Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Transitions, Getting Ready to Go. . .

Wow! There is so much to do in the days before a month-long trip to Europe. I know, I know. First World problems, right?
But this seems a particularly complicated trip, for us, what with the leg over to thesouth-east corner of Italy, to Puglia, following a few days in London, a longer stay in Bordeaux, two days in Paris, and then the week at the Adriatic Coast.  Today, I finally booked the train tickets for the trip back from Puglia to Rome, and I'm almost ready to arrange the taxi pick-up for the early morning flight home. Odd, in a way, to be thinking all the way forward to the trip being wrapped up and behind us. . .

If I'm thinking forward, of necessity, I also found myself re-winding the Memory-Bank Movie (HT Margaret Laurence, The Diviners): the photos I posted yesterday got me rifling through the digital files for these snaps I took last summer in Bordeaux's Jardin Public. This tree sculpture is different, obviously, from Hugo Franca's installation on the Vancouver beach, but both meditate on the transition from a living, growing tree to the long but inevitable decay back into the earth.
In the case of the sculpture at the Bordeaux Jardin Public, a Cedar of Lebanon, planted in 1858, had begun to break down and needed to be replaced. To help the transition between the loss of the old tree and the growth of a new one (to be planted this past winter) a sculpture was imagined, "an ephemeral work to make a gentle transition between the cedar of today and the cedar of tomorrow" (my translation; see French signage below).
The signage also includes this brilliant quotation by Nobel prize-winning writer Rabindranath Tagore: Trees, eternal efforts of the earth to speak to a listening sky/heaven (again, pardon my translation -- see French signage version below, Tagore, of course, wasn't writing in French. . . ) EDITED: I've just tracked down the original English: Trees are the earth's endless effort to speak to the listening heaven.

I'm looking forward to checking out how the site has changed from last summer, and to viewing the sculpture with Franca's work in mind. It's important to me, this aspect of travel, the carrying of ideas back and forth, from one place to another. . .
Meanwhile, however, to accomplish that, there are lists to be made. Does anyone else copy out their entire inventory in a little Moleskine or other small accessible hard copy you can keep on your person at all times? I've been caught short in the past with having to dig through a suitcase or try to fire up a cellphone/tablet/laptop to access information. For the last few years though, every hotel address, every booking reference number, every Train Car and Seat number, every detail about which airport terminal (we once arrived, quite late, at Charles de Gaulle, and realized the ticket didn't say which terminal -- that made a stressful trip even more so). I spent over an hour doing that today, then another hour ensuring we have physical, printed copies of every reservation and printed SNCF train tickets, scanning codes at correct scale, etc.
Suitcase isn't packed yet, but everything's there, waiting for the one last culling to be made tomorrow evening. I'm out of laundry detergent, so the machines are going to be working overtime when I pick that up -- I like to come home to clean towels, linens on the bed, etc.. Must pick up cat food also. Have almost emptied the fridge, eating my way through it over the last 3 days (easier with Paul having gone ahead to Vancouver for work). Last-minute instructions for the house/pet-sitter. Wishing I'd found someone to keep the garden in shape -- what a jungle it will be despite my frantic weeding, pruning, dead-heading this week.

A few last tasks to complete for my paid job. A knitting project to decide on and put together needles and yarn for (unbearable to travel without knitting -- how do non-knitters make it through a flight?!). Decide whether to load more books onto my Kobo. etc. etc. And occasionally, I pause to remind myself that this is all preparation for a wonderful trip -- it's fun! Get those shoulders away from the ears; this is a holiday!


I'll be blogging while I'm gone (we don't fly out until Sunday, but I'm not sure whether or not I'll post between now and then), but I'll be doing so from my iPad Mini, using Blogsy. We'll see how that goes. If you're interested in following my travels, you might also check out the Twitter feed in the column on the right -- I don't do Instagram, but I'll Tweet photos whenever I find Wifi, and probably much more regularly than I post to the blog. Or you could follow me on Twitter . . .

And please know that even if I don't manage to respond to your comments as regularly as I do at home, I will surely be reading and enjoying them. I thank you in advance for your company.

27 comments:

  1. Bon voyage mater!
    I will follow with enthusiasm....

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  2. Bon voyage from me too! I don't tweet - I barely remember to bring my cell phone with me when I go out - so I'll have to hope that the Blogsy thing works out.

    I think you're very clever to have everything written down in your notebook, I try to do the same. All the best for your final preparations.

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    1. Even if you don't Tweet, you can take a peek at my Twitter feed right here on my blog . . . that column on the right, above, has my five latest Tweets, and sometimes there will be a photo with them. . . .so even if I don't manage a whole post for a few days, there will often be a Tweet or two. . .

