This type of planned vacation began even before we had children. We went to London and Oxford for our honeymoon. Months of research went into the trip. I studied travel books, did hours of Internet research and talked to everyone I knew who had spent time there. We produced an itinerary that ensured we would see everything in an orderly fashion. On one day, we would visit Westminster. On another day, we would visit the sights of Southwark (surprisingly to us, Southwark was one of our favorite areas). You get the idea. We stayed busy from breakfast until about 4 pm (it was winter, so it was dark by 4 pm) and then we would settle in at The Blackbird pub near our hotel in Earl's Court.
On this trip, we spent a large part of one day at the National Gallery and discovered the above da Vinci drawing, The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne and Saint John the Baptist. It is a large and striking drawing. In the midst of so many great pieces of art, it caught the attention of both of us. We didn't return from England with many souvenirs, but we returned with the memory of this drawing. I ordered a print of the drawing online and framed it for our home. It has hung in our bedroom for many years now. The fact that the second woman in the picture was St. Anne (the mother of Mary) and not St. Elizabeth (the mother of St. John the Baptist) intrigued me and I became quite fond of St. Anne. Through his own studies, my husband also developed an affinity for St. Anne. Our third child now bears her name and our print of this wonderful drawing is soon moving to her room.
The well-planned, busy vacation allows you to discover new things and new people. It allows you to explore the world in a way that you might not be able to do in your day-to-day life. And who knows, it might even inform your decisions on naming your children. But as this blog explores, the well-planned vacation might just motivate you to make every day (even those ordinary, non-vacation days) into something special. That often takes meticulous planning as well.