We got nr. 2 – Liberia. Sofia went to Brussels, by train, to collect the visas. A good exercise in developing patience, which we no doubt will need during our expedition. Did I tell you already that we now refer not to our trip, anymore, but ‘the expedition’? Seems more appropriate. And so was Sofia’s train journey to Brussels, marred by a train strike locally, early morning, subsequent traffic jam, when we hurried by car to the next big town to catch a train a train, and multiple delays of trains that did, ultimately, go. She got back almost 12 hours later.
We then spent the Saturday afternoon preparing for our Nigerian visas, which is a process in the hands of a commercial company, OIS. This is no sinecure. After having filled in the rather long form, including military service data, countries previously lived in for more than a year, and visited in the last year, I failed to pay, or at least my credit card was not accepted. Or perhaps my credit card doesn’t accept payments to Nigerian bank accounts, I don’t know. So now we have to go and pay at a service point in The Hague, prior to our appointment in the Embassy. Oh, and we pay about 2.5x the amount stated on the Embassy website, but that would have been the same with online payment.
Let’s see how successful we will be, next Monday. We need to get to the Embassy in person, to provide ‘biometric data’, but OIS, which also manages the appointment schedule at the Embassy, advises not to come more than 30 days before your travel dates. Which, for us, is not going to work, we need more visa still, and in any case we do not travel directly to Nigeria. But there is no reason to worry, OIS states on their website that they strive ‘to expedite hitch-free travel from the Netherlands to Nigeria’.