Traveling Back to The United States

The Beginning of A New Adventure

On Thursday, January 6, 2022, at 6.45, we started a new adventure when we closed and locked our apartment door and walked to the bus station for the bus to arrive at 6.48. It felt cold, -2C. Within one hour, we arrived at Schiphol, and about 1.5 hours later, we were sitting at the gate waiting to board our flight. I walked the long isles to stretch my legs. When I returned, we could immediately board in group 1. Always lovely because then we know we will still have space to put our hand luggage away.

Flying from Amsterdam, NL, to Chicago, IL

We had a smooth flight. Hemmes behaved perfectly. The 8.5 hours flew by; I watched a few movies and read a little. Hemmes made it clear that he was unhappy when we walked to the border control in Chicago; I quickly went to the bathroom and changed his wet towel. After that, he was his happy self again. After checking our passports and answering some questions, we were welcomed back to the United States.
We had a few hours to pass during our layover. Despite being unable to go to the United Airlines lounge, time flew by. Toon and I were reseated when we boarded. The flight attendant saw we brought a cat and made it possible for Hemmes to get his own seat in between us 🙂

Flying from Chicago, IL to Mineapolis, MN

We saw a spectacular sunset flying from Chicago to Minneapolis. After collecting our suitcases, we were picked up by a shuttle in Minneapolis to Hyatt Place Minneapolis, where we would stay the night. Thankfully, we had booked a room because of the expected jet lag – for us, it was already 2 am in the morning.

Driving from Minneapolis, MN to Watertown, SD

We left the hotel around 10 am. After breakfast, Toon took the shuttle to the airport to pick up our rental. It was still a deep freeze outside! It felt perfect to have my butt warm up quickly, thanks to the seat heaters. The road was clean, the weather was clear, and the thin layer of snow made the 4-hour drive pleasant.

Around 2 pm, we arrived at the Best Western Sure Stay in Watertown and checked in with Hemmes. I texted our son our room number, and 20 minutes later, he knocked on our door. It felt good to hug him again. After chitchatting for about one hour, he had to leave for work. Around 6 pm, we drove to our son and wife’s apartment. Now, the hugs were for my daughter-in-law and the pets! After our son returned from work, we went out for a cozy dinner downtown Watertown, catching up with all the stories and enjoying the great food.

Driving from Watertown, SD to Sioux Falls, SD

After a good night’s sleep, we picked up our car. Hemmes had an ominous deja vu seeing our son and daughter-in-law’s pets, so I quickly put him in the study and closed the door. After we were ready packing our car, we all went for lunch before we drove off to Sioux Falls to drop off the rental. Hubby drove with Hemmes in the rental, and I drove behind him.

At around 5 pm, we dropped off the car at Sioux Falls airport and drove to the first  Airbnb. As we entered the cozy, newly refurbished and well-maintained cottage, we finally felt like we could relax after three days of intense traveling. 


01.06.2022 (flight)
01.07.2022 (drive)
01.08.2022 (drive)


4120 miles, 8.5 hours


200 miles, 4 hours,
105 miles, 1.5 hours


clear, bitter cold