Things I Learned

“People don’t take trips.  Trips take people.”  (John Steinbeck, “Travels with Charley in Search of America.”)

Our recent trip took us to the Veneto region of Italy for a week, then a cruise from Venice to Athens, with stops in Croatia, Montenegro, and Greece.

Big Red

The first thing we learned:  shipping a piece of luggage ahead is a good thing.  But only if the place you’re shipping it to will accept an unaccompanied delivery.  Our first hotel would not.  Pleading, cajoling, begging, whimpering…nothing worked.

Which leads us to the second thing we learned:  do not separate electronics.  For instance, I had a suspicion I might not be able to figure out the GPS system in our rental car, so I bought and downloaded up-to-date maps for my Garmin, and tucked it into my carry-on.  The charger?  That, I tucked away in “Big Red,” which is what we call the suitcase that was held hostage for several days.  So I used the Garmin (fully charged before departure) only when necessary.  Really, really necessary.

GPS? Mission: Impossible

Which brings us to lesson #3: car rental.  In Europe and many other destinations, you have to request automatic transmission and air conditioning, which my wife did.  I understand her desire for an automatic.  (In case I drop dead behind the wheel.  She can’t drive a manual transmission.)  But why spend the money on AC?  How about being there during a heat wave?  It was 95-to-100 degrees every day.  She’s so damned smart.  (Actually, she is.)

A cool cat

And lesson #4:  there’s nothing you can do about the weather.  That’s a lesson we learned as kids.  This was a crash refresher course.  You play the hand you’re dealt, and we could deal with the heat.  But back home, Irene took aim at Connecticut.  By the time we tried to change plans, it was too late.  Airports here were closed.  There was no joy in missing a significant weather event.  No joy in knowing colleagues were working around the clock.

It sucked the joy out of enjoyment.  Enment.  I had a lot of enment.  Maybe that’s why it took me so long to write about this.

But wait, there’s more…


About Gerry

I've been covering Connecticut news and sports since 1974. I know, I don't look that old.
This entry was posted in It's all about me, Travel and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Things I Learned

  1. Linda says:

    Can’t wait! This is like reading a really good book and you can’t wait to turn the page!

  2. Ditto Linda

    And by the way, There was news fairly recently that Steinbeck’s Travels With Charlie was a fraud; it was fiction, not non-fiction. It appears that Steinbeck’s trip west was as made up as the Joads’. I hear that Charley’s great,great,great grandson is writing a book, telling Steinbeck’s story from the dog’s point of view. Working title: Travels With Steinbeck

  3. Ouch. Low blow. Projective identification?

    Sorry. That’s cruel, too.

  4. Terry says:

    Love your blog, and laughed out loud about the automatic transmssion. I, as female in the house, wouldn’t let my husband buy a Jeep Wrangler manual because……. as he said to me “in case I drop dead and you can’t drive it”! Hello we women think alike and oh yes we are smart.

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