Thought I would let you see my process for planning my recent spring trip to Italy by reading entries in my journal:
Monday, March 7- It is time to start planning a trip to Italy! I am going with the same friend that I went with several years ago. The big decision is always whether to go in the spring or the fall. Since we don’t have children and have jobs that don’t require we take a summer vacation we have the freedom to avoid the summer crowds and the general shut down of businesses, museums and other tourist attractions that occurs in August.
Normally I travel in the fall because it works out better for my schedule and I love fall weather. Even when I visit the coastal areas of Italy I will gladly skip sunbathing for a nice, chilly walk on the beach. But, this year I think a spring trip is in order. For all of the times I have visited Italy I have never been in May so now we just have to come up with some dates. The weather should be nice but the crowds in Florence and other big cities will not yet have arrived in full force.
Friday, March 11 – Our flights are booked so we are now committed! We are flying into Milan on a Monday and out on a Friday. Flying from Atlanta, Georgia we were able to get better fares into Milan than Rome and flying during the week was much cheaper than flying on the weekend. So we will be leaving Monday, May 2 and return Friday, May 13 on direct flights both ways.
Sunday, March 12 – Let the planning begin! We met at a coffee shop to start throwing out ideas of where we want to go and what we want to do. We are considering a side trip to the south of France and then coming back to northern Italy. We are going to look at staying in Aix en Provence, Arles (where Van Gogh spent time painting and hallucinating!) or Auvignon (to visit the Palais des Papes).
I love going back to places I have already been. When I go places the first time I always feel like there are things I have to see, but when I go the second time I go to places I want to see. And what I most often want to see are café’s, gardens, historical houses, palazzi, castles and cobblestone streets and alleys.
We realized after booking our flights that the Cannes film festival will start in Cannes shortly after our arrival. So, we need to decide – is it enough to just avoid the coast of France or do we need to nix France altogether in order to avoid crowds and the high prices that will come with the film festival.
For the Italy portion of our trip we are trying to decide whether to stay in Verona, Vicenza or Padua.
I have already started thinking about what I need to take on my trip. Since I travel light and only take carry-on luggage I am limited. Still that is no excuse not to go shoe shopping. I stopped on my way home and bought one pair of shoes to take on my trip plus two other pairs!
It is fun planning our trip, but the real world always intervenes. It is difficult enough watching the devastation in Japan; I can’t even imagine what people who live there are going through.