Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Trip Planner Extraordinaire

GraceThree weeks from right now I'll be on my way to the airport with Mama Kizz and Queen Bee. We'll be headed to Italy for a 9 day whirlwind of sightseeing. These two brave and intelligent women have entrusted the planning of our madness to me so it'd probably be a good idea if you didn't tell them that I've never planned a trip before.


Paternally I come from a strong line of amateur travel agents. Both my father and his father before him delight in poring over the options in a new destination and picking which highlights could be crammed into the available time. I suspect that, before mapquest and the like, the occasional protractor was used to measure travel distance and estimate time between points A and B. I know that maps of all kinds were employed because on our last trip together, the three of us, I was the one reading a county survey map of Devon and Cornwall, England on the afternoon we accidentally found ourselves needing to ford a rushing stream in a rental Fiat.

Proof It's possible that I abdicated the planning rather than learning from it. This would surely be my failing and not theirs. The ability to narrow down my choices from EVERYTHING IN ITALY to the top few things I'll be disappointed not to see is not a skill I seem yet to have mastered. I'm good at the big stuff. I can pretty easily decide when we need to get somewhere and when we need to get back. It's all the things we do in between that's baffling. Last year I arrived in San Diego and hadn't even glanced at a website to see where our hotel was in relation to the rest of the city. Fortunately Our Cindy knew where the nearest museum was and we went directly there...after a stop for fish tacos.

In the last week or so, though, I think I've gotten this Italy thing worked out. Thanks to some specific inquiries from the professional travel agent and Queen Bee and a frantic call with a tragic misspelling of a gallery name from Mama Kizz I have been able to ask the right questions which, of course, leads to the right answers and has miraculously resulted in a hilarious but relatively detailed itinerary.

Untitled For instance on the day when we go to Vatican City I've added "(incl. Sistine Chapel)." The ladies might think I did that because I think they aren't too bright. Sadly it's not them I'm worried about. Though I know in some reptile part of my brain that the Sistine Chapel is part of Vatican City if I hadn't written it down specifically I'd continue to worry that we weren't going to get it into our sightseeing. In Florence I've specified which gallery has Michaelangelo's David in it for the same reason. Just seeing it on paper has lowered my stress levels and increased my pleasant anticipation levels enormously.

Turns out I like having all the details worked out. Who knew?

The two major pieces left to slot in are how we're traveling to Siena from Florence (and back again!) for our day trip and how to get to see the Murano glass. We've got plenty of time factored in so I don't think they'll be any trouble. Feel free to point me in the right direction. I'm addicted now to this whole "concrete plans" initiative that everyone else has been doing for so long.

Three weeks from tomorrow morning I'll be eating breakfast in Italy! Now, remind me which restaurant you said we shouldn't miss?

**All photos are from other trips since I don't have any pictures of Italy yet.


  1. Maria Batali! He has a book on exploring Italy via food. Also if you can find the Bourdain to watch before you go. Hiromi Yamada, Iron Chef!
    Hork down all the wine you can! It's like ketchup over there. Sangiovese, Muscato.... the list is amazing!

  2. Also they eat backwards... you might know this but when JT went to study abroad they gave him a course on manners. Back of the fork and the knife... he still eats that way. :)

  3. I grew up partially in the UK, I know about the fork thing. The thing is, we're not explorers going to another planet. They know about the fork thing. They aren't going to kick us out for eating differently. I promise. I made it through France with my forking ways, I'll make it through Italy, too.