I'll admit it: I am a Type A Personality. At no time does this become more abundantly clear than in the weeks leading up to a vacation. I flip through Fodor's and Frommer's, read the reviews posted on Lonely Planet, Hotels.com, and Trip Advisor, and methodically, obsessively construct an hour-by-hour itinerary.
I am sure the more Freudian types would say that I have an intrinsic insecurity and inability to yield control, but I believe my compulsive planning stems from an entirely healthy respect for the limited nature of time.
In other words, to quote the immortal and incomparable power-balladeer, Steven Tyler, I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing.
It is with pride, and perhaps a tiny bit of shame, I confess to having worn-out some of hardiest of world travelers.
If you want to see every museum and monument in a ten mile radius of Paris in seven days or less, I am your gal!
Paradoxically, the moments I have come to appreciate the most have been the spontaneous ones.
On a bus tour of the castles of Bavaria we made an unannounced side trip to a wood carver’s shack. I spent a thoroughly enjoyable hour watching a stooped-shouldered, sweet-faced old man with a droopy moustache carve one of the wise men for a Nativity Set. On my first visit to Paris, I begrudgingly followed my mother through the narrow streets of the Marais so that we might visit an obscure museum. Musee Carnavalet is now my favorite museum in France.
When I planned my recent Whirlwind European Christmas Extravaganza Tour with my best friend, she recommended we add Trier, Germany to the itinerary. I agreed but was nervous. I knew nothing about Trier and could find very little about it in my guide books.
Early on my first morning in Germany, I found myself standing in the square outside the Cathedral of Saint Peter in the heart of old Trier. Saint Peter Cathedral is the oldest cathedral in Germany, construction beginning in 326 AD. The cathedral is known for its impressive art collection and Festival of the Holy Robe (for they claim to have Jesus’ robe). The exterior of the cathedral is Romanesque, but the interior is totally Baroque, baby.
And it was inside the cathedral that I found something that fascinated me (Sorry Jesus, it wasn’t your robe. Though I loved the monogrammed pocket and silken lapels).
The ceiling of the west choir vault was unique and breathtaking. Painted a deep blue, the ceiling has bas-relief angels and saints and reminded me of a big piece of Wedgewood. The ceiling at the Cathedral of Saint Peter in Trier ended up being one of my favorite, unexpected pleasures of my Whirlwind European Christmas Extravaganza Tour and I would have never seen it if I hadn’t released my death grip on the itinerary and yielded a little control.