Livigno, Italy

Ahhh, nothing better than alpine wind blowing through your braided pigtails as you whizz down snow-covered mountains with a board strapped to your feet.

Especially so, considering we almost didn’t make it on this trip. I’ll explain.

We had plans to fly on Saturday around noon. The last few trips we’ve cut it pretty close at the airport for various reasons – delayed trains, delayed baggage check-in etc.. This time, we were going to be smart. We booked ourselves a hotel at the airport Friday night and planned to have a “leisurely morning before the flight”. Boy, were we wrong.

Friday night, in the hustle and bustle of getting all the snowboard luggage off the train, Shane left his backpack in the upper storage compartment. What was in the backpack? Oh, let’s see. Only everything important: his work computer, the GoPro, a Nikon camera, his snowboarding goggles, his keys, his new hat, and the kicker – his passport.

Now, I must say. We’ve learned a few lessons from this experience.

  • NEVER put all your expensive stuff in one bag. I mean, rookie mistake. We have traveled enough to know better.
  • Take a picture of your passport NOW. Don’t make a paper copy. I mean, do that too if you want,Β  but find a way to store it on-the-line. If your paper copy happens to be with your lost passport and you can’t find the number then you’ll run into this scenario – like us.
  • Save ALL your receipts for any purchases over, say $50, in a dedicated place. You’ll need them if you submit claims for insurance, and when you go to look for a computer purchase that happened in 2010 the odds are you don’t have the email anymore and the store where you purchased it won’t have records beyond 2012 *cough-Best Buy-cough*.

As soon as we realized the backpack was missing, Shane filed a report with NS, the train company. They told us that we had a chance because the train we were on terminated for the night in Den Haag, which was only two stops away. On the other hand, the train terminated in Den Haag, only two stops away, so when we realized the backpack was gone the conductor had already taken the train to the yard for the night.

Ok Ok, so we lost the stuff. Expensive, yes, but replaceable. And Shane is a compulsive backer-upper so all his thesis data was locked up at work – also ok. Next problem: the passport. Generally speaking, you can’t fly to another country without a passport. Lucky for us, we found out that the airline KLM would allow Shane to fly with only his Dutch drivers’ license as ID. So, I kept the original flight and Shane rebooked with KLM to Milan.

Fun fact. Milan has TWO airports. Our original flights went to LIN. The rebooked flight went to MXP.

Ok ok ok – soooo no problem. We rented a car to drive to the mountain. New plan – I’ll pick up the car, drive to Shane (who arrived after me), pick him up and we will be on our way.

That’s a big fat NOPE!

I booked the car but listed Shane as the primary driver because he usually is. Turns out, for reasons that are still beyond me, when one makes a car reservation you can’t change the primary driver to someone else without canceling the booking and starting over (despite having all the booking information and the same credit card). Since we definitely didn’t want to do that – we still needed the car – Shane had to land and come to me.

So, 4 hours and an expensive cab ride later, my knight in shining armor arrived and picked up the car with no problems whatsoever (insert eye roll – to the car people, not Shane).

BUT HOT DAMN WE WERE FINALLY ON THE WAY!!

And no, this picture is not from our journey there. By the time we arrived in Livigno, it was ~10:30pm (instead of ~6pm as intended) after a dark and winding way into the mountains where, despite Shane’s excellent driving, I did very little talking and pressed my invisible-passenger-side-break a lot.

But it was all worth it. SO worth it!

I think I’ll stop talking now and let the pictures speak for themselves. Since we lost the GoPro, no real action shots this trip, but we did agree – it was kind of nice to be disconnected in that way. As fun as it is to have the GoPro, you’re always thinking about if you’re getting good videos for pictures or for the compilation video. This time, we just snowboarded, drank, and snowboarded again. And we were very lucky with the weather, only one white-out day (which we used to play in the *beginner* funpark – I made 4 JUMPS IN A ROW!) and the rest was snow overnight, sunshine during the day.

Ok, now I’ll really stop talking.

I swear we were having a good time. (lol)

One really nice thing about Livigno, if you could get to it then it was open for business. As in, the off-piste (off-trail) options were just about equal to the piste options. This was my first time trying off-piste, and now I get it. It’s like snowboarding on a cloud!

Despite, as Shane likes to put it, “his best efforts” we came. We snowboarded. We conquered.

Now we have to wait another year to do it all again… sigh.

And don’t worry. Shane figured out a way to report the lost passport without the number and goes next week to apply for a new one. Turns out, it requires exactly the right combination of information (current address, permanent address, phone number etc.) to allow the online system to find you. Quite a challenge if you’ve moved a lot.

Oh, and FYI, don’t try calling – they will only direct you to the website. Good work, America.

Tot ziens,

Whitney

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We are two Americans living in the Netherlands with our fat cat, Meatball. The Shwits is a diary of our time abroad!

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