Old Town Salzburg is a UNESCO Worlds Heritage site.

Salzburg, Austria

 Six Hours in Salzburg

We had planned to explore Salzburg’s ancient buildings and cathedrals, and venues from The Sound of Music. We took the 10 a.m. train from Munich to Salzburg and arrived around 11:30. We left the train station and walked about 15 minutes then crossed the Salzach river bridge heading toward the shopping district Hagenauerplatz.

The Salzach River

The Salzach river winds through Salzburg.

The Salzach river was a transport route for salt.

Salzburg building remains date back to the 7th century.

The Salzach river winds through Salzburg, Austria

Old Town Salzburg is a UNESCO Worlds Heritage site.

Hohensalzburg Fortress perches on the Festungsberg and the Monchsberg Mountains.

What to do in Hagenauerplatz or Hagenau Square

St. Blasius Church is at the end of Getreidegasse.

St. Blaise is the”patron saint of throat ailments.”

We arrived in Hagenauerplatz and perused the shops, and as we neared the street’s end, the meticulous sculpture of Jesus on the cross caught our attention on St. Blasius or St. Blaise’s Church. Though it was September, a note posted on the church advertised an Advent music event. We knew that we were in a town that celebrated Catholicism.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born at Getreidegasse 9 in Hagneau Square.

Pandora is one of the shops that we had recognized in Hagenauer Square.

Getreidegasse and Mozart

We turned down Getreidegasse and spotted Amadeus Wolfgang Mozart’s birthplace and the home that he lived in for 17 years at Getreidegasse No. 9. Mozart’s house is one of many UNESCO World Heritage sites in historic Salzburg.

Hohensalzburg Fortress

Festung Hohensalzburg is known as "the mightiest fortress in Central Europe.

Hohensalzburg Fortress was built in 1077 to protect the archbishops and their land from attacks.

Cobblestones pave an alley in Old Town Salzburg.

Old Town Salzburg, Austria preserves their ancient remnants.

We then walked toward the Hohensalzburg Fortress, and instead of taking the cable railway up to the fortress, we began our climb up the steep hill. We stopped about halfway at Stieglkeller beer garden for lunch. After lunch, we continued our trek up and toured the castle.

Churches and spires dot the Salzburg skyline.

The best view of Salzburg is from Festung Hohensalzburg.

Salzburg, Austria

Festung Hohensalzburg offers a view of the Alps and the Salzburg countryside.

Nonnberg Nunnery “Abbey”

Nonnberg Nunnery and Abbey in Salzburg

By Andrew Bossi (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons 2163_-_Salzburg_-_Stift_Nonnberg

After the tour, we directed our path down the hill to the Nonnberg Convent that was founded between the years 712 to 715 and is known as the oldest working nunnery in the world. To this day, you can still hear the nuns sing every morning at 6:45. The real Maria von Kutscher who had inspired The Sound of Music had lived at the abbey, and scenes from the musical were filmed at Nonnberg.

Residenzplatz Square

Next, we entered the square where horse and carriages are available for hire for The Sound of Music tours, or dinner tours, and more. In one of the scenes in Residenzplatz Square, Maria had splashed in the Residenz Fountain on her way to the von Trapp home.

Fiaker Tours offer "The Sound of Music" tour.

Visitors can take horse and carriage tours in Salzburg, Austria.

Salzburg Cathedral or Dom zu Salzburg

The cathedral was rebuilt and consecrated three times

The original Salzburg Cathedral was constructed in the year 767.

Salzburg Cathedral in Austria

The three dates, 774, 1628 and 1959 represent the consecration times after it was rebuilt from fires and a bombing during WWII.

We passed Salzburg’s holiest and most famous Cathedral, Dom zu Salzburg where 370 years ago someone marred the marble entranceway with graffiti. We proceeded west to Mirabell Palace and Gardens where Maria and the von Trapp children had sung “Do Re Mi.”

Mirabell Palace and Gardens

Maria and the children finished the song on the gaited steps.

Hohensalzburg Fortress and the Salzburg Cathedral are visible from Mirabell Gardens.

