The friends had gathered for one last catch up before they left for the big adventure in Italy; just days to go after so many months and years of planning.
In theme, they were tucking into a plate of antipasti with a few bottles of Tuscan Pinot Grigio.
“Good grief, I’m starting to feel like a salami,” said Marie as she tucked into a slice she’d deftly wrapped around a piece of roasted capsicum.
“I know, “said Kathy. “I feel exactly the same; I’ve been eating so much pasta lately I’ll be surprised if I can stomach it once we get there.”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” chimed in Sally. “Of course you’ll eat it, it’ll be delicious and way better than what we cook.”
“Speak for yourself,” exclaimed Marie and Kathy in unison. It was a well-known fact that Sally rarely cooked but did regularly enjoy the experimental endeavours of her friends.
The friends were doing a final check list to make sure everything was covered before they left in five days. It was the last time they would see one another until they met up in Florence in just over two weeks. They’d all done a bit of everything in the planning but as always some were more organised than others.
“Righto,” said Sally as she pulled out a huge personal planner with post-its and tabs coming out all sides.
“What the hell?” exclaimed Marie as she took a step back to take in the enormity of the book before her.
“It’s my planner,” said Sally. “It’s got everything I need for every day of the trip.”
“It weighs a tonne,” said Kathy as she tried to lift it with one hand. “Are you seriously going to cart this around with you for a whole month? It’ll be such a pain to carry out during the day.”
“No, no, I’ve got it all sorted. See, let me show you.” And she pulled the book towards her opening it like you’d expect to find the treasures of the ancients inside.
Leather bound, the planner was slightly larger than A5 with a latch that no longer held it closed. Inside were pages and pages of information separated by dividers and sorted into the towns she was planning to visit. Many of the pages also had sticky notes and tabs, Sally explained they identified the different activities in each city – yellow marked her accommodation, blue was for transport details, red was for shopping lists and green for museums. An additional pocket held the copies of the flights and passport.
Kathy and Marie were in awe of the planner but Marie had a sinking feeling that perhaps she should have done more. She had accommodation booked and a couple of tours but was still to organise trains and car hire. She really didn’t even have a plan for each city but had thought it would be okay to wing it once she got there.
“Um, have you organised everything?” she asked Sally.
“Yep, it’s all done. The only thing I haven’t finalised is the week with you two.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, all my tours are booked, trains are booked and I know what I’m doing and where I’m going shopping, I’ve even got my shopping list sorted but that week with the two of you is still a bit vague.”
“Crap,” said Marie. “Well, I’d better get a little more organised, I suppose. But do I really have too?”
Kathy sighed as she flipped through the book.
“Isn’t this a little too organised?”
“Nope, with so little time I really want to make sure I get to everything.”
“It’s like a military manoeuvre,” grumbled Marie.
“Well, look at it this way;” explained Sally, “you need to decide if you’re happy to just be there and see what you can or if you want to target specific things.”
Kathy and Marie looked at one another realising she had a point. They were only talking about their lists earlier that week.
“Well I have this list,” started Marie. “It’s got a whole pile of places I want to visit but a lot of them aren’t in the cities I’m going to. There’s the list of food I want to try. Then I have another list of things I want to pack. There’s also the list of things I need to do before I leave but clearly I’m running out of time for that. At this point I’ll be happy to get there and kiss the ground.”
“Good grief, you’re not the Pope!” said Kathy.
“It’s going to be an interesting holiday,” chuckled Sally.