Truth be told, today started out a little rough for myself. On the flight over from Newark to Milan, despite trying exceedingly hard, I managed to get no sleep whatsoever. This sleep deprivation combined with the the extensive wait time to go through customs, ugly weather upon arrival, and the fact I forgot my debit card pin number, certainly made Day 1 a bit of a difficulty. Nonetheless, my spirits are still high as I am hopeful that the most difficult part of the trip is behind me and I have very much enjoyed what I have seen from Italy so far.
One thing I enjoyed especially was that during our bus ride from the airport to the hotel I could see the Swiss Alps on the horizon. Over the years I have seen/heard much about this famous mountain range and its beauty has always attracted me. Despite being rather far away, it was cool to finally see the enormous snow peaked mountains for the first time. Another thing that stuck out to me on the bus ride was the unique architecture of Italy. While many of the business buildings I saw stood out as distinctly modern, with odd shapes and colors, others look highly traditional. The fact that these buildings contrast, but still somehow fit together in the grand scheme of the city caught my eye. I think it is really interesting how Italy’s architecture seems to convey both a sense of cultural heritage, and modern innovation.
But enough about the architecture, lets get to what really matters in Italy, the food. Our welcome lunch was absolutely delicious. I had probably the best pickle I have ever tasted and I ate more types of bread than I thought were possible to create. The main dish, the lasagna was super yummy and filling, and the sorbet was so sweet and the perfect way to end the meal. Yet more than solely just food, this lunch allowed me my first chance to really get a glimpse at Italian culture by observing the actions of the patrons around me. Firstly, they were all dressed super nice, making me feel very much under dressed wearing my simple hoodie and baggy shorts that I had worn to go on the plane. Their interactions also seemed to be different as well from what I am used to seeing, as they seemed to relish in the conversation and time it takes for a meal to be prepared and eaten and not just scarf it down ASAP like us Americans tend to do. Their greetings to one another also stood out to me, but perhaps the thing I picked up the most on (as well as found the most entertaining) is how every single time a group first saw our large party, within seconds they would mutter something to their companions about Americans. Do we really stick out that much? I guess time will tell…
Overall, a few setbacks were certainly not enough to distract from a great first day here in Milan, and I am super excited for more to come!