April 20

    On April 12 we left our condo in Minneapolis with three overweight (50+ lb) suitcases. So our first job was to shift books and a 4-lb. box of Borax to our carry-ons. Funny how neither the security guys at Minneapolis nor the ones at Newark airports liked the box of white powder in the carry-on that had all our electronics: phones, GPS, camera, I-Pod, back-up hard drive, each with its own charging station and multiple wires going all over the place. But we probably gave them more excitement than they’d had all day. The Borax was on order from our daughter, now living in Norway, and shifting it and the books gave us 35- and 29-lb. backpacks, which we deftly (!) carried onto our flight to Norway.

    After a few days’ visit with our charming granddaughter--


--and her equally charming parents, of course--we flew to Amsterdam with two now-underweight suitcases and picked up Rover. Our new stepdown transformer was waiting for us there (with a sticker that said USPS had first shipped it to Tokyo by mistake). David hooked up the batteries before we left the storage place, and we drove to Gaspaarpark Camping just south of Amsterdam, stopping at a gas station and a grocery store along the way.

    The campground was very full of Palm Sunday holiday weekend vacationers, but the management found us a place and we had to use our longest electrical cord to hook up. Then David installed the new transformer and--praise God--everything worked.

    The weather is perfect: sunny, 70+ degrees, with leaves and flowers popping out all over. We walked around town, had our wine and beer, followed by supper at an outdoor cafe in the center of Amsterdam, watching the bikes and trams expertly, nonchalantly, avoid collisions with pedestrians. It is so much fun to be back here again.  

    Today we drove without incident to Rotterdam on another gorgeous summer-like day. Since no one else was in sight at the campground, we took the opportunity to fill and flush our tanks--not something we are able to do very often. We have Thursday ferry tickets to the UK, where we plan to spend our time this year. But at the end of three months, we hope to end up in Lillehammer, Norway, at our daughter’s again, where we will store Rover for the winter. 

    And the price of gas in The Netherlands?  $9.48/US gallon. But that doesn't matter: we know we are privileged to be here again.