Although Saturday morning, May 6, seems like days ago when it was only yesterday, I feel that I have already begun to learn so much! The very first things I have learned from international traveling are that it can be long due to delays and exhausting from hours of flying and waiting but it is also very exciting. Tracking our progress on the overnight flight to Milan only grew my excitement to arrive in Italy and now that we are finally here I am ready to embrace both the culture and all the businesses to fully understand the details of supply chain management.
Upon arrival in Italy, there were both noticeable physical and cultural differences. Walking out of the airport, we were welcomed by the Alps to the north of the country. It was fascinating to see the magnitude of these mountains from one of the numerous countries it extends through. The snow topped peaks reminded me of the easy connection between so many European countries and thus cultures, something that we do not experience in America. Boarding the bus to Milan, we drove on the Italian highways which were in amazing condition compared to the infracture of the United States. The highways were smooth, without potholes or construction! The physical characteristics of Italy represents a diverse environment from which I can learn so much by simply opening my eyes. I am grateful for the opportunity to do this in such a beautiful country.
Once in the city of Milan, the cultural differences began to appear. A major difference is a slower pace of life. This is refreshing to experience because we always seem to be on the run, looking for something else to do, when sometimes it’s better to just take it all in one second at a time. After dropping our things at the hotel, we were able to enjoy our surroundings by walking to our lunch destination.
This is a picture of one of the many apartment buildings in Milan. They are all different colors, producing a unique, yet beautiful style. Many of the balconies are decorated with various plants and other greenery. This makes each of the streets, such as the one above, so different, but together they make one complete picture, just as each of the unique regions of Italy produces one rich culture. The street roads are narrow, charming, and full of Italian cars, bikes, and Vespas. While walking the streets, it is easy to notice the Italians keen sense of style. They take pride in looking their best, so they always are dressing with the latest trends.
The lunch that followed our first Milan outing was a magnificent surprise. While it was no surprise that the food was incredible, some of the food served was.
Bruschetta was already placed on our tables. The one pictured above is a classic Italian bruschetta, but also served were olive and onion bruschettas. It was interesting to see, with only a appetizer, that there is so much more than I know to the Italian food culture. Pasta in Italy is also much better than in the United States. The pasta was perfectly cooked and the sauce reminded me more of a vinegarette, which I greatly enjoyed. Bread and pasta to me were typical Italian dishes, but the next dish was a large plate of all different cuts of meat. Chicken, ribs, sausage, and slices of steak formed a mountain on the plate. We finished our meal with a classic cappuccino. The meal was enjoyed slowly and it made the food that much better. I am looking forward to continuing to learn about as much of Italy’s food history as possible by trying new flavors that I do not commonly associate with Italy.
My first impressions of Milan and Italy as a whole have been very pleasant and exciting thus far. To me, the city is a relaxing combination of modern and historic styles. It infuses modern influences with the Italian people’s great style and its maintained infrastructure. The historic side of Italy is rooted in its rich food culture and building architecture.
With today being the first full day in Italy, being tired from traveling and still having a great day I am excited to see what the next two weeks have in store!