We enjoyed the gardens and the view of the cathedral and fortress, but today the palace is used for municipal government business, so we entered the foyer only. With time to spare, we relaxed at a cafe and sipped some Austrian wine paired with a selection of cheese.

One day, we hope to return and stay longer. Salzburg, entrenched in history, classical music, and religion, seems like the perfect place to celebrate the Christmas season.

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Belmond El Encanto is a beautiful wedding venue.

Belmond El Encanto, Santa Barbara, California, Hotel Review

Belmond El Encanto, “Santa Barbara’s only Forbes Five-Star resort,” comprises 92 suites or rooms that huddle in the hills below the Santa Ynez mountains and overlook Santa Barbara and the Pacific Ocean like sentinels. Though it opened in 1918, the resort was sold to Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. in 2004 and had undergone a seven-year refurbishment.

The gardens at Belmond El Encanto are filled with palm trees and succulents.

The Belmond El Encanto gardens are rich with greenery.

Rates start at $525 per night and hotel packages are available. A $35 per night resort fee gave us access to WI-FI, motorized bikes, the El Encanto spa and gym, the daily local paper, an in-room Nespresso coffee machine, bottled water, garden tours, backyard games, shoe shining, and shuttle transportation. We used all of the amenities except for the motorized bikes, garden tours, backyard games, and shoe shining. We especially enjoyed making espresso in our room.

Belmond El Encanto is a luxury hotel in Santa Barbara.

Belmond El Encanto in Santa Barbara, California, offers luxury and serenity.

I had booked late for a Memorial Day weekend wedding, and I was initially disappointed that I wasn’t able to reserve a room in town within walking distance of bars and restaurants. That changed when we arrived at this hillside oasis. We entered the expansive lobby, located in the main building, through a flower-covered arbor. The receptionist welcomed us with a smile and ensured us that the staff was available to assist us.

Belmond El Encanto is a luxury resort.

Flower-filled gardens line the walkway at Belmond El Encanto.

We followed the bellman along curved brick walkways lined with gardens brimming with succulents, purple lilies, ferns, and canopied palms. We passed a pond where orange fish darted among water lilies, turtles sunned themselves on rocks, and a pair of ducks waddled. This was the perfect venue for a Belmond El Encanto wedding.

An arbor surrounds the pond at Belmond El Encanto

The Arbor and Lily Pond pond at Belmond El Encanto is a beautiful venue for an outdoor wedding.

We approached our bungalow covered with a red tile roof and equipped with a patio decked with two chairs and a table. We entered the living room furnished with a sofa, tables, a few chairs, a widescreen TV, and a desk. The living room led to a short hallway with closets on the left and a marble bathroom with a heated floor on the right. The hallway ended at our bedroom outfitted with a king-size bed and a few tables. With the addition of a cot for our daughter who joined us for a night, the suite accommodated our family of four, it felt cozy but elegant.

The infinity pool at Belmond El Encanto is the perfect place to relax.

Belmond El Encanto infinity pool overlooks Santa Barbara, California.

We unpacked and donned light-weight jackets and strolled down the hill to the El Encanto restaurant for lunch. We dined outside on crisp Caesar salad hearts topped with moist Scottish salmon while overlooking Santa Barbara. We lingered sipping wine from their extensive wine list while absorbing the panorama. The scenery and food enticed us to return to explore their other menus.

Belmond El Encanto Restaurant

View of Santa Barbara, California and the Pacific Ocean is spectacular from the Belmond El Encanto Restaurant.

 

Belmond El Encanto’s ambiance left a lasting impression on me, and I hope to return. As we headed to the airport, we felt restored and refreshed. I suspect that was their plan.

 

Best Time at the Beach: Fall

If you miss salt sticking to your skin as you inhale the sea-laden air or the crunch of Fischer’s sweet caramel popcorn or the rhythm of the reggae beat, you’re in luck.

Fall, or the beginning of the off-season, is the best time to travel to your favorite summer beach resorts. Visitors can still sunbathe, swim, shop, fish, crab, boat, play tennis and golf, visit museums, take classes, and enjoy the nightlife.

