Monthly Archives: September 2010

THE JOY OF PRE-PLANNING

My father spent six months creating The Grand Tour. He set up a map in the basement and placed pins (pink for hotels, blue for restaurants) every time he received confirmation of a reservation. He interviewed anybody who had been to Europe, read articles and the few guide books that existed, studied maps like he was preparing for D-Day. When he decided that we would purchase a new Volkswagen van in Paris (to be sent back to Chicago after the trip), my father went to the Volkswagen dealership in Evanston, measured the storage space, then bought six suitcases that would fit perfectly when stuffed with clothes. We bought quick-dry underwear (I never got used to the slippery feeling of wearing silky synthetics) and matching clothes for the three boys: madras sports coats, though a different color for each. Months prior to our June departure, we knew there would be a morning in July when we would have to wake at 6:00 am in order to catch a ferry so that we would make our noon lunch reservations. We knew where we would dine for Bastille Day, where we would sleep in Paris, Zermatt, Rome, London. Continue reading

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