"One of the greatest things in human life is the ability to make plans. Even if they never come true - the joy of anticipation is irrevocably yours. That way one can live many more than just one life."

Maria Trapp-The Story of the Trapp Family Singers - Ch. 12 p. 4

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”

- St. Augustine

Sunday, March 20, 2011

What's next...

Someone at church today pointed out to us that there are just 6 weeks left until we leave for Ireland! Yikes. That sounds a little more pressing than saying we're leaving in May. Exciting, but a little nerve-racking too. I am going to be ready? Have we thought of everything? Who's driving Adam to school? Do we have enough clothes? Wait. Breathe. Okay - we still have 6 weeks - I'll be fine.

At this point in the whole trip-planning thing I start making daily itineraries. 

Yes, I make daily itineraries. 

The carefree and romantic out there have now quit reading. How could a vacation be dreamy and spontaneous if tied to daily itineraries?

Travel to me is like enjoying a slice of gourmet cheesecake at a fine restaurant. You agonize over which flavor will be the most-delectable. Every mouthful is is slowly savored. Every bit of creaminess paid attention to and enjoyed. 

Travel is dessert. I want to savor every moment. All the more so when someone else is buying! I want to do whatever I can to order up the perfect combination of sights and experiences. I don't want to miss a thing by spending hours running around trying to figure out where we're sleeping that night. I don't want to discover two days and a hundred miles too late that we drove right past the finest example of monastic life in Ireland because we didn't know ahead of time it would be there. 

A schedule doesn't mean you can't be spontaneous and chuck it out the window to roam over an unexpected mountainside. It does mean you won't waste a moment looking for something to do or dealing with a disaster that could have been averted with a little pre-planning. Call me uptight if you like, but I want my cake and I plan on eating it too!

I start by making a separate page for each day. Then I make bold entries for everything important that fits into that day. I add things like addresses, open hours, directions and other little details. That way I don't have to search maps or look up directions or discover that what I wanted to see first thing isn't open until noon. One sheet of paper a day has everything I need to get the most from what that day has to offer. 

We may skip things or rearrange, add or eliminate, but there's at least an optional outline of what we could do to have a wonderful time and see something valuable. I may not even look at the page for the day, but just having prepared it ahead of time helps me know what to look for and where to go and helps prevent unnecessary time wasters. I'm happy to waste time staring at a beautiful panorama - I'm not happy to waste time walking up to museum doors that are closed for the season or waiting in line for tickets I could've prepurchased online for less money!

Here's an example of what my typical day-itinerary looks like:

Day Three - Monday May 9th
NYC & Fly to Belfast


Subway ride to Upper West Side


H&H Bagels & Coffee


Stroll through the park – boat on lake?

Row Boating

Row boating is available April through October, weather permitting. Row boats can be rented at the Loeb Boathouse daily, 10am to 5:30pm (last rental). The boats must be returned by 6:30pm. Rentals cost $12 for the first hour and $3 each additional 15 minutes. A $30 cash deposit required. Up to four people permitted per boat. No reservations required.

Lunch at Serendipity – 11:30am
225 East 60th Street
6 train to Chrysler building

If time allows, stop at Chrysler Building – walk through lobby

Lower East Side Tenement Museum – 108 Orchard St.
Walking Tour – 2 hrs., 2:00pm
The Moores – Irish Museum Tour – 1:45, 2:45, 3:45, 4:45
Roam around Delancy Street & The Bowery

Tammany Hall – 2 blocks North on Orchard St.
The site of the New York Film Academy in Union Square is the seat of the famous – and often infamous – Tammany Hall..

Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral – Up and around corner on Mott St.
263 Mulberry St – Corner of Mott and Prince Sts.

Dinner/Snacks at McSorley’s by 4:00pm

McSorley's Old Ale House
15 East 7th Street 
New York, BY 10003
Monday – Saturday: 11AM – 1AM
Sunday: 1PM – 1AM
By subway:
6 - Astor Place
N or R - Eighth Street
By Bus:
M8, M15, M101, M102 , M103Prospect Park

Head to rental by 5:00pm to pick up luggage (40 minutes by subway)

Taxi for EWR by 6:00pm

Flight leaves at 9:25pm

Now I call that a New-York-Style Strawberry Cheesecake day! 

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