07 August 2008

I love Paris in the springtime…

Or at least I hope that the song is right because I’ll be visiting La Ville Lumière to find out for myself in April 2009! After years of dreaming and pseudo planning, hubby and I will finally be heading off to Europe next spring for what we now lovingly refer to as “our last hurrah.” In other words, we are trying to fulfill our dream vacation before we settle down and start adding little bambinos to the mix.

While we would love to escape for an entire month, our schedules and savings account will only afford us two weeks in paradise. We could have opted for a whirlwind bus tour, but it’s just not our thing. The idea of spending the bulk of our journey on a crowded bus and adhering to other peoples’ schedules didn’t appeal to us. Perhaps you get to “see” more on a bus tour, but I firmly believe that you don’t get to “experience” more. Instead, we have opted for a few days of adventure in Paris and then it’s off to Italy by train to embrace la dolce vita amidst the beautiful backdrops of Venice, Florence, Siena and Rome.

Despite having already spent a summer in Italy as an exchange student in my early teens, I still find myself yearning to explore the country even more. I could have easily chosen to visit other beautiful parts of Europe but there is something about Italy that pulls at my heart and beckons me to come back…maybe it’s that coin I threw in Trevi Fountain fifteen years ago? At any rate, there is something so utterly spellbinding about Italy and I can’t imagine being in Europe without visiting. I am excited to return and equally thrilled to share the experience with my husband. I have a feeling that the gelato alone with have him thoroughly enamored.

While I may have been fortunate to have already visited a good chunk of Italy in my younger years, there will still be many ‘firsts’ on this trip as well. Paris will be a new experience, as will Tuscany. Fueled by our passion for all things vino, we decided that this would be the ideal region to spend the bulk of our time touring wineries and small medieval hilltop towns. I have a feeling that this will be just the right ticket after enduring the hustle and bustle of Paris and touristy Venice; it will also be a nice way to unwind before heading off to busy Rome.

I am happy to report that our airfare is now booked! I realize that it seems a bit early but experience has taught me to jump at good airfare deals because they don’t hang around for very long. At only $1,834 for two adult round-trip tickets from Ottawa with United Airlines, I wasn’t going to complain or hold out for something better. Sign me up!

With the tickets already purchased, I now find myself itching to go. It’s still early yet to start booking hotels but I have already started to compile a list of “top choice” accommodations at a modest budget (if you can call any price in Euro modest). Hubby jokes that I will know that lay of the land better than its own people by the time we finally get there. Knowing me, I’ll probably be handing out directions and restaurant recommendations like a local. Some would say that this spoils the adventure, but I’m a glutton for planning and I have a sick little obsession with never being ‘wrong’ or ‘lost’. It’s an O’Brien thing…we’ll leave it at that.

Pray for me folks. With 247 days of waiting, I may very well pop. Here’s hoping that hubby still finds my excitement ‘endearing’ at that point. I tend to get a little OCD with these things.

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