 Beach Net is an excellent resource for year-round information for the Maryland/Delaware Eastern Shore. It includes an event calendar to help maximize your stay.

In addition to an abundance of activities, the following lists the reasons that autumn, especially September and October, is the best time to visit the beach.

September and October Temperate Weather 

  • Clear skies and mild temperatures are the best beach weather ingredients.
  • The ocean has warmed over the hot summer months, and the temperature is easier on your body.
Uncrowded East Coast Resort Town

Crowds are limited during the off-season in this Delaware beach resort.

Reduced Crowds Means Less Stress

  • You arrive at your destination quicker with less traffic.
  • Bike riding is less dangerous.
  •  Restaurant hostesses can seat you quickly.
  • Parking at retail stores is easy and there are fewer, or no, lines inside.
  • Golf tee times and tennis court reservations are usually available.
  • Beaches are less crowded, and sometimes no one is in sight.

Relaxed Rules

  • Surf fishing, paddleboarding, kayaking, and surfboarding are allowed during the day.
  • Dogs are permitted on the beach during certain dates, depending on the town.
A man walks his dog on the beach in Delaware.

Dogs are allowed on most beaches during the off-season.

Best Time for Heavy Blue Crabs

Fall is the best time to enjoy heavy steamed blue crabs. I recommend  Captain Mac’s Fish House & Seafood Market, The Crab Bag, and Fenwick Crab House, in that order.

Packages and Deals

  • Restaurants run specials and advertise happy hour prices to draw customers.
  • Hotels offer vacation packages, and condominium and beach-house-rental costs drop.
  • Shoppers can stock up at “end of season” sales.

In my opinion, the best time to stick your feet in the ocean and squeeze the sand between your toes is now.

 

 

Best Travel Tip and Trick

 

I carry a small cross-body-organizer that includes compartments for credit cards and cash, and two zip pockets. One I use for makeup, keys, and sunglasses, and I place my change in the other. My cell phone fits in an outside sleeve where it is easily accessible. When I travel, I toss my purse in my tote to use at my destination.

You can find organizer bags starting for twenty dollars and up at Macy’s, but spending more may ensure that they last longer. Two bags that I recommend are Brighton, that you can purchase at Kokopelli or you can order it online, and the other is a Brahmin. Both wear well.

In the past, I had carried a large bag, but I have found that these organizers are convenient. Though I had bought them for travel, I use them daily.

Was this PDA an Experiment?

It seemed staged. This couple kissed at the train station the entire twenty minutes that we had waited for our Amtrak train. They hugged in an area where they were highly visible to arriving and departing passengers and those checking their Amtrak train status.

I found their behavior odd, and I wondered if this was a performance to elicit a reaction.  People stared, others looked away, some smiled or laughed, one rolled her eyes, and an elderly lady said that it “looked boring.”

Do you think this was an experiment to determine how public displays of affection, PDA, affects the behavior of bystanders or was this couple’s constant kissing normal for them?

The White Marlin Open Tournament draws crowds.

White Marlin Open: Highest Bar Tab

The White Marlin Open on 14 St. in Ocean City Maryland

Spectators flock to the White Marlin Open in Ocean City, Md.

I had sidestepped through throngs of spectators to attend the White Marlin Open, in Ocean City, Maryland, labeled the “World’s Largest and Richest Billfish Tournament.” As I stood on the pier breathing pungent bay air, I was hoping to spot the qualifying White Marlin, Blue Marlin, Tuna, Dolphin, Wahoo, or Shark that could win big bucks.

A White Marlin Open boat

A fishing boat enters Harbour Island in Ocean City, Md. with their catch.

The boats churned in the harbor after a day of fishing, and I watched for flags flying from the outrigger that indicated the crew had boarded a fish. Boats that had caught fish docked and handed their catch over to the White Marlin staff that measured it and attached a rope below the tail fin and used a pulley to hoist the fish up in the air to weigh it.  The spokesman announced the length and weight, and if it was a contender.

Spectators watch the arriving boats in the White Marlin Open.

