When Plans Go Awry

2024, International, Netherlands

Despite our best laid plans, there comes a moment every so often when we utter expletives such as “Oh! Shucky darn!” and think this is a disaster, what in the world are we going to do now? Then as calmly as possible we formulate a plan and simultaneously chose to embrace the adventure. We might even laugh aloud at the absurdity of the situation. Eventually the crisis resolves and we realize we have another tale to tell around a campfire or during cocktail hour aboard a cruise ship. As we’ve traveled through the years, crisscrossing the United States and now internationally, we’re learned to make plans but also to roll with the punches and to embrace the adventure. The initial phases of this trip went smoothly – the Amtrak trip to Penn Station, an overnight in Manhattan, the short walk to the cruise terminal, the transatlantic crossing on Norwegian Pearl. But aboard ship we began to get hints that we might experience some unplanned adventures and indeed the process of getting from the dock in Southampton, England on Thursday to our hotel in Haarlem, Netherlands on Saturday was a series of unplanned adventures involving a rail strike leading to heavy traffic on the bus system, and having to learn that in Britain they are coaches, not buses. Then there was a cancelled hotel reservation in Haarlem that we discovered Friday morning just after we summoned an Uber for a ride to the train station in London. Then the Uber driver waited for us on a side street out of our line of vision then charged us a waiting fee. All this all the while we’re on the phone trying to remake our hotel reservation in Haarlem and discovering we had no place to stay that Friday night. All during the Uber ride and the time in the Eurostar waiting room we were scrambling online but ultimately found a room in Amsterdam for one night. In the midst of it all, we discovered we’d walked away with our London hotel room keys. Not keycards. Real old-fashioned metal keys. So there was a frantic call back to the hotel from aboard the train before we entered the Chunnel, and a promise to post them back as soon as possible. But all’s well that ends well. We successfully arrived in Amsterdam and enjoyed Dutch hospitality at the Max Brown Hotel Canal District and some long walks on a beautiful Friday evening in crowded Amsterdam. This morning we took the train to Haarlem, checked into the Amrâth Grand Hotel Frans Hals and got a suggestion as to where we could post the keys back to London. It turned out to be a little more complicated than first thought but after walking through a few neighborhoods and stops at three shops, we finally found a PostNL counter and sent the keys off to the UK. At that we were more than ready to find a cafe and begin the process of learning how to order coffee and deciphering Dutch menus. Through all of this we encountered so many friendly and helpful people and we found having a Verizon Travel Pass day and a Translate app on the phone exceedingly helpful throughout this adventure! Our advice? Get out there and do it. Stuff will happen. Roll with the punches. Figure it out. And enjoy telling the campfire story.




  1. Mary Lou

    Glad to hear you found your way, then found a place to stay after all and managed to keep your sunny dispositions. Enjoy the adventures!

    • Susan & Rich

      After 50 years of wedded “blunderBliss” we are venturing into our VERY first official cruise to celebrate! An Alaskan cruise aboard Holland America’s “Koningsdam” combining both sea and land travels a la ship, trains, planes, buses and boats. Glaciers, whales, seals, and eagles are occasionally our travel companions! The ship and crew are marvelous, (so glad we dipped our T@BOO42 toes into cruising — much thanks to you two and to dear Amanda and all the enjoyable stories that you share) We have 9 more days to go, and reading this particular entry of your many delightful writings has us smiling! We are indeed grateful to roll along – enjoying a few “mis-haps” (turning hap-py at the end). Can’t wait to share a campfire with you both in the future. Happy sailing !

  2. Mike Ogden

    Your words of advice are the rules I live by when I travel. Its all part of the adventure. I’m glad you unintentionally visited Amsterdam. It’s one of my favorite cities.


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