Thursday, November 13, 2008

Talk about planning ahead (and please vote on the cake poll on the right)

Whatever else you may say about me, it could never be said that I leave things till the last minute. I suppose many people would consider the fact that I have booked our holiday some six months ahead a trifle sad; where is your spontaneity and impulsive streak?, you could say. And I would reply - I did lots of sudden and exciting things when I was young; now I want to have the pleasure of something to look forward to during the rainy Brittany winter. I want to think with longing of strolling around Murano or drinking wine outside a trattoria.

I've booked the hotel - it's number two on Trip Advisor's list of Venetian Hotels. Number one was extortionate, this one is a much better price and the rooms do look lovely. It is this one. It's not yet possible to book the train travel. Their booking system doesn't cope with an anal person who likes to plan things months in advance, but they will send me an email when booking opens which is sometime in February.

However, one place where it is possible to book tickets months, sometimes as many as 12 months, ahead is an opera house. Now I'm a sucker for Puccini operas and luckily (or not so luckily for poor Mr French Fancy) Madame Butterfly will be on at the Venice opera house, La Fenice (that's it in the photo), during the dates we are there. I have just booked two good seats - which was no mean feat as the online booking form was all in Italian (at the end of the booking I saw there was an English option at the top - but it's all good linguistic practice - non siete d'accordo?)

Let's just hope that we both stay healthy and get to go on this holiday. A couple of years ago I was rushed into hospital (it's a very long post by the way) and a trip to Nice had to be postponed by six months. Then there was our long weekend in Paris to go to the ballet last Christmas, which unfortunately saw us coming back prematurely due to sickness - I gave the ballet tickets to a pharmacist who was kind to a sick Englishman. You see - that is the downside of planning anything way ahead. You don't even know if you will still be alive.

37 comments:

Frankofile said...

Mmm Venice. Snaffle up a Murano glass chandelier for me while you're there?

Mama said...

We were so separated at birth you and me, I am sure.

We saw my Fave (La Traviata) there in Venice a few years ago, Verdi is wonderful but close second is Puccini's Madama Butterfly, our next stop was Lucca we saw Puccini's home and the Torre De Lago. I am sure you did the right thing to book it now and that you will stay well and enjoy your wonderful trip. Kathy
ps They turned on the lights in the West End last night come and take a peek, Selfridges windows are full of Santa and his antics.

French Fancy said...

frankofile - so you're a Murano glass fan. I've got a swan from my parents but this May trip will be the first time I'll have actually gone to the island of Murano.


Mama - So you're a Verdi fan first, then Puccini? I'm the reverse of that. We can't like the same things all the time - :)

I hope it doesn't look like I'm showing off talking about my planned trip. It's my prescription for staving off the Brittany-in-winter feelings that all us expats sometimes get. I've always needed things on the horizon that make me feel good.

willow said...

Your well planning holiday is going to pay off!! The hotel is just my kind of place and opera?! I think you might just have to plan my next trip. You have inpeccable taste.

justme said...

I used to love planning things in advance. You have all the pleasure of anticipation! Lately I have, however, become almost phobic about planning anything more that a few days ahead. As I have also become strange about leaving home for more than one or two nights, I have not been going anywhere lately. No dobubt I will get over it!
I WAS going to tag you for a meme until I decided not to put pressure on people to do it. But if you do feel like doing one, pop over to my blog!

The Dotterel said...

La Fenice was still a shell last time we were in Venice - I envy you. (Just discovered a shared love of Camelot, too - on Willow's blog. Shouldn't it be on your profile?)

French Fancy said...

willow, I wish you lived round the corner.

justme - the thing about planning so far ahead and getting so enthused is that sometimes things don't live up to the expectation. I have been disappointed a few times like that. I hope by staying in you are enjoying yourself and not getting a bit down.

the dotterel - if I put everything I loved on the profile, I'd frighten everyone away with the lines and lines of type. I simply love most musicals, especially Mr Sondheim's.

Veggie Carrie said...

Ahh Venice sounds lovely. I don't think it's too soon to book your holiday, you can look forward to it for six months now. Who knows though... in six months Venice may be underwater (just kidding!).

Also, yes please to a slice of chocolate cherry cake!

jenny smith said...

Gosh, yes, you do talk about Highgate and Lauderdale house! What a coincidence! Yes, i had forgotten how lovely that part of North London is myself.

And what's wrong with planning ahead? I was making christmas cards in August!

Thank you for your lovely and supportive comments.

Anonymous said...

I collect glass...Venice couldn't disappoint.