A boat entered in the White Marlin Open motors in the harbor.

By the end of this year’s tournament, the White Marlin Open had paid out over $4.7 million with over $3.3 million won by the three boats that hooked the qualifying White Marlins. The tournament drew visitors that supported the local businesses, and one of the bars ran an unusual contest that capitalized on the event.

Sunset Grille hosted the Teasers Cup. Participants, often White Marlin Open winners, competed in running up the highest bar tab, and they invited other customers to join in and drink on their tab. They bought champagne to drink and spray. Partiers shook champagne bottles, popped corks, and showered anyone close by.

During the week of the White Marlin Open, the boat, Goin’ In Deep, ran up a $20,550.05 bar tab and some say that they added a $6,200 tip. They drank champagne, that retailed for thousands, and liquor, beer, and wine. This crew had won the Teasers Cup five years in a row. Ironically, they were not among the 2017 White Marlin Open winners, but they ensured that the owners of Sunset Grille were.

 

 

 

Governors Island Ferry Dock

Governors Island, New York

 Governors Island 2017 

Governors Island is open and hosts events from May 1 to October 31.

What to do on Governors Island

While many take the ferry to Governors Island–ten minutes from Manhattan and two dollars round trip fare–for music festivals, performances, art exhibits, historic building tours and more, we escaped mass moving Manhattan on a cloudy weekday to see something different, at our own pace.

Manhattan Skyline

Lower Manhattan rises across the harbor from Governors Island, New York.

The Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island

The Statue of Liberty stands proudly on Liberty Island.

Staten Island Ferry from Governors Island

The Staten Island Ferry cruises New York Harbor.

We rode bikes without dodging people or vehicles. We drifted through paths lined with perennial gardens where golden rudbeckias, pink cone flowers, and mixed grasses swayed. We saw Manhattan’s skyline, the Statue of Liberty, and the Staten Island Ferry from a unique perspective. We spied star-shaped Fort Jay and toured Castle Williams, a circular fort that imprisoned Confederate soldiers. We passed food trucks, Island Oyster restaurant and bar, hammocks, a compost learning center, a teaching garden, and an unusual junkyard adventure playground.

The Freedom Freedom Tower at One World Trade Center rises in the background.

We rode Citi Bikes on Governors Island, New York.

Castle Williams was a prison for confederate soldiers.

Castle Williams is the “best preserved circular fortification in the nation.” https://govisland.com/activities/castle-williams

Adventure Playground NYC

Children create with scrap materials

Governors Island junkyard playground sparks children’s creativity.

The junkyard playground allows children six to twelve years old to build and experiment with scrap materials using hammers, nails, and saws, while supervisors watch and parents are kept at bay. Boards, sheets, blankets, rubber tires, metal sheets, orange construction cones, wheels, and large plastic duct tubes–large enough to crawl through–are examples of junk that litters the playground. Though the facility was closed when we visited, it is open on Saturdays and Sundays until September 25, and children can attend weekly camps.

Adventure Playground on Governors Island, NY

Children experiment with scrap materials creating a structure.

Adventure Playground

Children can attend weekly summer camps in the junkyard playground.

Junkyard Playground

Supervisors keep parents away while children build with junk.

 

Though we didn’t attend any scheduled events or mix with crowds, we unwound, exercised, and learned. Though I love Manhattan, Governors Island was a nice diversion.

Governors Island Ferry Schedule

 

 

 

 

 

A Leonberger puppy flying in a Southwest cabin.

Puppy Escapes in Airplane

When I learned about the Leonberger dogs’ loyalty to their owners and fondness for children, I convinced my husband that– it was not a bean-brained-paid boondoggle– it was worth flying to purchase a Leonberger puppy because none were available near us when our Labrador retriever passed. Anyway, we had sufficient airline points to pay for our flights.

I joined the Leonberger Club of America and found a breeder in Seattle, Washington, who had mated her female. Prospective buyers were often selected when the vet confirmed the bitch’s pregnancy. I submitted an application, and the breeder approved it, convinced that I would train the dog and not return him when he weighed 140 pounds.

