Kristen, Student Blogger: Milan

I arrived in Milan Thursday morning to meet up with my friend, Britney, and her family. The train took me straight from Torino’s central station to Milan’s. It is amazing how the train has become so easy and fast to use, rather than driving and flying. It is not always the most comfortable or great-smelling, but definitely fast and convenient. I think I’m really going to consider more use of America’s public transportation, instead of my car, when I get back in the states.  Britney’s mom needed to order some train tickets so Britney and I headed back to the hotel. Unfortunately, we forgot the room key so we got to hang out in the hallway catching up with each other for a half hour. After getting ready we headed out for the city of Milan. We were staying a 7 minute walk from one of Milan’s most famous site to see, the Duomo. Well, we accidentally went the wrong way and walked the opposite way of the Duomo and into the middle of a castle within 2 minutes. We then walked into a huge park that ended with an arch leading into the rest of the city.

Also located in Milan is Da Vinci’s Last Supper. We headed towards there in hopes to get in. Too bad, we were informed that we should’ve bought tickets to see his art weeks in advance, Therefore, we only got to see the outside of the church. Finally, we made our way back to finding the Duomo afterward. The line to get in was very long so we decided we’d get tickets to see the inside and the top of it the next morning. There were many restaurants located on the top of roofs right next to the Duomo, so Britney’s mom snuck in and got us a table. We happened to hit aperitivo time, which gives you free appetizers when you buy a drink. It’s weird to see, but we noticed what looked like high schoolers drinking at the bar too. As the drinking age is only 18, it was actually probably okay to do.

Afterwards, we got ready to head down to the river at night, which is what the landlord suggested we do. It was one of the coolest, younger scenes I’ve seen in Italy. There were huge crowds just gathered around the river. Given that it was the middle of the Euro Cup, a huge screen projection was set up for the crowds to watch the game. In the water, skiers were going by too. We found a nice little restaurant on a corner to eat and split meals. We were there pretty late and one of the last people in the restaurant, as Britney insisted on learning some Italian from the waiter. Britney knows quite a bit of Spanish so she actually wasn’t too bad at picking up most of the words.

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The next day we headed to the Duomo with both of her parents where we were able to go on the roof. From the roof we could look over the whole city, which seemed never ending. We decided later we’d come back and go on the inside since the line was so long. We then walked through Milan’s famous fashion streets. On these streets there were highly known brands like Prada, Gucci, Chanel, Tiffany & Co., and Dolce & Gabbana.

Our next adventure consisted of trying to find Da Vinci’s famous horse. Britney had covered the creation of the horse in class so her kids had insisted that she find it. The horse was on the other side of the city, so a metro was definitely necessary for the trip. Once out walking towards it, we found ourselves walking around a huge horse racing track. We had been walking for about 25 minutes before we realized we had taken the wrong way around the track. Americans really takes for granted their gigabytes of data when not having the ability to have the maps app open looking for directions constantly. Well by the point we got to, it didn’t seem worth it to turn around so we kept going around the outside wall of the track to the other side. Britney’s mom is a really big fan of horses, so when we got to the other side and realized there was an actual horse race going on, it was necessary to stop. It was only a 1€ entry fee and another race was about to begin in 20 minutes. Perfect timing! What an experience to just stop in on a horse race in Milan and cheer on some horses. Da Vinci’s horse was right next to the stadium when the race was done. He had started the project for the Duke of Milan but during times of war and studying of horses, Leonardo Da Vinci did not finish the project. Through the help of a group of people dedicated to the expertise that Da Vinci had, they were brought together to finish the horse. This information all came from our little tour guide, Britney!

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After the horse races, we headed back to the Duomo one last time for a look inside. The line was much less. It was weird, a church service was actually going on when we went in.  So, a service was going on in the front and people were also in the confession rooms on the side. We then went back to cleaned up and got ready for a last dinner in Milan. We headed for the street, Via Brera, where it was filled with a bunch of Italian restaurants. How someone picks the perfect restaurant, when there are tons of waiters in the street begging you to look at their menu, offering somewhat similar food, with a slightly different variety and half of it not in English, I will never know. We picked a great one though! The more you order the more free things that come along with it. So we got tons of classic Italian foods, with wines, pastas, bruschetta, zucchini, and bread. Definitely, was one of the most classic Italian meals that I’ve had in Italy.

It was so nice to just be able to relax for weekend and catch up with a friend. She will be a friend that I can share the memory with for a long time as we both will be together and have jobs in Chicago starting in September!

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