Sunday, June 25, 2006

Breakfast In Switzerland, And Other Crazy Capers

The past three days have been crazy. I flew from Palermo to Milano on Wednesday and met Ruth at the hotel. Ruth, for those playing at home, is the most wonderful girl who I met in Firenze three years ago, and we hit it off immediately, so it was the best present when she told me she would meet me while I was over, and we chose Milan, with a sidetrip to Lake Como.

I cant begin to document every amazing, hilarious, crazy thing that happened to us, so just some highlights...

Our first dinner in the Brera district, being eaten alive by mosquitos and given a bottle of Off! from the waitress - you are all getting this in your Christmas stockings, it is the best thing ever, followed by the fortune teller who you just wouldnt want your fortune read from.

Dancing to Italian love songs in the laundromat (Ruth, forgot to tell you, there was a note in the bag with the carefully folded laundry: sei semplicemente "meravigliosa". And to a certain someone reading this, that makes two meravigliosas in recent times, wink wink ;-)

Going to 10 Corso Como. This has been a dream of mine since I was little, oh yes, and it was so so cool and different as I hoped. I didnt buy anything but the French martinis and Chambord kir royales we had in their cafe after a long browse was the best purchase.

Next stop was Il Salvagente, the discount designer store but as it was closed for lunch we went looking for a place to grab a bite to eat, and stumbled upon the most amazing restaurant. It was after 2 and for some reason everything in the area was quiet, but the owner warmly welcomed us in. It was a gorgeous-looking restaurant and we expected everything to be expensive, but the lunch menu was 13E and was sensational. Gnochetti with vegetables followed by cotoletta milanese for me, pesto and salmon for Ruth, and all brought out covered in those grand silver lids and we couldnt believe our luck. Then more of that amazing coffee, and as we left the owner gave us her homemade biscuits as well as her recipe for pesto and we hugged and kissed and it was just so lovely.

And of course, a walk down Via Montenapoleone. Would you expect anything less. And we both just loved it, the window displays so clever and creative. I bought some more Aqua di Parma perfume, before rushing off to pick up our tickets for La Scala. My feet have never hurt so much but we made it, just, and laughed our way to the cheap seats in the very back. Ill explain how bad their were in person and bless the Japanese tourists in front of us who took off at intermission and left us being able to sit straight, if not to see much better. It was though a fantastic experience and we had a great laugh and thank you so much Ruth for the tickets xox

And falling in love with Milan (see later) and asking people about rent and cost of living...Jamie Oliver the annoying prat from Norway at the bar where we finally got nibblies with our wine...the beautiful taxi drivers making us double over with laughter...the cheeky devil train attendants and Ruth intepreting when the station closes at 1 come and see me as when the moon clouds over...hearing this: "do you speak English?" - "I am speaking English"...our last lunch at Peck...

Then it was off to Lake Como, including the encounter with the village nutter who spoke perfect Russian. The bus up to Menaggio was unreal, we were both gobsmacked with how beautiful it is, like a fairytale place that cant quite be real. While drinking and madly Off!ing ourselves we thought how crazy it would be to go to Switzerland for breakfast and so we did. We got the 6.02 across the border and were a bit dismayed when nothing was open, but then spotted a queue outside a shop at 7.30 and rushed in along with half the town to have a fantastic apple pie and coffee (paid in old school francs), then headed back, sleeping on the bus...


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