We finally made it to Italy and here starts our pilgrimage to the home land of Cosenza. Our first stop is Milan–the fashion capital of the world! But I don’t care about that…I’m here for history! Well, at least I had hoped.
Here’s my first and most important travel tip to anyone reading–you MUST make sure that your fellow travelers have similar goals and expectations as far as activities go or that you have at least one other person who is agreeable and able to split up and do things with you. In my case, neither of my companions wish to do much of anything related to history. I was told firmly “no museums” which, okay, I can do without–like whatever, who needs to see The Mona Lisa in Paris (wait, that city didn’t happen anyway) or The Statue of David in Florence? I’m being sarcastic, but this is a sacrifice I was willing to make. I was NOT, however, willing to give up experiencing the CITY which was exactly the battle that I faced this afternoon. When we found our hotel, it was across from the Malpense Aeroport and a shuttle and a 45 minute train ride away from Milan. No big, we’re still going right? “You can see Milan from the hotel” Er…what? My companions, I learned, were interested only in locating one of the 30 nearby outlet malls to shop from outside of Milan…you know, the one day only we had to experience the city before continuing on our round trip to meet family in Bologna. I was furious.
I want to SEE Milan, I pressed. And after some uncomfortable internet searches and pouting, I finally convinced them the shopping could be saved for Bologna and that we could head to the city where I promised to simply walk around and not do a damn thing (AGONY I TELL YOU!)
All in all, I think Milan did a fantastic job of proving my point–what a hot bed of culture! Milan felt like the New York of Italy but far more cleanly, safe, and full of history. There were street performers and vendors everywhere we walked–from wood cutters, flower makers, sand painters, ballerinas, and the most unique musicians and instruments I’ve ever seen. There was a cool dude with some French Bulldogs which are my dream puppies who I tried to snap a picture of. He starting yelling at me and gesturing like a camera and I thought he was offended that I tried taking a picture but he was actually telling me that it was okay and that I could come and pet them! I was too embarrassed to take a better picture because I was caught, but check out this chubby doo-doo–
Anyway, I was able to get my first taste of authentic Italian at a fun little cafe in the center of a bustling street which made for perfect people watching! Aside from learning there was a Disney Store somewhere and feeling guilty for not being able to visit and pick something up for my mother, the Italian waiter gave me quite a compliment on my spoken Italiano. Maybe he was humoring me, but I felt pretty authentic myself.