The puppies were born, and the breeder picked mine based on temperament, knowing that I had two young children. Though some in the dog business ship puppies in cargo, I felt that it was cruel.

My daughter, who was nine, and I flew to Seattle to pick up our new family member the weekend that he turned eight weeks old; a pet can fly on a plane if it can fit in a pet bag under the seat in front of yours.

No one had told me how to fly with a dog. While I anticipated the adventure, “what if scenarios” revolved through my mind like a spinning top. I learned that traveling with a pet causes perspiration. Though we had flown out to Seattle with the Sherpa bag under the seat, I wondered what would happen if Fido was too tall or bulky to fit. Would they confiscate him and send him to cargo?

When we picked up our puppy from the breeder in our rental car, my daughter held him on her lap and spoke softly as she ran her hands through his coat. Separation anxiety caused him to yelp and yap during the forty-five-minute drive to the airport.

Though I paid his air fare, I worried that passengers might suffer from dog allergies or complain to the airline personnel about traveling with a pet in the cabin.

After passing through airport security, we took Fido to the restroom and filled his water bowl. He wouldn’t drink, and we headed to the gate that was two gates past our boarding zone, hoping to hide him. We placed his carrier on the floor, and high-pitched screeches erupted from within. I unzipped the top so that Fido could stick his head out. We slipped him ice cubes and puppy kibble from between our fingers; his teeth pricked our hands like tiny thorns. We hoped that food would distract him, and the breeder’s soft blanket, scented by his littermates, would soothe him.

Eight-week-old Leonberger puppy is on his way to his new home.

Leonberger puppy rests in a Sherpa Pet Carrier.

He was asleep when they called our flight, and I had slung the bag over my shoulder and placed my hand over the black mesh end to prevent anyone from seeing the contraband. Only the airline staff knew I lugged invaluable loot. We boarded, and I slid the sack under the seat in front of us. When the plane departed, I took a deep breath and exhaled. I celebrated with a glass of wine.

The aroma of chicken and beef drifted through the cabin and Fido stirred.  When the stewardess served our dinner, my daughter had taken her retainer out of her mouth and rolled it in a napkin placing it near her plate, After eating, the flight attendant removed the tray, and five minutes later, my daughter noticed that her retainer was missing. We jumped out of our seats and hurried forward to alert the attendant, who pawed through the trash with plastic-gloved hands and found it.

When we returned, I checked the pet bag and noticed that the zipper was open; Fido had crawled out of his prison. I heard the lady behind me say, ” Where did you come from cutie?” I knew where the fugitive had fled.

I rose and edged sideways out in the aisle, and I turned around and grinned at the woman behind us who had an escapee sprawled across her Nikes gnawing her shoestrings.  She picked up the dog, petted him and handed him over. I apologized and returned to my seat. When I placed the absconder back in his bag, his soprano shrieks pierced the cabin. Sweat beaded my hairline. I wasn’t allowed to remove Fido, so I brushed my foot against the side of the canvas and hoped that I could calm the criminal.

The grey-bearded man who sat next to me crossed his arms over his potbelly and said, “I had no idea that you had a dog in there, what kind is it?”

I flashed a smile and said, ” He’s a Leonberger puppy.”

“Hamburger? Hamburger puppy? I eat those especially if they are noisy when I am trying to rest.”

I twirled my hair around my index finger and placed it behind my ear and said, “Sorry.”

The man leaned back and closed his eyes. A few rows behind, a baby screamed. I watched the hamburger-eating man open one eye and furrow his brow.

Though I had regretted disturbing everyone around us, I learned a valuable lesson on that flight: We had traveled six thousand miles in two days to discover that Fido didn’t fit. We changed his name to Harry as in Harry Houdini.

Though it sounds bazaar to fly cross-country to purchase a dog, I wouldn’t trade the two days that I had spent with my daughter exploring Seattle, or our decision to adopt Harry. He was great with children and became one of the best dogs that we have ever had.

Leonberger Puppy with child

Our Leonberger puppy and our children grew up together.

 

 

 

 

 

Fenwick Island is family oriented.

