Mid-October. The leaves are turning from their green to yellow-gold and amber-orange tones. The sunlight is honeyed and gentled by the cool breezes that make their way through the city streets and avenues. Coats and scarves are coming out, but the coffees and cigarettes along every street cafe’ continue undisturbed, determined to drink up as much of the absolutely delicious October climate.
October was good to me, I’ll say that. While exams were approaching it was hard to resist the weather, amazing as it is. I kept myself preoccupied with assignments and working diligently - a students’ priority should always be their academics, naturally. But every now and again we find a way to make do, stretch our legs a bit and indulge in some harmless shenaniganry, as I like to call it. So while I may have been studious and dedicated to my academic pursuits, I cannot say I was entirely focused on legalistics of the Francoist system, or the vital importance the railroad in Spain’s industrialization; all very important and riveting topics to be sure. But what truly capture my attention were some barely-over-fifty-euro plane tickets to Milan. Because Europe, am I right folks? You can guess what I’m about to say, considering you likely read the title before proceeding to read this now.
Yeah you’re absolutely right I bought those tickets. And you’re abbsolutely right I went to Milan the moment those exams were over. And absolutely you’re right again that was the right call to make after a long exams week.
Milan, in short, I heartily recommend. It’s a huge city; bigger than Madrid (and by a lot, I’d wager). Wide avenues, stone pillars, baroque balconies, lovely parks that came alive,
AND. THE. FOOD.
When I say that was the best pizza, pasta, and table spreads I’ve ever had, I’m not saying they were really good. I’m saying they were really really good. I’m not even saying they were really, really, really good. I’m saying they were the BEST.
You ever had a four cheese pizza, with a luscious and rich combination of feta, BRIE, mozzarella, and classic parmesan? Because I have. And it was to die for. And that was just the first night after we had arrived.
You ever had pasta carbonara with the richest, smoothest carbonara sauce, refined to the point that the spaghetti glows golden in the light? Because I have!
You ever had a table spread of fresh, curated meats and cheeses, with an accompanying selection of three jams and honeys to mix with? BECAUSE I HAVE!
Don’t let my overly-enthusiastic tone deceive you, reader. I was not starved as a child, and it would be unfair to say I’ve never had a tasty meal in my life. But this was beyond the pale; it was truly magnificent to sit along the riverside, basking in the sun as we cheerfully stuffed our faces with the best and most memorable food to date in our lives. I hesitate to use the term orgasmic, for fear that it may turn away some people, but needless to say, yeah, it was.
But if the previous passage wasn't convincing enough to have you already booking your own flight over, perhaps the rest of the city will convince you.
It was majestic. As I mentioned, wide avenues, stone pillars evoking of the splendor of the Roman Empire thousands of years before; monuments and churches that stunned any passerby. The air about the city was similar to New York in some ways, old, imperious, and with the people hustling and bustling about their business. It was a city on the move - traffic honked, the tram screeched, and the walking was fast. Rest? That's what Park Sempione is for.
Conveniently located by the city center, just past the castle (Yes, there is a castle, stay with me) the park is lovely, and towards the waning hours of the day, as the sun dips towards the horizon and below, it comes alive. Guitarists, picnics, people walking their dogs, and the vivacious atmosphere overall was something truly pleasant and memorable. But there’s only so much one can say about a park (even if this one was exceptional) - so about that castle.
Castello Sforzesco was built in Ye Olden Times by the Sforza family and was indeed a mighty citadel. Expansive courtyards flanked by high curtain walls and lombardic towers, it houses several museums within its wings; cultural, archeological, artistic, and one dedicated to Michelangelo. I didn’t have time to visit each one, but if you get the chance, do it.
My only complaint about Milan was my inability to stay for longer. It was an incredible city and one I wholly recommend for everyone to visit. Nevertheless, my priority here at IES Abroad is my academics, to which I must always keep in mind (and sometimes are harder than others). Which is why I’m pleased to report, should you be at all interested, dear reader, that I aced them all no problem as a result of my very hard, very diligent studies. Nevertheless, upon my return the mood had already shifted back in Madrid towards the impending arrival of Halloween, which is celebrated in Spain a bit as well; but I won't be able to give my report on that until after the fact - which by the time this post goes up, may have just occured.
Stay tuned dear reader, there are more scholastic pursuits and shenanigans to come, and I’m sure you’ll have at least a passing interest in reading this, if only for the impeccably advanced and nuanced humor.