Last June was my 63rd birthday, the age of my mother when she died. Thinking about about how much time I’ve got left and how I want to spend it, fueled this particular trip.
There I was on the couch, Googling St.Petersburg, wondering if my deep itch to visit the Hermitage was serious enough to deal with what it would require of me in terms of Russian bureaucracy, expense, and stamina. One thought led to another, and I recalled wistfully how I’d wanted to spend a month in the Louvre. It is to this painter, what the Vatican is to a nun, the epicenter of what my world spins around.
In my daydream, I’d rent an apartment close enough to walk. In the morning I’d stroll along the Seine, my sketchbook in my bag, and when the guards invited me to leave at the end of the day, I’d limp back, gorged on art, a baguette under my arm.
True, I am not a huge fan of Parisians – they are a little on the cranky, hyper-caffeinated side, like most striving citizens in major international cities – but compared to the strain of putting together a trip to Russia, no big deal.
At that moment, in one of those serendipitous, coincidental nudges from fate, my husband brought in the mail and dropped a postcard on my lap that read “Would you like to have your own home in Paris for a week, a month or…”
The idea caught fire right away. I did the math on the rental, versus the B&Bs I usually choose. I clocked the distance to the Louvre both on foot and by Metro. I think that’s the travel equivalent of mentally placing your furniture in rooms when you go house-hunting.
An intense week followed – deciding on dates, the inclusion of Amsterdam/ the Rjiksmuseum, shopping flights looking for the best possible combination of Skymiles and $$, culminating in an April Fool’s departure and May 1 return.
Next post – traveling in the age of apps.