After returning home from my Euro-trip I didn’t have much to do. Of course it was great to be back in SF, seeing my friends and soaking up the city and getting Matilda cuddles.
But breakups are hard and San Francisco is small. Everywhere I went I was worried I would run into my ex.
So I went back to Europe.
I bought a plane ticket that was way too expensive and went to Milan for 4 days and then Florence for 4 days. I only had 8 days before I had to leave San Francisco and move to Madison, so I timed it so that I would return on the last day of my lease so I could finish packing and cleaning.
Italy was probably the best part of my entire trip. Ok – I could say that about any part of my trip. But I think Italy is the first place I went where I thought “I have to move here!” Also, it was nice being abroad without having to worry about someone missing me back home. Being single while traveling is so liberating!
Milano was really fun, in large part due to the amazing hostel I stayed at. I made a lot of friends and kissed a lot of strangers. I won 2nd place in a limbo competition! I also ate spaghetti every day (duh).
I didn’t know this about Italy before I got there, but apparently most Italians – if they can afford the luxury – leave Italy in August. Why? Because its hot as hell!
I started almost every day around 5am because it was just too hot to keep sleeping. I ran around the city, marveling at the cute house and little streets. Running through a new city as its waking up is always one of my favorite things to do.
On my second day in Milano, I went to see The Last Supper. Usually, you have to buy a ticket weeks in advance, so I was lucky to be able to grab one! Throughout my trip I saw a lot of art and amazing architecture, but The Last Supper really hit me. I was just standing there, crying. It was just…magnificent. I still don’t know how to describe it other than saying it was magnificent. Breathtaking? I don’t know, these words just don’t capture the way it gave me goosebumps, the way my eyes instantly welled up with tears that rolled down my cheeks in a room full of strangers. It was just beautiful.
I also spent a day at Lake Como (estas). I met an Australian fellow I liked to call Frankfurt – his name is Frank- and we decided to head out for a day trip. We treated ourselves to a fancy lunch. Yes, I had the spaghetti, climbed to the top of the world, found a bunch of stray cats, walked for hours, ate ice cream, and became best friends.
After Lake Como (te llamas) I took a bus to Florence, Firenze in Italian! Oh. My. Nyame, I adore Florence! The spaghetti is even better than it was in Milano!
The entire city is just…art. All of it.
I met up with my friend, Branden, who happened to be teaching there for the summer. I missed my friend, Amy – Branden’s wife – by just a day or two, which was a bummer. Braden and I went for a run that totally kicked my ass, but the view was worth it! Then, we had a traditional 4-hour long dinner with lots of wine and great conversation. It’s always a special treat to see someone you know in a new country.
On my last day in Firenze, I went to have dinner at a restaurant that was rumored to be a must while there. I requested a table for one outside (was there even an inside?) and was politely denied a table. I thought she was kidding when she said no, since I could see tons of open tables, but the hostess explained that they simply couldn’t seat just one person at a table. I was pretty annoyed and started insisting she seat me, when a very handsome waiter whose shift was ending invited me to sit with him.
Obviously I agreed.
So I ate dinner with Valerio, who was from Firenze, and two of his friends – another Italian and his Dutch girlfriend. I had a great time and appreciated that we understood each other’s humor. Sometimes that’s hard to find when you first meet someone, especially across cultures.
After dinner, I thanked them and began walking toward my hostel. I had a 2:30 am bus to catch back to Milano for a 7:30 am flight back to San Francisco. I absolutely could not miss that flight because I had to be out of my apartment and on the road to Madison.
But Valerio wouldn’t hear of it. He insisted I join him and his friends for a night of drinking and promised he would get me back to my hostel by midnight.
Obviously I agreed.
We had an amazing night! We watched the sunset over Ponte Vecchio while sipping red wine. They took me to local bars that had no tourists. I met a bartender who was at least 100 years old and put on a show every time he poured a shot, complete with fire.
As promised, Valerio walked me back to my hostel by midnight. But, you know, not before we made out in front of the Duomo. Ah…Firenze!
I woke up naked in my hostel bed at 7 am and missed my bus and flight.
Apparently, I thought it was a good idea to take a shower after I packed before my bus and flight home. I must have passed out while getting dressed because my bag was packed except for what I was going to wear on the trip home, and I was practically sitting up/sleeping on my bed.
I really wouldn’t have minded a delay in returning home, but my lease was ending that day and I needed to get back. So, I ended up having to buy another way too expensive plane ticket that morning to get home.
Moral of the story? Always join the handsome Italian man for drinks with him and his friends. Fuck money, you’ll never have enough, anyways.