In hopes of soaking up all the Italian city’s energy to be found in a one-night stay, Kendall and I took a train to Milan. Our roommates at the hostel were a kind couple from Chile. After initial introductions and settling into our room, we popped and drank raspberry cider while swapping our latest travel stories. As the afternoon stretched onward and time felt increasingly boundless, Kendall and I wandered around the neighborhood, getting lost just enough to uncover the euphoria in each avenue. In particular, we marveled at a tucked-away gelato shop where I savored scoops of pistachio and biscotti. The sun shone sweetly and wind blew softly as one of my hands held Kendall’s and the other held my ice cream cone.
Later that evening, we went out for some aperitivos, or appetizers, which were the local restaurants’ main offering all along the canals. We each bought a drink for nine euros and, in return, were welcomed to try anything at the restaurant’s buffet of small plates. I ordered a Hemingway Daiquiri and nibbled on fresh bread with tomatoes, savory rice with corn, bites of cheese and ham, and delicious pasta with olives. Once we’d sampled enough, we moved on to the restaurant next door for more drinks and new aperitivos. There, we sat next to and started chatting with a friendly woman and her daughter from Serbia. We were grateful to have experienced a uniquely Milan-style sunset dinner, and said goodbye to the canals with light, happy hearts and full bodies.
On the metro back to our hostel, we saw our Serbian friends again and joined them to see a castle nearby that was lit-up and sparkling at night - a perfect closing to the day’s whimsy. The following morning, we ventured to Duomo di Milano, a beautifully intricate church surrounded by modern shops and, around the corner, discovered a park sprinkled with trees. In the shade of these trees, we snacked on nuts, drank some beer, and people-watched until it was time to walk to the train station. On our way, we paused to indulge in our first Italian pizza (a true milestone) and eventually, met up with our friends, Rory and Fernanda. In one final swoop, we bid farewell to Milan and set our sights on Lugano in Switzerland (our journey continues in my article “Bliss in the Swiss Countryside”).