It was going to work out great: two days in the Amsterdam area to see windmills, eat cheese, and shop for souvenirs before a grand-finale boat cruise around the port of Rotterdam.
We knew it wasn’t great when a cnn.com headline announced, “Mayhem predicted for travel this summer“ and included Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport as a case study.
I’ll skip the details, but the upshot was that we got very late notice that the airline moved us to a (much) earlier flight, which made it nearly impossible to get the Covid tests that are still necessary to return to the US.
We got the news as we were exploring Rotterdam:
It was a cold and rainy and miserable day, which didn’t help our attitudes about the last-minute switch.
We finally found a testing site that could fit us in.
Hoping they will let us in a little before our appointment time (they did):
As promised, we got our tests (thankfully, all negative) in 15 minutes, leaving time for some celebratory donor kabobs before a very-short night of sleep.
We did have to miss our Rotterdam harbor tour, which was a bummer, but we saw some of the harbor from the river taxi we were on when we got the message about our flight. I snapped a few pictures as David used the very last of his phone battery on a call with the airline:
So that’s it. This is where the ancestors departed from the European continent after being kicked around Switzerland, Germany, France, and Ukraine. I imagine that these farmers, millers, and weavers who loved the Swiss countryside so much that they struggled to leave even in the face of severe persecution felt a little stressed and out-of-place in the Rotterdam harbor too. David has written more about the Dutch Mennonites and our trip’s finale here.
The kids were good sports about having to cancel their final shopping plans in Amsterdam. We did have time for a stop at a grocery store to stock up on Milka chocolate bars.
And, most important, we made our flight to Chicago. By chance, we ended up sharing an airline row with a Hesston College student, just completing a Bel Canto singers tour. We had a great time comparing notes on the Anabaptist sites we visited and playing the Mennonite Game.