Milan

IMG_2212The second part of my Spring break travels took me to Milan. For the first part of my break, scroll down of the post right below this one. I have a friend named Becky who lives in Milan–I met at a a summer camp a few years ago, and she’s in the picture right below this one. She and her family were kind enough to host me and give me an excellent whirlwind tour of Milan in just under 24 hours! When I arrived on Wednesday evening, Becky picked me up from the train station and took me to the city center, pictured below. I was not expecting so much awesomeness when I emerged from underground. I wasn’t even in Milan for 10 minutes before she ushered me to Grom, where I had my first taste of true Italian gelato. SO GOOD.

She pointed out some of the highlights of the central city and then we made our way to her colorful and spectacular apartment, where a true feast awaited me. If I ever thought I had eaten well before…I was wrong. I know I am not going to remember any of the real names of these foods, but to the best of my abilities, our first course was fresh mozzarella, pepperoni, stuffed tomatos, and prosciutto. Our second course was some sort of amazing pasta. And then, in the most miraculous of mistakes, both of her parents accidentally bought dessert. It worked out fine, because we ate the extra pastries for breakfast the next morning 🙂 I have eaten all of these foods in the US—especially at big family dinners (probably the only reason I recognized half of the pastries)—but there was something special about eating the food in its native nation.

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We made sure to get an early start the next morning, and we headed right for the Duomo (the cathedral above), which is one of the largest cathedrals in the world. I wasn’t expecting to end up on the roof of the Duomo, but that is exactly what happened next! For more cool pics of this, the full album is here: https://plus.google.com/photos/103371901950956707016/albums/5850540166192492977?authkey=CNO5mqbDxceqmgE
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We continued exploring, and Rebecca showed me SO MUCH. Her mom was kind enough to get us tickets to see Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper, which was incredible. It is on the wall in an an old convent, and they have super high-tech air-controlled rooms to preserve the painting. Leonardo painted it in a new dry style, but he did it on a wall that was shared with the (hot and humid) kitchen, so it has required a lot of restoration. The painting was so much bigger and more impressive than I expected. We then continued our tour through Milan, heading to some of the main shopping areas and, of course, the fashion district! (Where I was too intimidated to take any pictures. Or, you know, like, breathe.) IMG_2280

Becky continued to feed me throughout the day. For lunch we ate panzerotti, which she described as a pizza folded in half. But it tasted 10X classier and fresher than pizza. You can see that the line was loooong because this place is so popular.

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It was only natural to follow up with some chocolatey-hazelnutty gelato. The cones were filled with melted chocolate that froze just a bit against the cold gelato. And note that Becky’s has Nutella on top. Perfection on a cone!

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We then walked to the artist’s district, Brera, and got some sort of a hot cream with granola and spoons dipped in chocolate. Obviously delicious.

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By 5 pm it was time for me to head back to London. I was sad to leave Milan so soon–there is so much to see in the city, and it was so nice to reunite with Rebecca!

But once I was on the plane, I was excited to get back to London. Every time I leave and come back, I realize all over again how incredible it is that I am living here. I wasn’t expecting to feel so joyful upon arriving at Heathrow (first person ever to be excited to talk to the people at customs?), but I was smiling and so happy as I made my way to the Tube.

Bonus joy: I was not too thrilled about having to stop at the Tesco Express on my way back, and even less thrilled when I came up 29 pence short at the self-checkout. But some nice and awesome person noticed me doing the classic pocket pat-down/semi-frantic mannerisms/etc thing and gave me some change! I just thought that was great. What a nice welcome back to the city 🙂

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