Fenwick Island Tips and Tricks

The Town of Fenwick Island, Delaware

There are two Fenwick Islands, incorporated and unincorporated. The Town of Fenwick Island that stretches from Atlantic to Lewes streets on the ocean side, and Delaware to James streets on the bay side was incorporated in 1953. Incorporated Fenwick has its own government that restricts zoning for a uniform appearance. The rest of Fenwick is unincorporated and follows Sussex county rules.

Fenwick Island, Delaware

Fenwick Island’s homes are zoned for uniform height. (Photo by dorothyadele)

Incorporated Fenwick Island Tips and Tricks

  • You can walk or bike to restaurants like Nantuckets, Just Hooked, Our Harvest, or Dairy Queen, or shops like The Country Store. You may not need your car for days.
  • The Town of Fenwick Island is committed to maintaining their reputation as a quiet resort where police are visible and vigilant. Therefore, it’s a good idea to follow the rules and obey the speed limit.
  • The authorities enforce parking restrictions from May 15 to September 15, and the police station sells daily to seasonal parking passes.

Fenwick Island Beach

  • Except for storm beach erosion, there is no need to stake your space on the beach at 7 a.m. Though Fenwick Island is busiest around the Fourth of July, crowds begin to dissipate in July and August as fall sports’ practices begin and students leave for school.
  • Lifeguards protect Fenwick Island’s one-mile beach, and they have access to two beach wheelchairs.
  • Mobi-mats cover dune walkways allowing easy navigation or use of beach wheelchairs.

Fenwick Island is Family Oriented

  • Smoking is prohibited on the beach and in the parks.
  • The town caters to families providing playgrounds, shuffleboard, half-court basketball, volleyball, and benches in a garden setting.

Fenwick Island Upcoming Events

  • On 7/8/17, on the beach at Dagsboro Street, all are welcome to attend the town bonfire that includes music, games, a silent auction, t-shirts and more.
  • At dusk on the Bayard Street beach, the town will feature the following Fenwick Flicks: Moana on July 11, Zootopia on July 25, and Finding Dory on August 8.

For more fun, check out the  Fenwick Boardwalk, and enjoy your summer.

Southwest Airlines

Bad Day Traveling Southwest

We had a five-hour Southwest flight delay

We had arrived at the airport at 2:30 for a 3:50 flight. Inclement weather resulted in several flight delays. Over five hours, we checked the tracker for our Southwest Airlines flight status. On each occasion, our departure time increased by an hour, though we watched passengers board their delayed flights and take off.

The Southwest agent explained that the passengers from the original destination were aboard our plane and it was on the runway, but she couldn’t give me more information until they were in the air.

Two hours later, after I saw the departure time increase again, I asked the representative if the passengers were still on board.  She said that they had deplaned because of a mechanical problem. I later learned that when they reboarded the flight a passenger was missing and they had to take roll call.

As the evening progressed, passengers spoke loudly on their phones, others read books, some slouched in chairs, one played his guitar, some tried to sleep, and others walked the terminal. I empathized with the parents who pursued their toddlers who ran the aisles.

As businesses closed, the noise grew. Employees yelled to their coworkers. The maintenance crew slammed doors. Others rolled plastic dumpsters the length of the terminal dumping trash in them, and the restroom cleaners pushed their yellow rattling carts.

Some, who I assumed were on break, sat behind the vacant gate desk and blared music. People who were reading moved. Eventually, they lowered the Starbucks’ gate closing off half the café.

Around 7:30, when Southwest announced that our plane had taken off, we knew that we were going home. Customers headed to the pizzeria and ordered thin crust pizza, beer, wine, and tall alcoholic drinks. The bar echoed with music and chatter.

When the plane arrived, the incoming passengers looked exhausted but walked briskly, probably relieved that they were finally at their destination.  When it was our turn, we boarded efficiently, took off at 8:50, and arrived as scheduled at 10:50 p.m.

Another twenty-minute delay because the jetway employees were not available

Travelers hunched under the overhead bins, some stood in the aisles ready to grab their carry-on bags and exit. The captain announced that he had called ahead, but no one was on the jetway to meet us, so we waited.

