Wednesday, October 28, 2015
I just spent the most wonderful few days in Italy. I traveled there to see two Brasilian friends from CISV – Galli and Felipe. We all met at Summer Camp together over 8 years ago. Felipe’s parents now live in Milan. Since Galli went to go visit them, I decided to meet up with them as well!
I arrived there late Friday night. After a slight fiasco trying to get together in the airport (Milan Malpensa is incredibly awfully planned) we made it home to have some cake (well I ate cake they had real food) before resting up for a full day of Adventure!
Saturday morning we awake, showered, breakfasted, and then headed into the bustling city. We went down a bustling and popular street lined with shops that leads up to the Duomo, a giant cathedral with a huge plaza in front. We bought tickets to enter the Duomo, but by the time we had done that, checked out the Galleria, and entered a bunch of random shops, we decided to go back to the Duomo after lunch. Lunch at home with Felipe’s parents was wonderful! Of course was it not only delicious, but there’s a feeling of home for me having lunch with a Brasilian family. Afterwards, we headed back out to climb the Duomo.
The Duomo was definitely the most magnificent building I have ever set foot in. With pillars wider than Redwoods and ceilings higher than the neck could crane, being inside of it was just the beginning. After taking in the statues and stained glass, we climbed countless stairs to stand on the roof of it. The view over the city was incredible. Plus I just like heights and climbing things so that was fun. After descending the Duomo, we sped-walked across the city to another church to see Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper. Yup, the real thing. It’s not in the best of shape, but it was still incredible to look at. On the walk home we got gelato, the first of four cones for me during my stay in Italy.
After a quick coffee at home using the wonderful Bialetti contraption, we headed out for “Aperitivo” along the canal. Aperitivo is this wonderful thing where you either buy a drink or play a flat rate of 5-10 euro and get unlimited appetizers for a certain amount of time. After traipsing up and down the canal we settled on a bar called Bond (shout out to you Daniel Craig I can’t wait for the movie) and enjoyed our drinks and appetizers. After that ended, we headed back towards the Duomo because the MTV European Music Awards were happening. We caught the end of Ellie Goulding and Duran Duran before walking around the fashion district.
Sunday morning after breakfast we drove to Lake Como with Felipe’s parents. The Lake is shaped like an upside down “U” and we went right to the middle of it to have lunch in a town called Bellagio. Needless to say, with the cobblestone streets, trees at different stages of fall, earth-colored buildings, and a lake with the Alps in the backdrop, it was breathtaking. After walking around, eating, then walking around some more, we headed back towards Milan. The roads were terrifying (at least in my opinion) but Felipe’s dad did a fantastic drop maneuvering the sedan around the mountain. I kept thinking of James Bond and car chases as motorcycles appeared out of nowhere on the narrow, winding road.
Anyways, we made it back safely, and then Galli and Felipe and I headed to Milan’s version of Central Park. After walking around the castle and then sitting outside of the “Arc de Triomphe” we went to the top of a really tall tower. We saw the Duomo and the distance and probably other cool things I didn’t recognize. Of course, we then headed back to the Duomo. We ended up meeting for pizza with someone else from our Summer Camp. Katty, from Peru, saw the Facebook pictures of us in Milan and messaged Galli saying she lived there too! Even though we weren’t great friends at camp, it was still lovely to see her and reminisce about our time together. Oh and my pesto and tomato pizza ROCKED. The MTV EMA’s were still happening so we caught the end of an Afrojack concert which was awesome! Oh and I had a gelato with a chocolate filled cone and nutella on top.
Monday morning we caught the train to Bologna to see one of Galli’s friends from CISV, Pimpa. Pimpa has been going to school there (it’s the second oldest university in the world) for 3 years now so he knows the city pretty well. He took us to this little restaurant where we had the best pasta and wine for lunch before exploring the city. Then we went to the top of yet another tower. It was quite steep and narrow but a super fun climb. We also saw some of Bologna’s “secrets,” had more delicious gelato, walked through their “Central Park,” and had some more aperitivo. I didn’t have bologna, but I did have some damn good parmesan cheese. We took the train back to Milan at night then went to sleep early because I had to leave in the morning.
Overall, my trip to Italy was quite the success! I had pasta, pizza, gnocchi, parmesan, and plenty of gelato and red wine. I went into buildings older than the USA and Brasil combined and saw incredible works of art. But most importantly, I got to spend it with Galli and Felipe. They are absolutely hilarious and also genuinely nice guys and I couldn’t be more grateful to spend time with the two of them again. Shout out to those two geniuses and I can’t wait to see what country we’ll meet up in next!
P.S. - If you're wondering why this post is titled "Paris," it's because we posted a picture of us at Milan's Arc de Triomphe saying we were in Paris. Even Parisian CISVers thought we were there.... :P
Hanging out on the train (Felipe is on the left, Galli on the right)
Top of the Duomo
The Duomo from the inside!
Fashion street being fashionable
The "Arc de Triomphe"
Outside of the "Last Supper"
Bologna from the top
Duomo at night