I love Italy. After possibly France and Japan, Italy would be my favourite country. The food is gorgeous, the people unusually warm and the culture is beautiful. I have already visited Venice earlier, and this time around we’ll be hitting Milan, Florence and Pisa before traveling by train around the coast to Nice. Really around this point, traveling is beginning to take a toll. After Budapest, the weather has gotten cold again, reaching freezing temperatures in Florence for some bizarre reason, hotels are more expensive, bags are heavy and our propensity for understanding language has gone to non-existent.
In Milan especially I made the horrible mistake of checking us into what is now termed the ‘pimp hotel’. Notwithstanding the terrible directions and wandering around lost for a couple of hours in the middle of the night, we had high hopes for a hotel with ‘grand’ in its name. When we arrived however….we were met with the duty manager wearing a pimping gold chain around his neck and a heavy slurry voice in an attempt to charm. The bedroom was small, the bed was definitely not twin beds, with several discernible stains and there were no hot water in the shower. While we were checking in, several highly suspicious elderly men passed by to pick up keys and go up. My paranoid radar was bouncing through the roof. The next morning, we found a bullet hole in the window.
Needless to say, we ran.
Milan itself is a high rush shopping paradise. It’s great to walk around and get acquainted with hidden gelatterias or pizzerias , or wander down the big streets lined by the biggest shops you can find. There was even a castle fort! The prime attraction however is the Duomo, situated right in the middle as a towering gilgamesh of various influences- in fact it was just recently finished 50-80 years ago. We even managed to get in for Easter’s High Mass, certainly something not to be missed!
Florence on the other hand was much humbler. Less people, almost deserted churches and still amazing food. They had the best gelati and I absolutely adored browsing through the daily market. Funnily enough here I had my first encounter with the laundromat. Figuring out how to wash my clothes in Italian is a hoot.
Have I mentioned Italy has the best coffee ever? How did I ever survive without this stuff? Now I know why there are coffee addicts.
And well, Pisa was alright. It had that tower….several in fact. And a big river, which was pretty decent. Mmm…pizza……