ITALY, PART 1

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Well hello, hello!

It's been 2 days since we've arrived back from our 16 day stay in Italy, and I am already going through Italy-withdraw, if there ever was one! This was really the best vacation me and Eric has ever been on, full of funny stories and interesting people that we have met along the way.

We began our trip with a brief stay in Milan, at least that was our plan! Our trip actually began with a brief stop in England, because of airline dramas we missed our flight to Milan and then didn't have one of our luggages for a few days. What a stressful way to start off the vacation, but, Milan and it's beautiful landmarks made us forget all of that soon enough! The duomo in Milan is absolutely mouth-dropping, its architecture and its endless ornamental details are true a work of art. I have never seen so much love and dedication be put into a building before, it was greatly inspiring.

One of my favorite memories in Milan was spending time strolling through the park in Castello Sforzesco (Sforza Castle). The park is grand and peaceful, with much trees for shade and plenty of people lounging around as Italians do. I even had a little bit of time to sketch the trees and floras around me, it was just so great to slow down and enjoy our time together. Another favorite memory would be the first time we had gelato, which is, awesome. Whenever me and Eric travel, we always find ourselves spending the most time scouting for good food. So we really looked forward to our first gelato experience. I don't how the Italians can make their ice cream so creamy and fluffy at the same time, but they work their magic every time! While on the subject of food, we found the most amazing carbonara and fettuccine at this little tucked away place in Milan called Latteria Di San Marco. Did I also mention the best mozzarella balls that made my taste buds do a somersault? Who knew fresh mozzarella can have so much flavor and be so juicy?

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After a few days in Milan, we took the train to Venice and felt like we were transported to a totally different world. This beautiful city is its own little island with water canals running throughout. The small bridges that are everywhere are so picturesque, especially when those gondolas pass under them! We saw some great landmarks, like St. Mark's square and its basilica. But we spent most of our time wandering through narrow alleyways that are centuries old, strolling past the Rialto market and eating really good homemade pasta, including the best lasagna at Al Pesador. 

On our last day there, we went to see the Peggy Guggenheim collection that's housed in her villa, and it was kind of like walking into candy land. So many of my most admired artists sit in her courtyard and inside her house. I couldn't believe I was looking at a Henry Moore sculptures and then seeing Pollock and Picasso's paintings! I liked learning about the courage she had to support and exhibit these artists at a time when abstract work was not valued as art. Like Gandhi says, "Be the change that you wish to see in the world." She was a true visionary of her time, her strong point of view with art and its meaning is something I really admire. 

There were also many great people we met on this first part of the trip. Our stays in different people's homes made it all the more interesting, since we were actually living in local neighborhoods and interacting with the locals.

Anyway, I will be sharing the rest of our trip in an upcoming post!

Until then,

-Yao