Today we finally arrived in Italy! I am beyond excited for the upcoming two weeks and ready to learn about supply chain management as well as Italian culture. When we first got off of our eight hour plane ride, I noticed was that most signs in the airport were written in both the Italian and English language. I am assuming this is because English is a prevalent language throughout Italy and the entire continent as well. After receiving our luggage from baggage claim, we were greeted by Diego and Luca, the ISA staff advisors for our Plus3 trip. We then loaded our bags onto a coach bus, and headed for our hotel in Milan, which was around a forty five minute drive.
Immediately after departure, I noticed that there was minimal advertisements throughout the city, which made things rather plain and not stick out as much compared to the United States. For example, when driving on the highway, I saw very little billboards for companies, services, and products. The highway was surrounded by grasses, weeds, and trees, and looked to me as it was slightly overgrown, more so than a highway in the United States. I also observed that many building structures were unique in shape and build. It may be because I am new to this country and Italy has different engineering techniques than in the United States, but I believe it is because a lot of buildings and even houses back home are massed produced as a consumption good. In America, we focus more on producing things in bulk to reduce cost and production time, but here I feel as if there is a higher focus on looks and structure rather than simply making money. For instance, I spotted what looked to be an apartment complex with a large area extending off of the balcony for each apartment where flowers and different plants were grown. This gave each apartment its own look and truly made the building stand out as the plants were overhanging the area, giving one side of the building a green leafy look. Although many buildings were unique in style such as the apartment complex building, the structures in Italy looked slightly older and some even outdated when compared to many of the the United States’ modern looking buildings.
When the group arrived at the hotel, we quickly checked in and directly headed for lunch, as it is only served in a certain time span here in Italy. As I mentioned earlier, the signs and advertisements were minimal, and because of the small logo above the door to enter the restaurant, I almost passed it up. As we sat down, I saw that there were already appetizers on the table which was strange to me because in the United States very rarely do restaurants have anything more than bread and butter waiting for you. The appetizer consisted of nine baked bread bites with either an olive puree mixture, caramelized onions, or a diced tomato topping. We were then given the choice to either order water “with gas” (sparkling water) or “without gas” (regular water). Between each course, new silverware, napkins, and plates were given to us. Next came our entree, or what we thought to be our entree. It was a classic Italian dish of al dente rigatoni served with a red meat sauce. After eating our meal, my fellow Italy Plus3 friends were ready to leave as we are used to the normal, small appetizer/entree lunch in the United States. However, we then saw our waiter again replace our used silverware, napkins, and plates with fresh ones. The waiter then came out with five to six large plates filled with ribs, steak, and sausages. Even though we were full because we are not used to eating such a large amount of food for lunch, we forced ourselves to keep eating because of how tasty everything was. Although we failed to eat every dish of meat, we now know to come to lunch on an empty stomach. The final course was the choice of either a shot of espresso, or a cappuccino. Almost everyone ordered because of how tired we were from the long day of traveling. Finally, after about an hour and a half, which is much longer than any lunch eaten in the United States, we were done. Thankfully, we only had a short walk and a safety course left for the day, because everyone was extremely tired from traveling. After this restful night of sleep, I’ll be ready for another adventure tomorrow!