I don't even know where to begin, or if I should start. I'm three days into this trip and already two days behind in my notes!
I'm going to give you a brief rundown of the trip so far and then hopefully come back and fill in the blanks (maybe in the morning as the hotel has WiFi breakfast isn't until 9 and I'm usually up by 7 or so).
Anyway, I arrived in Milan on Wednesday about an hour late (90 minute late departure but I'll get into that story in a separate entry).
It was easy finding the Malpensa express bus (paying my €7.50) and riding into the Centrale station. I actually even read on the bus for the first time ever! Caught a cab at the station and although I forgot to write down the address of the hotel, when I told the cabby the name (Lugano) and where it was near, he knew and got me there for another €7. I'll write more about the Lugano in another entry.
By now it was maybe 10:30 - 11:00 and of course, my room wasn't ready but I sat in the lobby and the nice desk clerk made me a cappuccino and I got some work done.
Shannon arrived about 2, we dropped her stuff in her room (I'd already gotten into my room at that point) and we stopped by Birrifcio Lambrate to visit with Alessandra.
From there until we returned at 6 it was really just a series of bar hopping, to keep me awake and to get a snack (lunch service stopped at Lambrate at 2:00).
6:00 back to Lambrate for some beer and happy hour munchies then a walk around the neighborhood before we settled into the New Moby Dick (Yes you read that correctly) for a dinner of grilled vegies and shared pizza. I was in my room by 9:30 and probably asleep by 10.
Got up, had breakfast, checked emails, walked to the Lambrate metro right around the corner and took a the green line to the Cadorna station where we caught a train (took about 65 minutes) to the town of Como.
First View of Lake Como
Visited the information office, bought bus tickets, dropped our bags at our hotel, walked through their weekly market (Shannon got socks) - lots of clothes and household items, didn't find much food (well, except roasted chickens that looked amazing), then found the #1 bus stop and headed up to Birrificio Como.
Yes, that was us missing the stop (hmm... maybe we're not doing so well transportation wise) but we got off down the road, walked back and found the brewery. I'll write more about that later too. Needless to say, we did some tastings, had some lunch and headed back down to Como.
Outside of Rose Window of the Como Duomo
Inside View of Rose Window at Como Duomo (say that 5 times fast)
In Como, we walked around the town, visited an Internet cafe, spent some time in the Duomo, really stunning from the outside, can use a bit of better lighting inside, and eventually found ourselves sitting in a very local bar on the lake. We'd tried to sit outside but Shannon is a mosquito magnet so we moved in.
After a while we went in search of dinner.
Stumbled into a local place - one large party in the back room (where we also sat) celebrating a one year-old's birthday (all adults, one teen, one baby and the guest of honor). I felt like we may have intruded a bit, but this was really just a bar, with a room that they served fresh salads and pasta so there was no where else to sit. It was fun though, the food was good (though for the life of me at the moment I have no clue what I had), and by the end of the meal, we knew the guest of honor's name (Ricky - though probably spelled ricchi or something) and had a piece of birthday cake.
Back to the hotel to watch Rocky in Italian and chat with the kids via skype and IM.
Up about 7:15. Checked emails. Showered, dressed, in a local bar by 9 for a quick cappuccino before we hopped back on the train to Milan (we just missed the 9:17 so took the 9:38 diretto).
Arrived Cadorna station went to the Green line metro and rode it 5 stops to the Centrale station. Where we found the market, bar and waited for Chris and Jen.
Long story short, let's just say the term basement bar is subjective and I now know exactly how to describe to someone how/where to meet in Milano Centrale.
And because it's 11:24pm and I've had much wine and am tired, I'm going to save the entire train story (which I think will forever make me smile) for tomorrow (hopefully).
Anyway, at 2:20pm we all rolled into the town of Sondrio which is wedged between these humongous mountains on both sides. I wouldn't be surprised if today, we filled their yearly quota of Americans (all in this single day).
I'm also going to skip the march to the hotel and the confusion over our rooms and for now just say, after a bedroom picnic, walking through the town, visiting a couple of bars, and dinner, my companions are all snug in their rooms and I'm here writing and I'm looking forward to just chilling tomorrow in the area, hoping I get to see this town in some sunlight before we leave.
I'll leave you with some more pictures.
Welcome to Sondrio (Chris and Jen)
Mountains around Sondrio - my camera doesn't do the view justice