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Ole Abroad (Carmen & Katie): On food, balloons and fashion in Milan

Ciao Tutti!

This past weekend, our trip to Milan started early Saturday morning. We were on our way by train at 8:19 a.m. Once we got to Milan we were all starving. However, finding somewhere to eat was trickier than you’d think. After walking to our hostel (which was zebra themed – pretty cool!) and dropping off our luggage, we all set out to find a restaurant. After searching for a while, we found a café that looked decently priced. However, upon entering and being ushered to the basement, we found out that we were about to experience our first taste of Italian cafeteria food.

[Carmen left, Katie second to left, in the Milan ‘cafeteria’]

Although lunch was a bust, the afternoon shaped up nicely. It was the last weekend of Carnevale and there was parade going on in their main piazza. The city was going crazy! All the kids were dressed up and there were floats, music, confetti and balloons everywhere! Although it’s slightly embarrassing to admit, I (Katie) ended up getting swept away by the spirit of the day and purchasing a large carousel horse balloon, which we all took turns carrying for the duration of the weekend. (Thanks guys! )

[Katie and her horse balloon…and a horse playing guitar]

When we woke up on Sunday morning—we did not feel like P Diddy. Since our hostel did not provide us with towels, taking a shower was out of the question. There we were in the fashion capitol of the world and we looked like we were just run over by a bus – greasy hair, day-old makeup, and wrinkled clothes. We were just hoping that Drake was right in saying “sweatpants, hair tied, chilling with no make up on. That’s when you’re the prettiest.”

Since we couldn’t visit the cathedral on Saturday because of Carnevale, we went on Sunday. It was so beautiful. According to our host mom, it is the second biggest cathedral in Italy. Unlike the Florentine Renaissance Cathedral, the one in Milan is very gothic — big spires, tall, delicate, and slender. As we looked at the cathedral from the outside, we felt like we were in Disneyland. We had to remind ourselves that this was, in fact, real life.
Also on the day’s agenda was a trip to the Castello Sforzesco (an old fortress) to visit the many museums inside. To be honest, we are not museum people, and would much rather sit outside in the park and soak up the sun—which we did. The weather was very much like spring. 

The official tent for Milan Fashion Week was set up right next to the Castello. It was torture to be so close to the action and yet not be able to go inside. And much to our dismay, we were not mistaken for international supermodels. But we did walk by Gucci headquarters!

[Carmen in front of the Milan Fashion Week tent]

Earlier that day an Australian guy had recommended Cioccolati Italiani as the best gelateria in Milan. I (Carmen) was not disappointed. The milk chocolate at the bottom of my cone was heaven in my mouth.
A dopo!
Carmen and Katie

*Katie Caffrey is a junior psychology major with a linguistics concentration from Oak Park, IL. She is currently splitting her semester abroad between Florence and London where she is studying both art history and theatre.
*Carmen Stubblefield is studying abroad in Italy and England on the ACM Arts in Context Program. She is a junior psychology major from Oregon, her favorite foods are pizza and ice-cream.

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