'Madame Butterfly'...heart-wrenchingly beautiful-second to 'La Boheme', in my opinion.

Hope the Guggenheim still has the great chocolate cake.

Hadriana's Treasures said...

We used to holiday in Vicenza as a family. I wanted to go to the Verona opera with them but no, I had to stay back with my younger sisters. I suppose I will get there one day. The nearest I have been is through Inspector Morse...
(Si, sono d'accordo.)

nikkicrumpet said...

Now that sounds niiiice! Any vacation would be awesome at this point!

Blu said...

Venice was my first holiday abroad........love at first sight..x j'adorexx

French Fancy said...

carrie - I think I know who your mum is:)
Imagine if it sank - it doesn't bear thinking about. Wasn't there a big Venice in Peril thing a long time ago? I know part of it floods quite often and you have to walk on planks.


jenny - Hello. I don't have the 'plan early for Christmas' gene, funnily enough. I am a bit of a last-minuter for that. Although since M&S decided they would deliver internationally, I've just placed a huge order, including presets and cards. You just can't get good cards for Noel here in our bit of France.


anon - every snippet of Venice info that I'm getting from fellow bloggers has gone into a little notebook (I know I know). I can promise you that I will go to the Guggenheim to have a refreshing time away from Renaissance paintings and to eat chocolate cake. :) I do love Renaissance art, especially the blues they used, but you can overdo the richness.


Hadriana - I must confess to an online translation site for even my meagre few words of Italian. All I know are words I've heard in the Sopranos which are either to do with food, sex or murder.


nikki - It sounds like you've got the winter misery thing. But I guess you are so busy you haven't stopped to notice :)


blu - it is a special place and I'm so looking forward to Mr FF seeing it with me. We're going for a week so we'll have lots of time to explore.

cheshire wife said...

Booking a summer holiday in the gloomy winter months is a great way of cheering yourself up. I wish I could be organised enough to do it. Our recent holidays have all been last minute bookings.

Can Bass 1 said...

Don't they have anything English for you to listen to. Some nice Purcell opera, maybe?

French Fancy said...

cheshire wife - but at the last minute one can pick up some amazing bargains. I've only done all this advance stuff since I gave up working and moved to France. What's that old adage about the devil making work for etc etc. I mean I should sit doing my OU stuff but I somehow just manage to click on Trip Advisor by mistake.

Can Bass - you mean with regard to my Don Giovanni essay (for which I am still awaiting my result)?. Well this particular course deals more with Europe at a certain point in history and England doesn't seem to figure that much at the moment. I think it does later in the course but to do with architecture and town planning. So no Purcell then.

Bill Stankus said...

Never been a planner and I don't plan on changing.

Never done opera or the ballet, symphonies are OK, musicals are also OK. I prefer jazz or blues clubs and torch singers. So it looks like I'm not invited!

I don't know where I would go for a vacation. But I would love to live in a warm sunny place with great art galleries and art museums, modern of course.

Veggie Carrie said...

Good detective work - you're probably correct about the identity of my mum. I started blogging as a way of keeping in contact when she moved to Brittany.

Yes, it would be tragic if Venice sank. I have been googling and there is even a Venice in Peril fund.

http://www.veniceinperil.org/

French Fancy said...

How lovely for you both to keep in touch through blogging.

Thanks for the link. It makes dire reading - if nothing is done it seems Venice will be uninhabitable by the 21st C. But they have to raise money somehow so I hope their shock tactics work.

Re my hotel booking - I got an email from the hotel today saying they are now fully booked and if I change my mind about the booking to let them know asap as they know have a waiting list for May and June. Now that makes me happier about my booking so far ahead :). Of course there is no way I am not going!

French Fancy said...

bill - you fell through my radar. It sounds like you should move to Italy then. If it's good enough for George Clooney...

Lane said...

That last line made me laugh, though maybe it shouldn't!

I love planning ahead even if the best made plans can crumble at the last minute. The fun is in the anticipation and I'm way past the 'last minute' thing anyway. Too many animals and people need organizing:-)
Anyway your holiday sounds like there's plenty to savour in anticipation.

ps thanks for your comment on my brother post. Much appreciated:-)

Anonymous said...

And when I booked my 3rd trip to Venice, the woman on the 'phone-before the internet-asked me right at the end.

HER:'Would you like to book car hire?'
ME:'Errrrrrrrrrrrr.........Venice+car hire?'
HER:'I've never been but I believe it's got some interesting back streets to explore'.
ME:'Water?'
HER:'Oh yes they definitely have water there but bottled is probably best'.

