From Via della Spiga, we wandered around a bit more. Joseph had gone the day before to get his American visa renewed, and we soon got the call to pick his passport up, at a Mailboxes Etc., funnily enough. Then it was time for a meal, and since Milan is one of the two places (the other being Torino) claiming to be the home of the aperitivo, we chose that over a regular dinner. Aperitivo is a common tradition in northern Italy, based upon a drink and a meal. Usually you pay a slight premium for an alcoholic beverage, but you get with it unlimited access to tapas and meal options set up at a buffet bar.
Satisfied and full after the aperitivo, it was time to meet up with Simone, one of Paolo’s friends who had kindly offered us his home to stay in for the night with his girlfriend. We met him near Milano Centrale, and we packed into his tiny car like circus clowns and headed for Cadorago, a town in Como north of Milan, where they lived. We’d see Milan again on the following morning, because we had to catch a train from there for the next leg of our trip, which would take us to Venice.
I liked Milan, I must say, but I also didn’t like it. I’m a big-city boy, having been born and raised in NYC, and usually I love the energy and convenience that large cities have to offer. Milan has some beautiful architecture, a great food scene, and countless cultural and artistic experiences to be had, but I didn’t fully dig it. There was something cold about the city, in my humble opinion, that seemed out of character with the constant warmth I feel that most Italians bestow. The city is the economic and fashion capital of Italy, and money is quite prevalent, so I guess it’s not too hard to feel a bit turned off by it. However, I will no doubt visit again, as I believe that you must always give each destination a second chance.