In less than a year I made another trip back to Italy with my companion to spend 10 days seeing some new things, have some new experiences and also make good on my intention return to Cinque Terre and to hike the Vernazza trail. The first few days were spent in Milan which was the host city for the Expo (otherwise known as the World’s Fair). This was really exciting for me. We grew up hearing about the fair in St. Louis and Seattle but I could never quite get a grasp on what it was all about. Granted…2010 is not 1904 or 1962 but still…it’s was on the bucket list.
We both arrived early afternoon and I did my best to regulate my sleep on the plane (I’m a really good sleeper). I was so pumped to be in Italy again that there was no jet lag. I tried Airbnb for the first time and found the cutest apartment around the corner from the Express airport train, on a sweet tree lined residential street with cafes and shops. Of course, perfect environment for the café hack, eh?
We settled in quick and got out quick. We only had 3 days in Milan and 2 of them would be spent at the Expo. It would be unfortunate to come all the way to Milan and not see the Duemo so off we went.
Later that evening we went for a walk at the Castello Sforzesco. It became our evening stroll.
The next two days were at the Expo. I’m not sure how to put it into words; I’ll leave it to Wikipedia . I will say that they had some architecturally beautiful exhibits. It was really hot during the day and around 8pm on the dot the mosquitos woke up and were swarming I suppose that is what one expects in June. It was still worth the visit.
We left Milan, rented a car and head west to spend four days Cinque Terre. Our apartment was in Montorosso al Mare, one of the few cities were one could park a car. For 4 days I was in heaven. Days we lounged at the sea, hiked, explored the other villages such as Manarola and Vernazza, at night we sat outside in the plaza drinking Aperol and just being Italian. I’m a traveler and there is just no place like Cinque Terre. I don’t know how to put the feeling into words…every night we would go to the plaza and there were so many children running around, young adults gathered in groups at a café and bars, old people sitting in small groups and the only time I saw people with their face in the phone was a group of about a dozen teenagers sitting on the stairs by the sea. It really is my happy place.
For our last few days we headed up northeast and stayed near Lake Guarda. This was another new experience for me as I had yet to see the lakes. We stayed at the Hotel Villa Maria . It was a nice property with a great pool. There are little villas with kitchens that one can reserve. We just stayed in a regular hotel room which was really quite large and included a sitting area. The Décor was a bit kitschy but I think they were just trying to fit in with the theme of being a “villa.” It was very European in that breakfast was provided…but you must bring your own pool towel or “rent” one for 5 Euros.
We even spent a day driving around the entire lake including at stop at Monte Baldo for a hike.
On our last day, we checked out and headed out to Lake Iseo to spend our last day relaxing in the sun. I think I was so bummed out that the holiday was over that I didn’t take pictures.
Due to early morning flights our last night was at a hotel at the airport. The Moxy is owned by Marriott and designed as a traveler’s hotel, likely those who just needed an overnight stay and/or traveling along. It was very modern and had a very nice social atmosphere. We covered a lot of territory in our 10 days and it ended very melancholic as the next morning, my companion and I returned to our home countries. As the saying goes, don’t cry that it’s over, smile that it happened.