No one was there to remove baggage from two arriving flights

Finally, we left the plane and luckily we had not checked any bags. As we pulled our suitcases through baggage claim, we heard a report: the baggage crew had not removed the luggage from two flights. We suspected that the passengers who checked their bags probably had at least another half-hour delay.

Southwest offered the passengers $100 vouchers to account for bad weather, roll call, a mechanical problem, an empty jetway and delayed baggage. We thought that they could have done better.

Pursue

 

Related Posts:

https://dorothyadele.wordpress.com/2017/04/18/five-southwest-airline-tips/

https://dorothyadele.wordpress.com/2017/04/12/travel-packing-mistakes-and-mishaps/

We Weren’t Alone With Passport Trouble

I awoke abruptly around 1 a.m. on December 24, 2013, not thinking about Christmas Eve, but worried that I hadn’t checked the expiration date on my son’s passport for our impending trip on December 27. I knew that his child’s passport expired after five years of the issue date, not 10 like an adult’s.

I quietly slid out of bed and checked the box where I had stored the passports. When I opened my son’s passport, my heart raced, because it had expired.

Since I couldn’t sleep,  I checked the U.S. Passports and International Travel website that indicated that some countries will not accept a passport with an expiration date within 60 days of departure. I also learned that processing time for an expedited passport could take days to weeks.

We needed an appointment, and I exhaled loudly when I thought about the improbability of getting one on short notice the day after Christmas. I learned that we could walk-in without an appointment, but if they were busy, there was no guarantee.

The next morning, my worries were validated. I called the Washington office, and they said that they didn’t have any appointments and suggested that I call the Philadelphia office. I called the Philadelphia office, and thankfully they gave us an appointment at 9:00 a.m. on December 26. The representative said that we needed to fill out an application and bring his expired passport with proof of international travel reservations, and they would issue a replacement passport that day.

After checking the documents needed for the passport, I woke my son on December 26 at 6:30 a.m., and we began our drive to Philadelphia.

“Why do we have to leave so early?” he asked.

“Because if there is an accident, or we have a flat tire, or run into Christmas Eve traffic, and miss our appointment, we miss our trip,” I said.

We arrived at the Philadelphia Passport Agency, and I noticed that several people had luggage, and I assumed that they had been turned away at the airport. As we stood in the first line, I sweated thinking about the consequences, if I had not checked his passport expiration date. Also, I worried that somehow I missed a relevant document needed for the renewal.

The agent confirmed our appointment and sent us to the second line. While we waited about 40 minutes, I shifted my weight like a pendulum. Finally, we approached the desk, and that agent accepted our documents and sent us to have my son’s photo taken, where they told us to return at 2 p.m. to collect the passport. We left to explore Philadelphia.

“How lucky are you to tour Philadelphia with your mother on Christmas Eve?” I asked.

“Funny mom,” he said with a slight smile.

We traversed Philadelphia and ate lunch at the historic City Tavern. I loved this unplanned time with my son. Who needed to pack anyway?

When we returned to the U.S. Custom House to pick up his passport, a lady ladened with luggage stood in front of us in line. I heard her tell the custom’s agent that when she checked in at the airport with her family, she learned that her passport had expired. She said that her family had continued their trip, and she was planning to get her passport and meet them that night if she could get a flight.
I thought, what a terrible way to start a vacation, knowing that could have been us.

RELATED POSTS

https://dorothyadele.wordpress.com/2017/01/31/how-to-avoid-airport-lines/

The Worst Travel Mistakes I’ve Made. Ever.

A Couple of Dumb Things I’ve Done While Travelling

https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/112357259/posts/6447

Cow Wreck Beach Bar & Grill, Anegada, British Virgin Islands

The famous Cow Wreck Beach Bar is on Anegada, British Virgin Islands

Ships full of cow bones wrecked, bones and skulls washed ashore on Anegada, British Virgin Islands hence Cow Wreck Beach. The Cow Killer rum drink is one of their specialties.