My father just messaged me that he loved my blog post from yesterday so clearly the pressure is on for this third post to please my growing fan base.
The day started off with a nice croissant and three energy shots made from a mixture of orange and carrot juices (it’s good to know that the Italians are as serious about juicing as I am). Then our entire group started the day with a crash-course in talking Italian. Surprisingly, our teacher Hannah was actually born and raised in Pittsburgh, but moved to Milan around a year ago to teach English. She was able to give us a lot of great pointers on the proper pronunciation of certain letter combinations as well as on things that may surprise us about Italy. She told us that surprisingly you will never find “spaghetti and meatballs” or “Italian wedding soup” on a menu in Italy, apparently those were creations from Italian Americans after immigrating to the United States.
After that we were released to go off on our own to find lunch – the biggest and longest meal in Italian culture. A group of girls and I decided to eat at a restaurant on the main drag right near our hotel called De Michele where we got an antipasti of vegetables, fresh mozzarella, cured meat, and fried pizza knots (pictured above) as well as a traditional margherita pizza to split. Talking/communicating with waiters seems to be getting a lot more comfortable, but they still always know that we are American. Even as we walked up to the restaurant, the greeter said “hi” to us before we could even open our mouths, so I think we must easily stand out.
The majority of our day was a walking tour with a tour guide who knew all of the ins and outs of the city – leading us around the more modernized parts of Milan, to the classical Duomo cathedral at the end. I definitely loved getting the chance to take photos and see a ton more of the city, but my feet by the end were ready to take a break.
We decided to have aperitivo – when you pay for your drink and then with it you get free samplings of food for free. We went to a roof-top terrace, called Il Bar, that had an amazing atmosphere and view of the Duomo. The group of us stayed for multiple hours on end, being that we were having a great time… and the waiters must not have understood our broken Italian when asking for the check a few times.
All in all, today was a fun day to just explore the city and start getting acclimated to Italian culture. I am excited to go to bed and start a new day tomorrow. Buonanotte!