"Planning" trips in Italy
Man plans, God laughs. This is a Yiddish saying, but it could have been written about planning a trip in Italy. It is usually why I am so hesitant to plan anything. It is better to go with the flow here. If I wait for a bus and it comes, great, I take it. If not, I have my walking shoes on. If I intend to go downtown, but there is a massive protest. Fine. I stay in my area. If I go to a museum and it is randomly closed on a Saturday afternoon despite its sign, OK I go shopping instead. I have learned never to be too tied to any particular plan as the chances that they will happen are about 50/50.
It is a very Zen way to live in a lot of ways: to be like the reed bending in the wind. I think that has helped me a lot in life not be the controlling, rigid type "A" American that I was for many years before Italy.
Every now and then though, being Zen is REALLY annoying. It like an itch you can’t scratch: never being able to rely in any sign, poster, web site or word of mouth, because they might be wrong, misprinted, outdated or simply just changed.
This weekend I learned that it is particularly frustrating when you are trying to plan (the operative word) a surprise for your significant other. And not only did I, against my better judgment, try to plan something, I tried to plan something elaborate: a rental car, a weekend getaway, two different agriturismi, three different cities (Gubbio, San Marino and Urbino), ten hours of combined driving time… ambitious even by American standards. I had left very little room for buffer. Another No-No in Italy. Not only that, it was my first time 1) every renting a car (not only in Italy, but anywhere), 2) driving in the Italian country side (and only the second time every driving in Rome) and 3) driving a Smart car (the only automatic car I could find to rent).
This hazing experience, though terrifying, still didn’t deter me from my plan. And I was set for the weekend I intended.
And then Roman cars swarmed to the streets like locusts. Not only did my boyfriend get stuck in traffic to meet me, we got stuck in traffic together trying to get out of the city. A lot of traffic. A lot of unplanned, inexplicable traffic…
All of a sudden the cracks in my plans became evident. All the buffer zones that it lacked, all the things that could and would go wrong, all the distance we would need to travel in the short amount of time and in a slow-ish moving car.
We scrapped the plans.
|Cioccoleta Agriturismo in the countryside near Orvietto|
|Cioccoleta Agriturismo at night|
So thanks for laughing at me God. I’ll admit it. You were right.