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  3. I buy the wee moleskins in threes and I write everything down. It's all on the iPhone, but I am still one who trusts my own writing most of all. So.....contacts, itinerary, addresses, dates are all entered and kept with me.
    Good luck with these last preparations. Perhaps I'll take up Twitter to follow you but I will look forward to your blog posts.

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    1. I do exactly the same -- those wee moleskines are perfect! It's surprising how much you can fit into them -- and when the battery's dead on the iPhone, you've still got the info right there. As for Twitter, see above, to Patricia. . . .

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  4. Non-knitters read and stare out of the window, willing the plane to stay in the air. Sometimes we count backwards from a really big number because that also helps to avert disaster. Eventually we cave in and have a drink and risk a snooze, hoping that someone else will be using magical thinking to save everyone.
    I am going to Korea and Japan this summer. That's a lot of counting.
    Enjoy the trip and rest assured that your fevered preparations are perfectly normal. I like to hoover the whole house before I go so it is neat and clean on my return from prolonged muttering, counting and internal pleading.

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    1. Too funny, Annie! Luckily, I don't generally get nervous about the flying, just bored and stir-crazy! Good luck with all your hours in the area, but what great potential those destinations offer.

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  5. You can knit on planes? We cannot take our needles on board in Europe...

    As to the travel details, I print out every ticket, boarding pass, booking reference, map, and so on, plus photocopies of passports and credit cards and keep them with me in one of those plastic folders, usually a bright green or pink one that shows up amidst the rest of the stuff. Then I chuck out the bits of paper as they are superseded. Anal but efficient

    Have a fantastic trip - indeed an excellent adventure - and looking forward to hearing all about idc

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    1. I've boarded planes in Europe with knitting numerous times -- I just make sure the needles are wood, which most of my double-points are anyway. . . And it's my understanding that they've relaxed the international rules on metal needles anyway, but I don't feel I need to test that . . .
      I don't have photocopies of our passports but I do make sure the numbers are recorded and in a safe, accessible place. Ditto for credit cards, plus I always phone the company to advise we're traveling. . . .Better safe than sorry, right?

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    2. You're right - I've just checked and knitting needles are no longer on the restricted list (They were there last time I checked in anticipation of a solo transatlantic trip in 2011 and I haven't thought to re-check since) Happy days and thank you for pointing this out, Mater. Something to bear in mind for my next long flight

      Mind you I did always wonder how they would spot the needles on the scanner if they were wooden/bamboo...

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  6. Wow! I hope you have a wonderful time this side of the pond - sounds like an amazing trip and much to organise - going away is incredibly full-on and pretty stressful but once you are on the plane, everything will just fall away. Enjoy xx

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    1. Thanks Marianne,
      I'm looking forward to that moment when we're on the plane and it's lifting off the runway -- no more tasks to be done, and we surrender to the journey. . . .

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  7. Bon voyage. I save everything in a file on the computer (spring 2014), take a paper file with necessary printed tickets (in suitcase) and copy every ticket confirmation # and necessary phone # and landlord's name into a book that is carried with me at all times. That way if bag is lost, I can easily go somewhere and reprint or just present the confirmation #. We are not anal just prepared! This will be an exciting family time for you.

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    1. Yes! I do that same duplication, keeping at least the basic info in my little moleskine in case the bags get stolen or otherwise separated from us.

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  8. Bon voyage, Mater. There is much to organize for such a trip - both for what's left behind and for what lies ahead. Like you, I have a physical copy of all numbers and reservations. Little notebooks are invaluable.
    Looking forward to seeing parts of Europe through your lens.

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    1. Thanks Lorrie! Sounds as if many of us have a similar approach. Quite different from my husband's, which makes travel much less stressful for him. . . .

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  9. It sounds like you're going to need the vacation to recover from the preparation! Have a fabulous time :)

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  10. Yes, I do keep a small notebook with the total trip itinerary, and anything else I need a hand.
    Have a great trip!

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    1. Great minds thinking (and acting) alike. Thank you!

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  11. Your trip sounds wonderful. Relax and enjoy each moment fully. I'm with you on the knitting - it has such a relaxing effect when traveling. Wishing you a fabulous and safe trip!

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    1. Thanks, Brenda! The knitting is a good way to pass transit time, isn't it -- relaxes me and makes a nice break from the tiny movie screen. . . .

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  12. The trip sounds wonderful! Safe and happy travels. I look forward to reading your tweets and posts along the way.

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  13. Bon-nest voyage, this one especially sweet because of your family gathering.

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