(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!