April 28, 2011

Sintra, Portugal. October, 2009

Prepping for a trip is a big part of the fun for me. Researching sites, routes, cuisines, languages, accommodations, restaurants, shops, bus schedules, train tickets, alternate routes...all this allows me to enjoy the trip long before I pack my bags and head for the airport. I had done so much prep for my first trip to Istanbul that on the day I arrived, it felt as if I were returning home. (Or maybe I’d lived there in a past life?) For Paris, I’d mapped out possible routes for my morning run. Ditto Istanbul, Madrid and Lisbon. For business trips to San Francisco and Chicago, I’d gone on Chowhound and asked where a solo diner could eat a good meal at the bar. I want to know where the markets and bakeries are, where the locals buy their cheese, what are the best days to visit Aya Sofia, the Musée d’Orsay, Alcatraz. I suspect Jay thinks travel is effortless because things seem to just happen. Our day trip to Sintra, for example, was so easy because I already knew which train to catch from which station, how to buy the tickets, what we might do when we got there...and where to buy the best queijada (cheese tart) in town. Of course, after all that planning, it’s the unexpected detours that wind up providing the best memories.

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