Day 7: The Alpini are Coming

Today started with a quick company visit to 10 Corso Como, a nearby shop with designer brands. After looking at a few price tags, I knew I should stop touching things. The store was littered with Gucci, Balenciaga, and a few other brands. It was also a trendy, avant-garde selection so definitely not my style. At this point of the trip, the constant walking is agonizing, so I used this as a good chance to sit and rest for a few minutes. The next part of the day was a tour through the fashion district of Milan. The streets were lined with high-end stores. Every storefront had an intimidating security guard. I made sure to avoid eye contact. The stores used interesting techniques to attract attention. Dior, for example, had a nude, metallic mannequin with flashing lights in the storefront window. The window did not show any products. Another store created a scene with monkeys stealing a hat from a mannequin. Some storefronts were more traditional. They often has lines of bright purses or trendy shoes.

For lunch, I had a calzone. It came with mushroom and ham. I was not expecting that, but it was still delicious. I also chugged a few bottles of water because water is basically impossible to find quickly in Milan. The meal also included an espresso shot at the end. I like coffee, but this one was incredibly bitter. It made me chug another bottle of water, which wasn’t a bad thing. After lunch, our group split, and I headed for the metro stop at the Duomo to get to my room to sleep. When we got to The Galleria, we noticed a large crowd of people congregating in the central area. Because of the National Alpini Assembly, the city has seen a large influx of Alpini, the civil protection branch of the military. It is the 100th anniversary of their founding, so there is a massive celebration in the city right now. The mall area was crowded because small bands were playing for the massive crowd, and they were getting ready to parade around the Duomo. We stayed and watched but really wanted to get back home to sleep. When we got to the metro stop, we noticed that it was closed because of the Alpini. We had to turn around and walk back through the crowds in the mall. We ended up walking all the way back to the hotel. The entire city is packed with the Alpini. They are easy to spot because they have faded green hats with a feather, and most have a beer in their hands.

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