Today we left on our trip! We cleaned the house, and we stayed the night at my parents' house. It was sad to say goodbye, but at the same time, we knew that we'd see them soon. My dad was kind enough to drive us to the SLC airport. There were many missionaries at the airport, coming from the MTC, and leaving to their various areas to preach the gospel!
The flight to NYC was painless enough. It's funny to think that this is the first city we've arrived in, and it will be the last.
After a long plane ride, I was greeted by a red sunrise over the Swiss Alps. We left NYC around 2pm Mountain Time, and after an 8 hour plane ride, we would be arriving in Italy at 8 am. So we took sleeping pills to try and evade jet lag. It didn't work so great.
We arrived weary, but anxious to get out and have an adventure! We took the Malpensa Express train from the airport to the center of Milan. We stepped outside the Central Station and called our first AirBnb host. We were approached by no less than 3 people who either wanted money or to take our phone to show us how to use it. Apparently the apartment flooded, and it wouldn't be habitable for a few hours. We asked if we could just drop off our luggage there and then explore the city. We didn't understand at first, but we soon understood why she kept on insisting that there was nowhere to put our luggage. It was a small studio apartment with 1 table and 1 futon. We eventually found out that we could pay to store our luggage at the train station. So we left our big suitcases, and wandered the nearby streets. We purchased a few trinkets from nearby chinos. (Spanish for Chinese shop, they are like dollar tree, except they usually have cheap souvenirs)
We eventually were able to meet up with our host and get the apartment. A great way to learn about a culture and to save money on food is to go to a grocery store. It reminded me very much of my mission. We got juice sodas, baguettes, cheese, cured meats, fine yogurt and the famous gelato. We were exhausted and took a 4 hour nap.
We wandered the city and made our way to the main plaza. We saw Il Duomo lit up at night and there was a concert playing.
Il Duomo at night
Milan is hosting the world expo.
There was an array of fancy stores that I enjoyed in Spain such as Zara, and Bull and Bear and Massimo Dutti. Milan met its reputation of "window shopping paradise".
Galleria Vittoria Emanuele, a historic shopping mall that covered by a glass ceiling!
We were approached by an African from Senegal. He was nice and he gave us some "free" bracelets. Then he asked for money. He was kind enough so I parted with a Euro. There's a lot of street vendors in Italy. Just ignore them and they'll leave you alone. If nothing else works, just say "BASTA!" and they'll leave you alone.
We still wear these bracelets today.
Today was just gently immersing ourselves in the European culture. Tomorrow we'll hit all the attractions on our TODO list. It's crazy that everyone is speaking Italian. It's surreal.
Our ATT phone works great and our camera takes great shots at night!
We had a great touristy experience today. Summer had a couple of medical emergencies, her contacts were hurting, and leg chaffing. In both cases, we were able to go to one of the any Pharmacies and they were able to help us. McDonald's are a great source for restrooms. They're fairly common, and their bathrooms are accessible. Sometimes free, sometimes a few cents. They do have a one euro menu here. Their minimum wage is much higher here than the US. Go figure.
We were impressed by the castle Sforza. It was huge and incredible! I loved it. We had Spanish bocadillos for lunch. (Baguette, cheese, and cured meat.)
Inside one of the courtyards
We went inside Il Diomo, and it was so cool and detailed! Each cathedral is special, but nothing that I've before compared to the workmanship in here! Every pillar had intricate carvings and statues.
Il Duomo during the day time
There was a concert right in front of the cathedral!
Stunning on the inside!
We went to San Bernadino della Ossa, it was decorated with the bones of those that died in the black plagu. It was surreal and creepy.
We ate Kebaps and gelato for dinner. My feet kill!