The boy recently realized that his passport was due to expire in January and we decided to renew immediately as we needed it for him to travel with me to Brussels— yes, there is free travel in the Schengen area and everything but airlines always check passports before you fly, so it was necessary.
We took the train from our home in Sweden to Norway, to renew it at the Oslo police station. This was the first sort of bureaucratic matter the boy has ever had to do in years, as a Norwegian in Italy he didn’t even have to register for anything, the lucky thing.
So there I was expecting some nightmare of bureaucracy, but the passport renewal procedure took a staggering total of five minutes. We had an appointment code which we coded into one of the screens. It printed out our queue number, which also indicated how many people were ahead of us. The police station had WiFi, a huge number of comfy couches, a play area and TV for kids, free photo booths, and an ice cream bar. The passport was made immediately and ready for pick up the next day, or for delivery to any address within or outside of Norway!
To be fair, my Philippine passport renewal at the Philippine Embassy Rome earlier this year also went quite smoothly. In and out in twenty minutes, with the passport arriving after 45 days (since it had to be printed in and delivered from Manila).
Slowly, slowly the PTSD cloud triggered by a year of fighting Italian bureaucracy is lifting.