Whah,lah. :))

Mama said...

You were right to book early it seems, now you can relax and enjoy Christmas and New Year knowing your summer hols are sorted. Kathy

DJ Kirkby said...

Venice is glorious and that hotel looks splendid. Makes me want to go back again. Hope you get there and enjoy good health.

DJ Kirkby said...

P.S. why am I only allowed to choose ONE cake to have with my afternoon tea?

Henry the Dog said...

My mum loved Venice. She said it was the best city she'd ever been to. My mum is sad too, believe me. She's going on holiday with Uncle Hugh in February, and she booked it in April 2008. How sad is that???? I'll be going on holiday too - to the kennels where I stay with James and Jane. She's booked that already too.

French Fancy said...

Lane - you gotta have something good on the horizon, I say.


anonymous - that's like a line from a sit-com. In fact it will probably now be used in one, as a friend of mine is in that field and pinches stuff mercilessly


Kathy - you have so many trips to look forward to that you probably look forward to staying put for a bit. Have a good journey home.


dj - that hotel has 368 reviews on Trip Advisor and only one is negative (a room they'd booked wasn't available when they turned up. The hotel responded with 'well, why didn't you confirm it with a credit card as we requested'). It looks a super place and is very affordable.

You can only do 1 vote because that is the setting I chose. The winning cake will be what I next bake for the English Sunday tea parties that I do every few months for our French neighbours.


Henry, hello from Poppy and Misty. Where is your mum going on holiday? although, from the sound of it she already lives between three countries.

Henry the Dog said...

I think she's going to somewhere called Sing-a-Paw and then Malaise Yer. Yes mum does travel between countries a bit and sometimes I go with her to Switzerland but it's RRREEEAAALLYYY boring in the car 'cause it takes hours and hours, but once we're there the walks are fab. To be honest I think she's going to make France her main home. I know she doesn't like going to the UK anymore. It makes her cry.

Please say hello to Poppy and Misty too. Any photos?

French Fancy said...

Wow, Henry, what a shame you can't go too. I do understand about mum preferring France to the UK though, I feel the same although i do get homesick from time to time.

If you look at the label index on the right of my blog you will see a 'bichons'
link

aliceinparis said...

That hotel looks WONDERFUL!

French Fancy said...

alice - doesn't it and it seems so reasonable. A superior room which is in the pictures there is only €145 a night.

Sarah said...

Sometimes you have to book ahead or there's nothing left if you leave it too late. That's the case when you go to the Gower peninsula in Wales. I go every year because my mother always books two weeks there. If I want to join her with the kids for a week, I have to book months ahead, like now, or we don't go.

We go there because my mother used to live there, so she goes back to her roots, and as we used to spend many holidays there as kids, it's a nostalgia trip and my kids love it there too.

So, there's no getting around it - book early. One can be spontaneous in other areas...

Frankofile said...

(hmm stuff going on behind my back!) I first saw Venice on a schools cruise - how spoilt was I? - when I was 16. My first encounter with Latin extravagance, including declarations of undying love from complete strangers... I've been back since (hope VC remembers it) and appreciated it even more. You might like the extraordinary photos of Venetian masked figures produced by a member of the local photo club http://www.clubphotolagacilly.com/index.php?p=galeries&id=belven

French Fancy said...

sarah - I can see that would be necessary - imagine your mum's disappointment if she'd booked the room for herself and then none of you could turn up to join her. I've never gone to the same place twice on holiday - we've talked about it but it just doesn't happen. It must be good to know what to expect and exactly where everything is.


frankie - hello again :) Good to see your school's cruise took you to such a glamorous place. Ours took us to all the Scandinavian countries, which seemed very dull at the time.
Great Venetian pics - now that would be a good time of year to go there but imagine how hard it would be to find a hotel.

Carol and Chris said...

We went to the Opera too when we were there!!! It was Carmen and it was wonderful!! (not sure if Hubby loved it quite as much as me but hey....we'd just got married and he was being nice!!).

Madam Butterfly is on my list of Opera's I want to see....I did see an abridged version here but it was all a bit surreal (the main singer looked about 60 so trying to imagine her a 14 year old girl was a big stretch of the imagination!!)

You will have a ball!!!

C x

French Fancy said...

carol - I think Mr FF might not like it too much but he can have a doze. I read your blog entry about your trip to the opera - it was fascinating. I've only heard it sung in English at the Coliseum but intend to get a DVD so that Mr FF can grow to love it as much as me (poor man).