…with Florence.  I knew in my heart that I would return, so I began to truly relax and soak it in for the remainder of my first solo trip there.

I believe that we all know what it feels like to leave a place in life that you love, knowing that you will never be present in that place again. It may be a home, a favorite restaurant, a certain place among loved ones.  It is a very melancholy feeling.

Then there are other times that you never see a place or person again, but you do not know that you will not.  You are ignorant to the possibility of not having that moment, that place, the person again. When that occurs, we have regrets and memories and sadness, but we never have that feeling of melancholy that we have when we know and are aware that a “never again” moment is occurring.

I had that “never again” feeling at the beginning of my trip to Florence. Going there had been inspired, but I no longer had my career and my five weeks of paid vacation, so traveling to Europe the way I used to did not seem plausible. I probably would never be able to return to Florence.

But then my mind relaxed and absorbed as I wandered the streets of Florence, became mesmerized by the art in its’ museums, and found peace and comfort within its’ cathedrals.

One afternoon, when I was in my wandering state-of-mind, I indulged in a dish that I doubt one would ever find here in the states–pasta with white truffles. This was complete indulgence.  The pasta was served and then the waiter came to shave the white truffles onto the perfect al dente pasta. White truffles are extremely rare and (as of today) go for about $170 an ounce–yes that is correct–an ounce!

When I had partially completed this orgasmic dish, the waiter came to my table again and shaved more white truffle onto my pasta.  I wanted to kiss him!

Whitetruffle pasta

I knew that I would return.  The day that I departed was not going to be one of those “never again” moments. Come hell or high water, I was going to find my way back to this place which spoke to my soul.

I had so much yet to learn as to why I felt such a pull from this city. I would find answers to this question on my next trip to Florence a year later…