This plane ticket to Italy wasn’t the first one I had ever purchased, but it was one of the most difficult. One of my best friends, Cara, was getting married in Genoa and there was no way I was going to miss it. The wedding was in April and coincided perfectly with my work schedule. It seemed like I was meant to take this trip.
That’s when the bumps arrived. And the plans began to alter.
One by one, friends who were planning to come with me (I mean, who doesn’t want a trip to Italy with someone who knows the language, the people, and how everything works?), could no longer go. Then the friends who just wanted to go, couldn’t make it work.
Did I dare make the trip alone?
It wouldn’t be the first time I had travelled to Italy by myself so there was no real fear of being without a travel companion. Besides, this way I could structure the trip without the worry of having to entertain people who were in Italy for the first time. I could visit my favorite cities. Do some more obscure sightseeing. And, most importantly, I could see some old friends, indulging in lengthy visits.
This blew the potential itinerary wide open.
The first major question was where to arrive? Did I fly into Rome and visit some of my favorite haunts? Into Florence to visit my former employer? Up to Milan and travel directly to the bride-to-be?
Then it hit me. Pisa. A few years back I had lived in Pisa for a few months and had met some wonderful people. However, over the years, due to distance, time and sheer laziness, we had slowly lost contact. This would be a great opportunity to go back and see them again.
There was one woman in particular whom I was especially eager to see. Lucia. Lucia and I had become especially close during my time in that city and I had a great desire to see how she was doing. I unearthed an old email address, told her of my plans, and impatiently awaited her response.
Days passed. The time to buy my ticket was now, and my itinerary had shaped up nicely. I would fly into Pisa, arriving Saturday evening. I would stay the night with Lucia and then, since most of the people I knew in Pisa went to the same church, I would spend Sunday among old friends. Next, I would head for Florence, where my former employer was awaiting my visit. After a few days in Florence I would depart for Genoa, and descend into the wedding madness.
Everything seemed perfect, and yet Lucia had not yet responded. Did I dare risk it? Surely I would hear back before long. Yet everyday the ticket prices rose a little bit more. I couldn’t wait much longer.
I made the choice. I would buy the ticket. Pisa would be my first stop.