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a wonderful surprise!

I found a great travel discussion board, when planning my first trip to Europe back in 1999. On this board, I was very fortunate to meet Francesco. I was looking for information on Florence and he was interested in learning more English. We began to write back and forth and after a few months of corresponding, we decided to meet for dinner during my stay in Florence that summer. I remember my mom being nervous about me meeting a strange man that I had met over the internet. I assured her that after many months of corresponding and the fact that he was bringing his girlfriend, Irene with him, everything would be fine.

Everything did turn out fine. In fact this chance meeting on a discussion board turned into a wonderful friendship. We have kept in touch over the years and have continued to meet whenever it worked out. Both Francesco and Irene (who married in 2001 and now have two children, Sara and Gabriele) as well as both of their families have welcomed me whenever I have come for a visit.

Somehow, we lost contact last summer. The other night, while finding anything possible to do besides concentrate on trip organization and packing, I decided to try once more to contact them using every email I had for them…and it worked!!

My wonderful surprise is that we will be able to meet once again. I was already planning a possible daytrip to Florence after not having been there since 2001. Yes, I know, a daytrip is not long enough, but a walk around the beautiful city of Florence is always worth a visit. The train travel time is short and since all my photos of Florence are pre-digital, I thought it would be fun to spend some time there once more.

So, instead of lunch in Florence, I will hop on another train and have lunch in Empoli with my wonderful friends. I will also meet Gabriele for the first time. I am so excited and just know it will be a day I will treasure always.

Comments (8)

That is so cool that you are able to connect back up with your friend. I'm always amazed when I meet up with a long time friend at how easy it is to pick up right where we left off.

Have a wonderful time in Italy. I hope you plan to blog along the way so we can 'travel' with you.

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Girasoli, that is a wonderful surprise! I think it's great that you have maintained your friendship with Francesco for so long and I think it's also cool that you'll get to visit Florence.

4 days and 23 hours to go . . . are you done packing yet? :)

Jill:

Hurray for your wonderful surprise! Good thing you're procrastinating and didn't have plans. :-D

Francesco & Irene have been one of the special parts of most of my trips. I am very excited to see them again. Procrastination sometimes does have benefits.

I do plan to blog when I can but probably won't post photos til I return.

sandrac:

Girasoli, that's fantastic! It can be so great to see old friends again -- and I remember you mentioning Francesco in earlier posts or a trip report (as well as your mother's concerns about meeting a strange man from the Internet -- my Mom would have said exactly the same thing!)

It sounds like a wonderful day. I really enjoy traveling solo, but it's also so much fun to meet people, either new friends or reconnecting with old friends, along the way.

Have a wonderful time. I hope you'll still get to stop in Florence to update your photos!

Brenda:

Wishing you the best trip ever!
Ciao ciao, bella,
Brenda

Menehune:

G: Serendipity - love the word, LOVE the concept. Great story - don't you just love it when something like this happens? Chuckled when I read your baseball blog entry - you ARE a serious baseball fan(atic)! Hope you were able to catch a bit of the Celtics win -- it is fabulous being a fan in Boston these days -- even from afar you can enjoy it....PS: I was in Santa Marguarita for only a few hours last October and knew then I would visit that place again - enjoy it for me too! M

Yes, it has definitely been a great couple of years to be a Boston sports fan. It was exciting to see the Celtics win (although for me, nothing like seeing the Red Sox win).

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