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Report 884: Single and Solo in Italy: One Woman's Tale of Love, Latte and The Pursuit of Happiness...

By teachick from Los Angeles, CA, Winter 2005

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Page 2 of 6: The Perfect Latte is the Key to Happiness...

It is my second day and I have stumbled into what will become my daily cafť, and the center of my universe in Florence, CAFFELATTE. I immediately fall in love with this place; it is basic, has an organic feel, and is clearly where the locals and the university people go. I have heard that they serve the very best caffe latte in the city. Iím all over it. I order with feverish anticipation and am in complete and utter awe when a small swimming pool arrives at my table. The cup is so big I wrap my cold little fingers around it and am happily warmed to the bone. It is a bowl of happiness for me. There is nothing else in the world at that moment but me, that latte, and my desire for it, period.

As I sit and enjoy my new love (this and my soon to be love Amaro Montenegro will become my lover replacements on this trip) I get to know the staff a bit and by the next day I feel at home here. This is the key to traveling alone as a woman I think: be open to people, to things, to ideas and to the unexpected and you will travel well and with great pleasure.

Two days later I find out that my room is no longer available at the Campanile as I had only booked the two nights for myself so I decide to head to Venice as I have never been there. I agree to come back though in a few days time as I have quickly become very attached to this lovely little city and to this charming B&B.

I walk to the train station and two young men offer to help me buy my Eurostar ticket to Venice as I donít completely understand what the machine is asking me to do, am gesticulating wildly at it as I am frustrated that I canít seem to master this simple task, and I am holding up the line. I give in and let them help me.

I take my seat on the train and a lovely Italian girl takes the seat next to me. Her name is Federica and we spend the next three hours becoming fast friends and spilling our guts to one another about love and life and sex and everything in between. She is newly in love and living with her boyfriend. She is 23 and very mature for her age. I tell her my story about my Bologna boy and how I am sad that we seem to have parted ways. She had a lover of the same name and we quickly decide all men by that name must be banished from earth. We laugh a lot. As we pull into Bologna the train stops for a few moments to let people on and off. She can see Iím feeling a tinge of sadness that my boy is there and I am here in his City and our paths will not meet. She reaches out and touches my shoulder. That one simple gesture summarizes to me what I have found to be true of most of the Italian women I have come to befriend on my trips: they are loving and beautiful people. Their kindness of spirit is breathtaking to me. Now, close to a year after this trip, Federica and I have become the very best of friends. I am invited to stay with her and her love anytime when in Trento.

Federica leaves me one stop before I arrive in Venice. As soon as she leaves me I miss her. I have disconnected from my Italian man but have connected to an amazing Italian woman. She will not be the only one on this trip.

I walk from the train station to my hotel near Piazza San Marco, the HOTEL ASTORIA. Leo found it for me online from his bed and breakfast and I am pleased with the deal I have gotten. I have a decent sized single with my own bathroom, and it includes a nice sized breakfast in the morning. And I really am mere steps from Piazza San Marco! I take the day to wander aimlessly and to take in the city without any structure or plan.

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