“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.
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.
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.)
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…