Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Foreign and Irresistible


Michaelangelo's David is quite a man! Thank goodness he's in a museum. There are enough hunks out there to add spice to travel. My friend Vero fell for the tour guide she met on a Nile cruise. The best part is that he liked her too. But there's more. He is at least 15 years younger! Sweeeeet!

My favorite romantic writer, Marlena de Blasi, met her husband while traveling in Venice. I love her story about their first meeting (he called her from a phone in the restaurant where she and her friends were eating), his trip to the U.S. to see her, how she gave up her successful career and moved to Venice, Italy and spent "A Thousand Days in Venice" followed by "A Thousand Days in Tuscany".

A solo woman traveler I met on a bus tour of Europe several years back was having an affair with the bus driver. She couldn't understand why he chose her among the other ladies in our tour group. But she was glad he did. She was having the best time discovering Europe with a European. How local can you get?

Recently a friend of a friend called me to apologize for not getting in touch with me while visiting in San Francisco. But she had a great excuse. She met a man in the short week she was in the City. They spent that time on his boat. She will be back soon to join him in Hawaii where he lives part of the time.

I have no such luck. While cruising in Southwestern Alaska, I had to run and hide from a widower who was drinking heavily. Ugh. Guess who found a seat right next to me on our way back to the airport?

As a young college student traveling alone, I did have a really flattering experience being followed by three young Italians while walking around Rome. Then in Michaelangelo's old turf, a cute Florentine invited me for gelato. But that was once upon a time.

Putting things in perspective, solo women travelers often have to fend off unwanted and sometimes threatening advances. We can never really let our guard down. But at the same time, we can't let this spoil our trip. We have a balancing act to master.

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