After many stressful days packing and trying to finalise everything and sort out stuff, we’ve finally arrived back here in The Netherlands after a relatively uneventful flight. We had a flight to Kuala Lumpar, with a 3 hour stopover and then direct to Amsterdam from there.
You get looked after pretty well on the plane when you have a baby and on the first leg we had the bulkhead seats in the middle section where there’s 5 seats, with us taking 2 of the seats, an empty seat in the middle and another 2 ladies with babies taking up the seats on the other side. We got fed first and Connor had a little mini seatbelt attached to my seatbelt during takeoffs and landings.
When we were at Adelaide airport checking in, we got a little concerned about whether I’d have problems with customs arriving in The Netherlands. Connor and Alexander both have Dutch passports, so they have no issues, however for me one of the requirements is that I had to have a return ticket within 3 months or a visa to be able to stay longer. It’s all a bit complicated, but you can only travel in Europe for up to 3 months without a visa, however I was not able to apply for a visa for extended stay from Australia. I was told I could only apply for this once in The Netherlands. But when booking my tickets I was informed that I must book a return ticket within the 3 months otherwise they may not let me into the country at customs.
So, when checking in at Adelaide the lady checked my return ticket and she became concerned because my ticket was a few days over 90 days. Apparently the return ticket must be within 90 days, which is a bit different from 3 months! In the end she let me through and said “I should be okay” because it was only a few days out. This wasn’t hugely reassuring!
Anyway, as it turned out I didn’t need to worry and it was a bit alarming actually at the relative slackness of customs. When leaving Kuala Lumpar I accidently handed over both Connor’s Australian and Dutch passports. I got his Aussie passport mixed up with mine. I didn’t realise until AFTER I got through customs when I was putting the passports away. They let me through without checking my passport!
Then when arriving in Amsterdam, they only did the usual checks of mine and Connor’s passports (this time I handed them the correct passport), but there was no check of my tickets or my length of stay or anything. Seems in Australia they are far more picky, which of course Australian customs are much tougher.
At the baggage collection we were unsure of where our pram would arrive as I didn’t think it would come out of the usual section. So I enquired at the desk and they pointed where I needed to go…….Alexander and I laughed when we realised that we were standing directly under the sign that said “Odd-sized baggage”.
Back at Alex’s apartment it’s strange, because I recognise things but it all looks so different. It’s green and flowers everywhere, leaves on the trees. It’s hard for me to spot the old familiar sights as it is apparently summer now, although you wouldn’t know it while wearing a jacket and long pants!