasta are very impressed with the details (luggage) provided to Libby and Janie for the trip! Enjoy this adventure!


  10. Peggy DeLay May 20, 2012 at 15:41 #

    I’m so excited for you! Let the adventure begin.


  11. D Ward May 20, 2012 at 13:50 #

    Sounds like an interesting journey! You live in Rome! Nice! Pinch yourselves from me!


    • gooddayrome May 20, 2012 at 14:58 #

      Thank you! I think this will be a fun way to keep everyone up to date on our adventure.


  12. Jonnie Martin May 20, 2012 at 13:47 #

    You’re there, you’re there! Not that I expected an airplane to dump you in the ocean between here and there, but it is good to know you have landed!


    • gooddayrome May 20, 2012 at 15:00 #

      Thanks, Jonnie! So glad the flight is over and we are in one place, unpacking and settling in. Soon your adventure begins!


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