September 6, 2011
This post is 2 years overdue, but I wanted to create an anthology of my past travels before I started documenting my new ones.
Halfway through my taxi ride from Linate Airport to my new apartment I realized that I was in one of those expensive taxis. I almost didn’t care because I was just glad to be alive and unharmed. It was almost midnight and I was completely alone, and was scared as shit to be on this side of the globe for the first time. There was something about being in a new place that made me feel small and almost foolish, but I was excited anyway. I tried to make sense of what Milan–what Europe–looked like through the darkness, but pretty soon I was forking over 50 euros (for what should’ve been a 20-euro ride).
Lesson learned: just take a freaking normal taxi. They’re not that hard to spot.
I fell in love with Milan from that first, hectic night I arrived. I was told later that Milan wasn’t a city known for its beauty, but I thought it was stunning. I loved (and still love) all the small European details–from the intricate churches and statues scattered throughout the city to the cobblestone streets and whimsically colored apartment buildings. I loved how a modern, bustling city had grown around old historical elements. I loved the Duomo.
It was my first time in Europe, so everyone stared at me as I happily took pictures of ordinary stuff like doors, lamp posts, water fountains, trams, etc. I was the obnoxious and shameless tourist. Side note–I still have no idea how those fancy water fountains work. They stream water continuously, but they’re clean enough to drink. Aren’t they constantly wasting a lot of clean water? What the hell?!
One of the things I enjoyed the most was the food. The first dinner I had in Milan was aperitivo at this restaurant called Maya. Aperitivo in Italian literally means, “appetizer”, and in most parts of Italy is code for happy hour. In Milan, the 8-10 euro drink also comes with a buffet (best idea ever!). I found out that drinks are pretty strong in general in Italy–my Australian roommate Angela and I kept exchanging, “I feel fuzzy and happy” throughout the entire meal off one cosmopolitan each.
Cheers to a promising semester!