For Christmas Chris gave Samantha and I a weekend trip to Italy. Well, he purchased the flights and paid for the rental car, we were lucky enough to have a friend to stay with in Milan (Thanks Zoe!!). We flew out late Friday night, drove to Milan, woke up at 6:30am and drove to Florence for the day. I have spent a few weeks in Rome but had forgotten the amazing “feel” that comes with Italy. I have become so accustomed to the tense energy I feel comes along with Paris. Quiet people, dressed in pressed black clothing rushing from metro train to metro train. Now don’t get me wrong I love Paris and will be excited to see it during the warmer months but just physically being in Italy I felt, warmer. People didn’t avoid eye contact and my smiles were returned. Plus, um there is a gelateria on every corner. I am a hug fan of bread so Paris has got me there, but I am fairly certain I would gain a good 50 pounds during a two year tour in Italy. Ice cream is my “thing”.
Florence was magical and I am dying to see it in the spring when flowers pour off balconies and I am not shivering as I eat my gelato. I completely caught my breathe (and Samantha’s arm) when we rounded the little side street corner and BAM right in front of us was the Duomo.
We had an amazing lunch at a place suggested by good ‘ole Rick Steves that was at least 3 times the cost he had it listed as (I guess thats what happens when you make it into Rick Steve’s travel guide right?) I had to refrain from lifting my plate to my face and licking it ha! We visited the Basilica di Santa Croce where Michelangelo, Galileo, Dante, Machiavelli are buried. We actually walked right past it first thanks to my silly GPS, I actually stopped and took a picture of the “random” although not so random, church.
We then weaved our way back to the car passing countless fun touristy stores.
We then drove all the way back up to Milan where I was lucky enough to meet a blog reader and a fellow Foreign Service officer who is moving to East Timor this summer. We stayed up way to late chatting and laughing and eating as much of Zoe’s home made minestrone as I could shove in. The next day we set off to explore Milan itself. I could not believe how good Zoe’s little guy was the entire time. He walked the whole day and didn’t complain ONCE!! After one block my kids would have been whining and crying about how “tired” they are etc. Though you could tell he had seen some of the exhibits before.
I actually snapped the above picture in the duomo in Milan where you have to pay 5 euro for a wristband to wear that allows you take pictures. There are girls in red cloaks that jump out at you and make sure you do have a wristband and get mad at you if you don’t. When one jumped at me I said to Zoe “No one expects the spanish inquisition!!” (name that source). I did NOT buy a wrist band but figured since I was taking a picture of Owen and not the architecture I was okay. You could take as many outside as you want.
It reminds me of the drippy sand castles I would make as a child. Oh and the building on the right is the oldest “shopping mall” in the WORLD! How cool is that? And so fitting that it is in Milan no? This was also when Samantha’s shooting in manual lesson ended ha! Though the building looks awesome….
Interesting tid bit, there is a statue on the Duomo that people say Frédéric Bartholdi copied for the Statue of Liberty design.
We stopped by the church where the Last Supper Fresco is but unfortunalty we didn’t get to actually see it as tickets were already gone when we found out we were coming. The church itself was a work of art.
After a quick stop for Gelato it was off to the airport and home to Paris! It was an incredibly fun weekend and a fabulous Christmas present! I can’t wait to go back and explore more of Italy when it is warm and I have a real excuse to buy gelato every ten seconds. Plus how kid friendly is that? Bored? Here’s another gelato ha! I am thinking next it will be Venice though. Anyone been there? Would the kids be okay on the gondolas?