My favorite place on the planet...bar none.
I returned from my first solo trip last week...8 days in Italy: 4 in Florence (first time!) and 4 in Rome.
It was an amazing experience, not without its share of surprises.
I learned some things about myself, which is the unexpected bonus of traveling alone, I guess.
* I didn't expect the moments of loneliness, as I am used to spending my days off alone, following my own agenda. But I got through them, & learned to accept the feelings and not let them spoil my trip.
* I didn't expect the relief I would feel by honoring my decision NOT to wait in the ridiculously long line to go into the Duomo, simply because I didn't want to wait in the ridiculously long line!
I decided to eat some gelato instead.
The Duomo will be there when I return, and maybe the line will be a little shorter next time.
* I didn't expect how giddy I would feel when I rediscovered the hotel that I stayed in the first time I was in Rome. It was like coming home...even though I chose to stay someplace else on this trip, I was so happy to reconnect with the neighborhood that I recognized.
* I didn't expect how decadent a bowl of pasta could taste...but I sure learned that it could! The farfalle with carciofi (artichokes) and guanciale (pork cheeks) knocked me on my a**!!! It was THAT good!
Go to Ristorante Bruno alla Lungaretta next time you're in Trastevere!!! Say hi to Signore Bruno for me! :-)
* I didn't expect the sense of awe I would feel in Casa Buonarotti in Florence. I swear, Michelangelo was there in the room with me!
* I didn't expect to be so moved by seeing Artemisia Gentileschi's Judith painting, in person at the Uffizi. Speechless. She's pretty amazing. Google her.
* I didn't expect to find a fragrance that spoke to my soul...literally! But I did. At Aqua Flor in Florence. Thank you Kate, for taking the time to share your passion for the elegant fragrances that your husband creates in your beautiful atelier.
I LOVE Derwish, and have worn it EVERY day since I bought it. You were right...it DID speak to me!
I'm still processing all the details & memories of my trip. It's surreal...in some ways, I can't believe I'm back in Chicago, but in others, the trip feels like a dream.
I'm sure I will have more things to share in upcoming posts...so get ready!
Ci vediamo presto!