Here’s the first of two Italian posts. Italy was my first foreign love, and that has not changed.While I was there I made new friends and reconnected with old, ate delicious pasta and drank amazing wine. I learned an impressive amount of Italian in a short time spending time with people who hardly speak any English. All in all, and unsurprisingly, I love Italy. 

I left off in Zurich. My final day there, I went to a really cool gym called Balboa. It’s not a CrossFit affiliate, but the do similar classes. They also do yoga, martial arts, weightlifting, and other classes. What I loved most was the vibe. Upstairs is a full cafe and bar:

There’s a glass portion of the floor through which you can see the gym downstairs. Everything was immaculately clean and modern. The instructors were professional, and the classes were well run and organized. The whole atmosphere of the place was so pleasing to me. 

After Zurich came Milan. The fashion capital. It was a beautiful, metropolitan city with good transportation and plenty to do. I stayed in a hostel that was located near a metro station, and made getting around very easy. On my second day there, I met two American guys who were on the same kind of trip as me. They were really nice guys with lots of stories to tell. We spent most of my time in Milan together. The first night, we went to the apartment of their Italian friends. We had pizza and wine, guitar sing alongs, and lots of laughs. There was a guy there who was more American than some Americans I know, yet he’s never set foot on American soil. He’s Indian. His accent was American. His sense of humor and music taste? American. His explanation was simple: “I’ve been watching American movies and television all my life. I consider English my first language, I even think in English.” I’m so happy to have met him!

This was a really disturbing art installation drawing attention to domestic abuse.

These guys. So great. ?
The next day, we went to Lake Como. A one hour train ride brought us into absolutely gorgeous mountain country around the pants shaped lake. Varenna is located in the right pocket of the “pants.” We spent the day sun basking, eating, exploring, and taking photos. We couldn’t have wished for a better day!

The Europeans do hot chocolate so much better than us. 
The city of Milan is situated around Il Duomo. The giant church. Breathtaking.

There’s also the old castle that marked the entrance to the ancient walled city that was Milan wayyyy back in war time Italy. Only a few remnants of the wall remain now.


Happiness is coffee, cookies, and kitties. 

Then I hopped at BlaBlaCar to Venice. 

Miriam, me, Anna in 2007

When I was a junior in high school, my family hosted a Venetian girl for a year through foreign exchange. It was one of the best years of my life! Anna became the sister I never had, and we still keep in touch. The summer after my senior year, I went and stayed with her family for 5 weeks. Her father picked me up, and it all felt like just yesterday.

I spent a nice long weekend with her parents. They treated me like a daughter, and we had a really lovely time. Their home is about 20 minutes from Venice in a country-like setting. It felt like home.

I even got to see Anna’s cousin and her baby!

Anna’s mom, Giuli, brought me to the lovely little town of Treviso to just snoop around. It was a crappy, misty day, but we had fun anyway. She’s a really happy, positive person. I got to really spend quality time with her this trip.

That fountain exists. 

She took me to Venice too. Gloriously sunny weather guided us through the winding streets and throngs of people.

It was exactly has I remember. Timeless, vibrant, salty.

Miriam and I got to reconnect. We spent a day exploring some caves an hour north of Venice.

It was really fun just walking around surrounded by such beauty. 

I learned how to walk on stilts! Just adding to my list of odd talents. Anna’s father made them for her years ago.

The only thing that could have made the Venice trip better is if Anna could have been there! Sadly, she now lives in Mexico. 

Florence and Rome in the next post…
I’m going to catch you up to current times over the next two days. Sorry for the absence! Stay tuned!

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