Best Laid Plans

The best laid plans don't always turn out the way you expect. I find that in retirement I can make sufficient time to prepare projects to perfection but frequently and regardless, through impetuosity or indolence, still plunge in anyway. Even when I do prepare, polishing to refinement is invariably a little too arduous.

Take our recent trip to Madrid. I thought I had planned a faultless itinerary (with a Plan B for bad weather, tired feet etc..). We may have booked the flights on the spur of the moment but they seemed ideal, from our local airport hub via Schiphol in Amsterdam with KLM. The hotel I reserved a room in was centrally based in Old Madrid, near to a Metro station for transport to and from the airport and of historic interest itself being an old palace.

However, there are some things you just cannot plan for (or maybe you can, with more time and research). In our case, however, who would have known that the time to catch our connecting flight would be reduced when the bus driver who collected us from the plane steps to take us to the gate, got lost whilst proceeding around the terminal? It wasn't a fatal error but we had to do some power walking to make up for the lost time.

Who would have thought that a prestigious hotel accommodated in an old palace would have a problem with its heating system and there be no hot water for a shower on our first morning?

Should I have been aware that the convent adjacent to the hotel would ring its bells at fifteen minute intervals from 6 am (and an hour earlier for us because of the time difference)?

Ought we to have established that  7,000 people would be marching through the centre of Madrid supporting victims of domestic violence and abuse? I suddenly discovered how tourists in London when I was marching back in October must have felt as they too realised that the way ahead was barred.

Oh and what about turning up to visit the Royal Palace and even joining a queue at the entrance before reading a notice indicating that it was closed that day? Honestly there was no clue on the website but at least we were treated to a display of pomp and circumstance or whatever the Spanish equivalent is, as horses, military  personnel and cannons paraded in front of us instead.

None of the issues we encountered spoiled our trip, of course. In fact they are probably the little gems that serve as talking points and from which memories of a unique visit are made. All of which leads me to the conclusion that whilst some time in retirement must be set aside for planning, time is nevertheless too precious a resource to waste agonising over all the minutiae in the hope of avoiding every pitfall. 


Tracy Altieri said…
Travel is such an adventure - with the good, and the not so good! It sounds as though you made the very best of it!
Caree Risover said…
Yes, and hopefully always enough planning and common sense to avoid the bad and the ugly.
Doug said…
We went to Rome earlier this year and things didn’t go to Plan for us as well. And yet it turned out quite well and I quite enjoyed it (it has to be said, my wife was a little unsettled by the experience).

When we arrived at our hotel, we were told they had double booked our room but had made arrangements at another nearby hotel. This other hotel was lovely with some lovely architecture and a lovely roof top restaurant where we had our breakfast the following day. This gave us the opportunity to “get our bearings” and gleaned so much from a very helpful member of staff.

Then when we returned to the original hotel, they upgraded us, so that was unexpectedly grand.

So in the end I quite liked the diversion, it worked out quite well and it all adds a little more interest.
Stephanie Jane said…
It's those little moments that make travel 'interesting', exasperating though they are at the time!
Madrid is on our list of cities to visit although we'd always thought it would be too chilly at this time of year. Were freezing toes a problem for you?
Jane said…
I can sense you smiling about these disruptions now but at the time you probably felt a little annoyed. Thankfully nothing was life-threatening :) We had a heating problem, or lack thereof, when we were in Oban. The first day there was heat but not for the next 4 or 5 days. I emailed the owner several times and she expressed how sorry she was but still no change in the heat!
Caree Risover said…
Oh dear, I feel for you on that one. We found having heating on our boats a necessity when we began sailing in Scotland.
Caree Risover said…
The temperature was very similar to that in the UK but, because the air was dry rather than damp, to be honest I didn’t find it so cold. Noticeable though that whilst the locals were shuffling along in boots and winter coats, I stuck out with a lightweight and unzipped waterproof!
Caree Risover said…
Now we know where the saying, “Every cloud has a silver lining,” comes from.

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