A Girls' Weekend

One of the nicest things about holiday weekends is the opportunity to spend time with friends. This weekend, my long-time girlfriend Allyson came to visit.

Allyson and I have known each other since college. Both of us majored in English, we had similar interests and we took a few courses together. Developing a friendship with her came naturally and easily. Not only is she loads of fun, but she is bright, insightful and sophisticated.

Shortly after graduation, she moved to London to be with Santo, then boyfriend, now husband. A couple of years ago, they relocated to Florence, where they lovingly restored a classic Tuscan villa into a beautiful family home for themselves and their two adorable daughters.

Although we are separated by divergent paths, active lives and nearly 3,000 miles, we have kept in touch and remained friends over the years. Whenever possible, one of us travels to the locale of the other for a fun-filled weekend of laughter, shopping and sightseeing. This weekend was no different.

Friday night, we celebrated her arrival with a glass of Champagne followed by dinner at a highly recommended neighborhood bistro. Our tête-à-tête lasted for hours. When we realized we were the only two people left in the restaurant, we walked to the Trocadero where we could enjoy a livelier atmosphere, an after-dinner drink and a view of the Eiffel Tour.

I am always amazed at how much we're able to accomplish in a short space of time. Saturday's activities included: breakfast at home, shopping in Passy, a leisurely lunch, an exposition at the Branly Museum, an afternoon nap, dinner out, and a night of dancing and socializing at a left-bank jazz club called Le Caveau de la Huchette. Our action-packed day lasted until the wee-hours of Sunday morning.

Nonetheless, Sunday was equally productive. Our day included: breakfast at home, the Marmottan Museum, a tour of the Parc du Ranelagh, a leisurely lunch in the neighborhood, then over to the right-bank to see the Carrousel du Louvre, tour Tuileries gardens, and a walk to the Champs-Elysées, where we caught the Metro home.

Despite all the walking, we perfectly planned our day according to Allyson's departure time. She jetted off to Florence with a smile on her face and many well wishes from me.

Allyson is a delightful and gracious guest. She brought her good company and a lovely hostess gift - an amazingly fragrant artisanal potpourri from the Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella. Founded in 1612, it is one of the oldest pharmacies in the world.

I always look forward to seeing her and, already, I can't wait for our next "girls' weekend" together.


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