During our last morning in Monterosso we decided to follow another one of Stefano's recommendations, this time for breakfast. We had cappuccino and tried some of the restaurant's cake. I know what you're thinking, “Cake for breakfast?” But you just can't pass up a local's recommendation, not to mention Stefano had informed us that this was “Breakfast Cake.” We quickly found out that this is not a direct translation when we were met with blank stares and confusion. After asking for “Breakfast Cake” several more times, we eventually just pointed to a couple slices that looked tasty. We ate quickly, chatted with some American's we had met on the train the day before and headed down to the beach to say goodbye one more time. We were sad to leave our new friend, but we're hoping to see Stefano in December after his race (we promised him a lounge chair on the Sacramento River for a discounted rate) or when we return for work next summer.
The train to Milan took about three hours, and about an hour after we arrived we found ourselves in our last Italian room. Being that this was our final night, Heidi and I decided that we needed to go big! However, “going big” as a backpacker is not a very impressive sight. Even less so when you're in Milan, arguably the fashion capital of the world. I pulled out a wrinkled black dress (the same one that was a staple for my time on the beach in Ecuador), flip flops and a bit of jewelery. We had barely made it down the stairs of our hotel before we realized that this wasn't really going to cut it in Milan. Maybe it was just us, but we felt as if everyone was paying attention to the stark contrast between ourselves and the fashion conscious residents of Milan.
Our first stop for the night was a local happy hour, just outside our room. While the cocktails were exorbitantly priced, it came with a buffet of salmon, pizza, fruit and more, not to mention excellent people watching. Next, we took the metro to check out the Duomo before heading for the Brera area. Before we were able to make it there, we found a little pub that was overflowing with men in suits. We decided to get a beer, and before long we met a man named Steven Smith. Steven is an American born lawyer who has lived in Italy for the past six years. We first started chatting as he used us as an example when trying to teach one of the bartenders English. Heidi and I sat and chatted with him for quite a while as he urged us not to settle down in the states, bought us beer and flattered us with compliments. By the time we left the bar, it was close to eleven, and Steven showed us the way (riding his vespa very slowly, which was quite entertaining) to the cute restaurants that line the main street of the Brera district. We picked one and split the risotto and gnocchi (both were amazing).
We were told that there was another district nearby with fun bars, so we wandered a little further, finally ending up in a plaza with over a hundred Italians standing around outside several bars drinking and mingling. That's when it became increasingly clear to Heidi and I that the people of Milan are not only fashionable, they are also ridiculously good looking. We couldn't help but stare and even take some pictures. Eventually, the owner of the bar we were sitting outside of asked us to join him and some of his friends. We're pretty sure this guy (and his friends, for that matter) were not nearly as cool as they thought they were and we only stayed a couple minutes before deciding to call it a night.
Although we may not have been prepared for a night out (even a Wednesday!) in Milan, we definitely picked up on some new trends that we're going to be bringing back home. You can expect to hear us saying, “That's so in right now! I saw it all over Milan” for just about everything from lime green pants to glitter shoes. I mean, we saw it in a fashion capital like Milan, so it must be in!
(Names in this particular post may or may not have been changed for the harmlessly self-involved.)