Saturday morning, Brooke and I woke up early, got our included breakfast and then went to the train station to buy a ticket to Milan. We ran into my friend Nelson from IUSTV again (who we saw at the Budapest airport) at the train station which was funny. Him and his friends were going to Sienna and then Florence. We got our tickets, and we got on an 8:50AM train to Milan. We were sitting in our seats, and I ran into two other friends from school, Matt Lederman and Jon Khalili. I’m just running into people all around Europe, it’s nuts! They are studying in Barcelona and were also going to Milan.
So the train ride was about two and half hours. My parents’ friend Alberto Baccari kindly offered to meet Brooke and I at the train station and bring us to our hotel which is right by his apartment in Milano. He showed us some sights on the way, and then took us to our hotel. We checked in, and then met Alberto again and hopped on a tram to go to the city center. He showed us a place to get these really yummy things called panzerotti at this little place called Luini. They were delicious. They were like calzones, but they had a billion different flavors. Of course, it was POURING rain all day in Milan, which was kind of miserable. So we took the panzerotti to Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, an indoor-ish shopping center. There were a bunch of stores here, including the first Prada store in the world. So cool.
So then Alberto left us and we explored MIlan a little by ourselves. We went to the duomo first. It was HUGE. I couldn’t believe how tall it was inside. The pillars were so wide and so tall. After spending a decent time inside the duomo, we walked on the main drag with tons of stores to the main high end stores street called Montenapoleane. Seriously, it was down pouring the entire time, so it was kind of a buzz kill. Walking around wasn’t that good when there was weather like this, plus we can’t afford any of this stuff anyway….
So we turned back around, walked back to the duomo area where we caught a tram back to our hotel. The rain really did us in. So that night we met up with Alberto again and he took us to a great restaurant called Ristorante Rigolo. So delicious. Brooke and I split the veal cutlet and ossobucco. After dinner, Alberto drove us by the building where the Last Supper is. It was of course closed at night, but apparently it’s impossible to get to see it. You have to make reservations months in advance. So that wasn’t happening. We got dropped off and went back to our hotel for the night.
The next morning, Alberto and his son Otto were driving to Rome and offered to drop me off in Florence and drive through the coast of Italy on the way. I took up on the offer, and the plan was to leave at 7:00AM, but since it was inconveniently day light savings, our timing was off and we ended up leaving Milan at around 8:10. The drive was great. We drove past the Po River, which flows from the Alps into Venice and we passed through Genova, the town where Christopher Columbus is from. Focaccia was invented on the coast of Italy, so on our drive through Recco and Camogli, we stopped at delicious bakeries to try some authentic focaccia. Recco has a lot of olive trees and Camogli is a little fishing village. Our next two stops were Santa Margherita and Portofino. In Santa Margherita, we met up with Alberto’s friend and grabbed a coffee. Santa Margherita is a boating town. There are tons of big beautiful boats/yachts and lots of cute houses. Portofino is kind of the same, but has lots of beautiful villas belonging to very rich people like Dolce and Gabana and Burlusconi. The Italian coast was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen in my life and I have to go back one day. Hopefully I can own a villa here one day….(dreaming big time).
We drove straight to Florence after the coast. We passed the marble mountains where Michelangelo would go to pick out the marble he wanted for his sculptures. It’s tough to imagine how they used to transport the huge slabs of marble back then, and even now! The mountains were completely covered in white marble, it looked like they were snow covered mountains. We drove past Cinqueterre, and finally got to Florence. I am so glad that Alberto took me along the coast, because I would have never seen it if he hadn’t shown me, and we got so lucky with the weather. It was absolutely beautiful weather and blue skies.
And that was the end of spring break! It was a solid week of traveling, and I don’t regret any of the destinations we went to. It’s too bad the weather wasn’t nicer, but it’s alright because I got to see such cool places!