Dreams for the future.
There are the big dreams: my children loving and obeying the Lord, living long and healthy lives, having lots and lots of grandchildren who will then grow up to love and serve the Lord. These are the most important dreams, the ones we would die to see fulfilled.
Then there’s the little dreams. Dreams that are still a big deal, but don’t carry the same weight or consequence. Dreams, that if they don’t happen will cause no more damage than a bit of disappointment. But oh, how we dream they will happen! The famous bucket list.
We all have them, I’m sure.
I have treasured a dream since my first grandchild was born.
If you know me or follow me for any length of time, you will know my passion for travel. You will also know how my husband and I love to share this passion with any willing to listen—or better yet—join us.
Soon after our first grandchild was born, Doug and I decided that someday, Lord willing, we would end up taking each of our grandchildren, once old enough to remember well, on a special trip. It would be to a location of their choosing, within reason. Just the three of us.
After doing a year studying ancient history, number one grandson, Gabriel, told us he had chosen his destination.
“North Korea.” He said, keeping his face smirk-free.
“Uh, sorry. No.” Remember that ‘within reason’ part?
He proceeded to laugh with great enthusiasm. Our grandson has a sense of humor, as well as a desire to see how gullible his grandparents might be.
“Rome, with the Colosseum, gladiators, and M&M’s.”
“Yeah, like the M&M candy store picture you sent me.”
“That was in Florida.”
“Oh.” Shoulders drooped. I guess he was really looking forward to those M&M’s.
“Rome has gelato.” I countered.
“What is that?”
“Like ice cream, but better.”
“Let’s go to Rome.” The enthusiasm was back. His grin contagious. Then he hesitated. “Unless you don’t want to go again.”
“You can never take too many trips to Rome.”
So, Rome it was. Only, it can’t be JUST Rome. I can get such good multi-city deals, and there is so much more to Italy than Rome.
I began my search, checking all my favorite discount websites. Prices were high. I waited and checked again. Prices still high.
Covid hit. We waited some more.
Prices dropped. Surely if I bought a year out things would be back to normal…
I once again found a great deal for Rome, Florence and Venice. (This seems to be a common bargain package deal, for any of you looking at travel to Italy.) Here is something I mentioned on a post several years ago, but I will repeat myself: When putting in your dates for travel—play around with your departure and return dates, as well as with the number of days you want to travel. This time I also played with which airport to fly from. Ends up, I got twelve nights plus airfare and hotel for several hundred dollars less than nine nights, and then saved an additional couple hundred by flying from a different airport. Every dollar saved on this end helps out the budget on the travel end!
Each part of planning for this trip was exciting for me, but also more challenging than previous trips. I wanted this to be extra special for our eleven-year-old grandson. I also wanted to take advantage of what was available and what we consider “must sees” without boring him.
For instance, in Rome you have to see the colosseum, but you must also see the old Roman forum and places like St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican museum. Then there are the southern destinations of Mt. Vesuvius and Pompeii.
Florence is a city for art and science. Both are areas of interest for our grandson. But to experience these involves a lot of museums. How to make that interesting for an eleven-year-old boy?
Then there’s Venice. It is truly a unique city, with its maze of streets and bridges and canals. Since it may not be above water in a couple decades, we thought we better show Gabriel the city while we had the opportunity.
A plan began to take shape. The deal was secured.
“Tickets purchased!” I texted my daughter, while doing a happy dance in my kitchen. “Now we need to be sure Gabriel is prepared.”
Along with his class in ancient Roman history, we delved into a few important characters from the Renaissance. Several books on the lives of Michelangelo, DaVinci and Galileo were purchased and sent for my grandson to study. These would help with the museums to come. I believe that if a child knows the history of something before seeing it, he will find what he sees more fascinating.
Next, my own homework and research began, checking on various tours and ideas for capturing the excitement for our young companion. Can you just see the big smile across my face?
Want to know about our trip? What worked? What didn’t? What about that small factor of a long-lasting pandemic? Join me next time to hear how the actual trip went!