Dec. 29: We took a pretty long but scenic bus ride from Munich down through the Swiss Alps to finally arrive in Milan after 6 hours, where we checked in to the Airbnb apartment we’re staying at near the Central Station. After we freshened up a bit, we went to Princi Bakery (my fav place ever) to meet up with some of our Italian friends, and we went with them to a bar called Chinese Box for aperitivo. Our friend Fabio introduced us to the drink called “sbagliato” and we all got to catch up for a while. After that, we walked around Chinatown for a bit, reminiscing on the good old days and eating some quality Chinese food. After that, Mia and I walked around Milan some more, went to Eataly, and bought some prosecco and taralli to munch on back at our Airbnb.
Dec. 30: In the morning, we got some coffee at Princi, then walked to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, which I think is just such a beautiful place. Then we took some pictures in the Piazza del Duomo, and looked at things we definitely couldn’t afford in La Rinascente. We went to a restaurant for lunch, and shared some bruschetta to start, and I had some amazing risotto with porcini mushrooms. Lunch made me so happy because I really love food, and Italy is definitely a good place for food aficionados like myself. In the afternoon, we did a lot of shopping to find outfits for New Year’s Eve, and we were quite successful. If you’re going to find a fabulous outfit anywhere, it’s Milan, the fashion capital of the world. Even just walking around, everyone looked so chic, with huge fur coats and cool patterns and ensembles. Totally inspiring. I just love spending time in Milan because I think it’s a beautiful city. Everything sparkles and shines! We were so tired from shopping and walking around all day, so we went back to our Airbnb to take a nap, and we got to meet Nicola, our host who was so nice. After, we went back out and got a quick bite to eat at Princi and then went to Chinese Box and sat upstairs for an hour or so just drinking our sbagliato’s and talking – a good ending to our time in Milan.
Dec. 31: We woke up in the morning and took the bus to Florence. We had to walk to find the Airbnb we were staying at, and luckily on the way we ran in to our friend Lorenzo (Lollo), who helped us find it. It was the perfect place to stay pretty much exactly in the center of the city. We ate some yummy pizza after checking in, then returned to rest a little and get ready for the night. We met our “fra’s” Lollo & Giovanni at 8pm in Piazza Duomo and walked around with them, stopping to eat some panini, chilling at a bar drinking amari’s, and buying some spumante in preparation for the new year. At around 11, we met up with our other friends Emiliano, Elena, Sofia, Nicole, and Benji and celebrated at midnight on the streets with basically the whole city, popping our sparkling wines and watching the fireworks over the Arno River. After that, we went to a club called Full Up where our friends had a table for the night. The club was pretty fun with everyone, and the music got progressively better as the night went on. We also got Negroni’s from the bar, which were so good. Mia and I left around 4am and walked only 5 minutes to get back to our Airbnb, stopping to get panini on the way. All in all, New Year’s Eve was fun and it was so awesome to see everyone again after so long! We celebrated just like old times back in China!
Jan. 1: We woke up pretty late and were very hungry, so Mia and I went to go eat some pizza and tiramisu at a place near our place. Our friend Lollo met us there, and we all walked around the city for a bit, and stopped at a little cafe near the duomo and sat outside with the heat lamps drinking some coffee just chatting for a few hours. After, we went to the famous all’Antico Vinaio, where the line was relatively short, and got some amazing panini. Mia and I got one called the “Dante” which had capocollo, arugula, some cheese, and truffles, and Lollo got one called the “Inferno” with porchetta, grilled vegetables, and spicy sauce. They were both SO good. Next, we went to try and find a pub called King Grizzly, but it ended up being closed, so we ended up at a different one, where I finally got to drink an Aperol Spritz (so Italian). We also just chilled there for a few hours talking. I really love that about Italian culture: all the walking, sitting in little cafes or pubs, and just talking with people. It’s actually so enjoyable to just relax and appreciate the company of good friends. “Il dolce di fare niente”.
Jan. 2: I walked with Mia to the train station to catch her train. We got there early, so we ate breakfast at a little coffee bar there (4.50€ for a cappuccino, juice & croissant), then I said bye to Mia, which was really sad. Being with her for over a week felt just like old times. Luckily we’ll probably see each other again soon! After I left the train station I walked around the city for a bit, even though it was raining. Then around 11 I went to all’Antico Vinaio to meet Lollo and get some more panini for the road. Then we found a cafe to get a coffee, got my luggage from the Airbnb, and walked to the station to get our bus. We saw the others for the last time at the station and said bye to them there, since they were all headed back to their perspective homes too. Then Lollo & I spent 5 hours on the bus, which stopped in Bologna before finally arriving in Milan. Since I had a few hours to kill, I went with Lollo back to his house, and dropped my luggage there while we went to eat some Chinese food. He showed me some cool areas around the city (the “real” Milan), like the old neighborhood of Brera and the new residences and skyscrapers in Porto Nuovo. Then we picked up my stuff and walked to the Central Station, where I said goodbye to Lollo and got on my night train to Paris. I’m kind of sad to leave Italy. It’s such a nice place and I had kind of forgotten how much I like it. It was also just so great to see all my friends again and spend so much time with them. Plus I just love the Italian food and drink. I don’t know, being back in Italy is just kind of nostalgic in general, and Florence and Milan are great places to be! But I already miss all of my friends. It’s always so sad saying bye to them because I don’t know when the next time I’ll see them will be.