We leave a week from tomorrow! We're surprisingly calm about it.
Our biggest worry right now is "how are we going to get all of THAT into this little suitcase!" Obviously, we are going to have to do some prioritizing. Our commitment to traveling light is rarely ever carried out. We did our first 3 trips, using our convertible "Rick Steves' bags" which hold an amazing amount of stuff, but as we've gotten older we've graduated to roller bags. We both always take far more clothes than we will need, especially since we have laundry facilities at the 3 rental houses. Intellectually, we know that we can certainly buy some things once we are there, but still have a fear that we'll end up with hemorrhoid cream instead of toothpaste, so we bring it from home.
Yesterday, I called our bank and credit card companies to let them know we will be traveling out of the country, so they can flag our accounts. Last trip, my debit card was refused in a 3-star restaurant -- and I had called the bank from home, and used the card several times before. We ended up using Mom's card for the same account, and I called the bank when we got back to our hotel. Another lesson learned: bring back- up debit & credit cards. I guess we should be grateful that the banks keep such good track of our usage to protect against fraud.
I'm also trying to figure out which travel books to take with us. Rick Steves encourages us to tear up his books & just take the pages we need, but I have a real hard time ripping up a book. I'm thinking of just copying the pages we'll need for Paris, Burgundy, and Normandy, but taking the entire book for Provence. I also want to take the Michelin Green Guides for Provence, Languedoc, and the Dordogne. Rick does a great job with the sights he thinks are the ones worth going to, but the Green Guides provide information about sights not covered by Rick. I think that finding our own "backdoors" is part of the adventure of travel. Besides, it's gotten so that most of the sights in the Rick Steves books are already crawling with Americans and can't really be considered "backdoors" anymore. We have our Kindles for our other reading material, saving the weight of taking 5 or 6 paperbacks each, so taking the travel books shouldn't be a problem -- unfortunately, most travel books aren't available for Kindle. I think handling the actual book is easier anyway, especially for the maps.
I've also got a stack of maps. We are, of course, taking "Francine" our Garmin GPS, but after using her assistance around home, I know we still need to have maps and do some route planning in advance. Francine doesn't mind "recalculating" if we decided to take a detour from her prescribed route.
I'm excited about the trip getting closer, but at the same time I realize that the faster our departure comes, the faster our return home will come.
I hope you'll all enjoy reading my blog, which will be more interesting once we get going, I promise!
Au revoir for now...