Switzerland – Italy (Days 58-63)
Day 58 (9/27/2010):
Today was another rainy day in Zurich. I heard about the ‘Red Light District’ of this city, so we took a stroll in the rain to see some mongrel action. Unfortunately, I guess since it was raining, we did not get to see anything.
At dinnertime, Tom took us back to Langstrasse, the red light district, and treated us to dinner there. I had a very traditional Swiss meal, Zurcher-Geschnetzeltes, which is basically veal slices with a potato pancake. After starving in Switzerland, this was definitely a good last meal in Switzerland.
This time around, I saw a working girl on the corner from the outside of the restaurant. During my time eating, I believe she had 3 tricks. I have to say, in business terms, that is pretty efficient.
Day 59 (9/28/2010):
After spending time in one of the more expensive cities of Europe, we left (or ran from) Zurich and went to Milan, our first Italian city, and the city of fashion. The first thing we did when we got there was to try to get a chance to see Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper at the Chiese di Santa Maria Della Grazie. Unfortunately for us, there were no more spots left on the tour for that day and the next four days afterwards! Therefore, for future reference, make reservations in advance.
We were starving, so fortunately, we randomly discovered a locals only small bistro about a block away from the home of the Last Supper. For a mere 6 Euros, I had grilled chicken with linguine with olives and olive oil. Sounds bland, but it was one of the most amazing things I have eaten on the trip. Simple and good.
We went to see the Duomo, which is the third largest church in the world. Awe-inspiring, the cathedral was an amazing view. Watch out for the so-called friends that want to give you a ‘free’ friendship bracelet. They may even place it on your shoulder. Once any part of your body touches it, they will start asking for money!
Since, we were SOL with the Last Supper, we went to the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, which is a museum with exquisite works of famous Italian artists such as Botticelli, Caravaggio, Raphael, and da Vinci. The courtyard itself is a reason to go.
At dinner, I ordered the cotoletta alla Milanese, which is basically a breaded veal cutlet with a slice of lemon. I wasn’t fairly impressed, but that may be because I have some what become biased (in a good way) against fried foods ever since traveling with Jason (or James).
We learned another lesson prior to dinner; restaurants in Italy seem to close around 4:30 PM and reopen at 7:30 PM, so be ready to hold off prior to eating.
After dinner and the sun went down, we went back to the Duomo and rode the elevator up to the roof of the cathedral. As cheesy as it sounds, it was completely worth it and you get a different perspective of the city.
Afterwards, we met up with our host, Fabio, at a quiet piazza where they were playing folk music consisting of two accordions, a guitar, and an ocarina. Next to them was an amazing sculpture of a middle finger.
Day 60 (9/29/2010):
Since we are a EU Rail Pass holder, we thought of making the best use of it by taking a day trip to Venice. We woke up at 6 AM and headed to the main station. A 3-hour train ride dropped us off at the train station right outside of the vaporetto (water busses) to Piazza San Marco. After seeing the ridiculous amount of ridiculous tourists acting in a ridiculous fashion, we opted to walk towards Piazza San Marco while (of course) looking for food on the way.
The cool part of Venezia is that, you can walk down any random alleyway and find something interesting and different. Getting lost in Venezia is a must.
After trekking through the many canals and random bridges, we found our self in Venezia’s only official piazza, the famous Piazza San Marco. The Basilica di San Marco was an amazing view but due to the immense lines and my annoyance towards rude tourists, we chose to skip the line and keep on walking around.
On the way back to the train station, we took the main street, the Grand Canal via a vaporetto. The Grand Canal gave a nice overview of the city as we looped through the city and went beneath the many bridges of Venezia.
Afterwards, we met up with Fabio and his friends at a Communist Party Fundraising event. One knows that nothing good will be done by them if they are voted in, when it takes the 2 hours to serve food. Watching a Pink Floyd cover band finished off the night.
Day 61 (9/30/2010):
After a whirlwind of blurriness in our first couple of days in Italy, we met up with Erin in Lake Country near Lake Como. After getting to Como station, we hopped on a ferry to Moltrasio, which is a luxurious coastal lake town.
Erin and her family were staying at the Imperial Palace Hotel. They had an amazing suite with a view of Lake Como. We will put up pictures, as words cannot describe the beauty of the place.
P.S. For those that remember watching Casino Royale, the last scene where Bond shoots the bad guy is where Lake Como is.
Day 62 (10/1/2010):
After a good night’s rest (it’s been a while since we were able to sleep in. Although, I forgot to add that Wagner slept outside on the balcony that night and the next couple of nights in Moltrasio), E, J, and I jumped onto a Ferry and took a 90 minute ferry ride to the ‘real’ Bellagio.
Bellagio is a quaint semi-touristic town right on Lake Como. Unbelievably beautiful, we had a quick bite to eat and went looking for a horseback riding opportunity.
When I called the phone number, a random guy picked up and immediately said that he would come pick us up. 15 minutes later, there he was in a rickety pick up truck and took us on a 15 minute ride up the steep hills and dropped us off at a horse farm. After getting on the horse, we asked our guide if we could push the horses; she took us on an immediate gallop, in which I held on to the horse with dear life. Wagner did not ride with us, but followed us around with 2 cameras and a video camera capturing the whole event like a wedding photographer.
Getting back to Moltrasio was a little difficult for me as my inner thighs were already starting to get sore from the horseback riding.
We ended the night by having an amazing dinner at our hotel’s fine restaurant.
Day 63 (10/2/2010):
E’s parents informed us of a festival of some sort that was happening in Lugano, Switzerland. A secret part of me dreaded going back to Switzerland (remember $18 dollars per pound of chicken.) Anyway, we took the car and headed towards there.
I did not realize that the border of Switzerland and Italy were so close (approximately 10 minutes from Moltrasio).
Lugano is situated right next to Lake Lugano with similar natural characteristics as Lake Como. It was considerably different with Zurich as most people spoke Italian.
The festival itself was pretty interesting. There were groups of bands that would go from location to location and play music. Wagner ended up eating hershpfiffer, which we still do not know what it is.
For some reason, I had a Skyr craving that day.
Random Conversation at a Restaurant
Woman profusely crying in a restaurant.
Me: I think she’s crying.
Jason: I believe they are tears of joy (serious face)
Me: **Stares at him unbelievably**