We're all set. In less than 24 hours, the European Adventure begins.
We'll fly to Philadelphia, and stay overnight. The next day, we'll fly to Venice. We'll have three days in Venice before boarding our Azamara Club cruise. Quite an adventure for a little dog!
There are three things I especially wanted to see in Venice: The Doge's Palace, and the Accademia and Peggy Guggenheim art museums. So I found a travel agency that would "run interference" for us and make sure Xingxing would be allowed to accompany me. The Accademia was difficult. In the end, they agreed to allow us in, but only if Xingxing was wearing a muzzle.
Problem is, Xingxing doesn't have enough muzzle to fit into a muzzle. His "muzzle" is less than an inch long! Trying to buy a muzzle for him was a bit like trying to buy a bra for a five-year-old. We'd walk into a store and I'd say, I'm looking for a muzzle. The sales person would look at me, look at Xingxing, look back at me and crack up. What are you afraid he'll do? he'd ask. Kiss someone to death? We did finally find a mesh muzzle, and get it on. But I'm not sure how this is going to pan out.
In the interest of making things as easy as I can for both of us, I went ahead and got a Trusted Traveler Card. You get this from the government. You apply, they do a background check, and then you go for an interview. But it's worth it, because you get to go through the security check without taking off your shoes and unpacking your computer, and when you return to the US, you go through Customs at a special kiosk, rather than standing in one of those long lines. I don't so much mind standing in line, but it's rough on Xingxing. People are tired and grumpy and they don't expect a dog to be there and they sometimes step on him.
We also had to procure special papers for Xingxing. More about that tomorrow.