Love affair with everywhere: Milano!

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Flag of Italy  , Lombardy,
Saturday, April 27, 2013

I cannot express in words what I feel when I am in this city.

I studied here in 2006 with 27 classmates, went back for a mini reunion with some of those former classmates in 2008, but hadn't been back since. Milan was the second of a three discipline, three city/country course. It was the city we had the most fun in, the city where deep, true friendships that would last well past the program were established, and for some, it was the city and time that changed their lives, literally. One of my dearest friends met his now wife while we were studying there!

I have many good, no, great memories in this city. Milan isn't a top destination for tourists visiting Italy like Rome, Florence, the Amalfi Coast, etc., there really isn't much to see, but when you live there for a few months, you can fall in love with it. And like most places, when you come back, even years later, and life and the world around you has changed, it's like time stopped and you are right back where you were.

I wasn't there for long, just a day and a half, but it was just long enough to get it all in, and I had the fabulous company of two of my best friends from class, E and A, who came from Switzerland and Florence respectively, to meet me. I say this often, I love the travel and have been living my dream, but without the people I have met, who I am blessed to call friends, the travel would be just a series of destinations and marks on a map.

Some places in the city had changed, but for the most part it was the same. Arrived Friday evening, stopped by the hotel (near Centrale), dropped bags and head off to dinner. Of course, PIZZA, was the mission! As soon as I walked down into metro station at Centrale it came back, all of it. The names of the stops, the newstands/vendors in the station, the graffiti on the trains, the violinist playing in the carriage hoping for a few euro, all of it. We stopped at Porta Genova (one stop short of Famagosta, the stop for those of us who lived in Via Zumbini), coming out of the station, it was the exact same, the same club on the right, the same gelateria on the corner, the kebab place, on past where some other friends who lived off Porto Genova had an apartment and on to the pizzeria, where of course I ordered whatever came with mozzarella di bufala (so obsessed and so yummy) and peperoncino (chili flakes and one of the first words I learned in Italian, much to the dismay of the chefs, I'm sure).

After dinner, wandered past Navigli and on to one of the old favorites, where we spent many a night in 2006, Yguana!

Saturday was much of the same. Unfortunately it rained the whole day. Started the morning near Duomo. It was Milano, and our other friend wasn't meeting us until noon, so we went shopping! It really is just better here (than in most other European cities (Barcelona not included)). Around 1pm, we headed over to "the horse's ass" which used to be the "meeting place" whenever anyone was meeting around Duomo. Took the chance here to finally enjoy the Duomo WITHOUT scaffolding (at least on the front). Spent the rest of the afternoon catching up with E and A over, you guessed it, pizza (well, for me, the other two ate pasta)!

In the evening, an aperitivi in Navigli and finally, close to closing, made it to my beloved Riva Reno gelateria. To say I am obsessed would be a massive understatement. This place is not near any of the main streets or 'touristy' areas, but it was on the way to/from school and back in 2006, another friend, H, and I stumbled upon it one day. It is still, by far, the best gelato I have ever had (I am pretty sure a lot of the reason I wanted to come back to Milan). Had my 'usual' San Luca and Bacia. (now my mouth is watering again and I am craving it!)

This is my last overseas trip, at least for business, for now. I am so excited to be going home for the summer (hopefully longer). The love affair will continue there with weddings, graduations, time with family and friends, music festivals, 'routine' life. I am ready for what comes next. I will never stop traveling (for fun, not work), nor do I regret having spent more time abroad than at home the last few years, but it is time. I knew the time would come, and I knew that when it did, that I would avoid it out of fear and uncertainty initially, but eventually realize that it is right and embrace it. When you know, you know, and when you know, and you are certain it is right, it is hard to change the course. My course, for now, is headed home.

Thanks, as always, for reading.

love affair with everywhere is now on facebook and instagram. would love for you to 'like' and share your own travel journey at and instagram at @loveaffairwitheverywhere

happy travels!

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