I remember the first time I went to Italy when I was just 21.
I was on business tour and moreover my first foreign visit. So ultimately it was more like a leisure trip for me. I went alone to Italy via Dubai. I was tensed earlier to visit a completely foreign land when I actually do not have any command over Italian language and they too don’t entertain English so much. No cellphone with Italian sim.. nothing.. What I had was my luggage, 3000 Euros and address of Hotel.
The moment I landed up on the airport, I was so worried whether the taxi I had booked for the hotel from airport will arrive or not.. what if it doesn’t? Terrifying. I followed the instructions on the airport.. like immigration and all..Fortunately all went smoothly. I collected my baggage and moved towards the exit. Husssshhhhhh… Sigh of relief when I saw a person holding a board of my name!! He was very friendly guy. He dropped me safely at the hotel and also shown some beautiful places on my way to the hotel. It took me 4 hours to reach to the hotel since Pope arrived in Milan the same day to install some gold statue on Duomo. Hectic but went smoothly.
I was in Milan, the fashion capital of the world and there were all these eighteen, nineteen, twenty-year-olds gliding past on Vespas with crinkly, long, hair, and I thought I was on the set of a movie. I couldn’t believe that this was going on and I hadn’t known about it before. As a fashion capital there is symbol of Thread and needle at one of the stations in Milano… starts from C… oooppss… I forgot the name.. But I was flabbergasted with the beauty. Wow.. I mean simply wow..!!!
It was spring when I went to Italy so every view was so damn pleasant. Every gallery of home had beautiful flowers and everything was just like Heaven. Pretty amazing and totally new experience for me. I met few of my office colleagues who were already there. I had authentic Italian lunch. Had some rest and setting up the things for office next day.
It’s evening and to my surprise the sunset view from my window was so beautiful.. beyond words. I could see Alps (swiss mountain) from my window with a thin layer of snow on it which was shining in golden Sunrays…!! Awesome isn’t it?
First day of office… woke up at 3am… as per Indian time 6am habbit. 😛
It was raining heavily. Thank god, I had brought my umbrella. Got ready on time…went to station.. struggled initially but could manage with Belletti (ticket) and reached to office.. I had never seen my boss before..nor any one in my Italian team. I met him.. wow.. so friendly and kind.. he is 45 years old and treats me like his own daughter…!! All my team of 4 was so so so friendly that I didn’t even feel that I am on foreign land. Had great lunch in the office and I enjoyed the most beautiful view of Alps from my working place as well. My office was located at the heart of the city which is known as the most expensive place in Milano – Garibaldi.
My team used to bring Italian cuisines for me everyday.. sometimes used to take me to Gelato (Ice-cream) parlor.. , Duomo – Milan cathedral, Como lago, Galleria vittorio Emanuele, Sforza castle, Brera art gallery, Royal palace of Milan and all other beautiful places in Milan. And finally to Pizzeria for pizza party.
I went to Italy for my office training but that is not the interesting thing to describe here. 😛
Next weekend was to Rome. It takes a whole week to cover whole Rome. though I could manage to visit the important destinations in one day like Trevy fountain, Colosseum and outside view of Vatican city. 😦
Next time to Venice… the most romantic city in the world… I wish I would have gone there with my loved one.. but no worries life is too long to visit Venice again. :p
Venice was the great experience… lovely.. went to Basilica di San Marco, a clock tower, enjoyed an iconic gondola (Venetian boat), bridge of sighs, glass factory., grand canal, doges palace, St. Mark square, San Rocco, Cannareggio, specialty gift shops and what not… honestly I don’t remember lot many names now…!! Had a great day…!!!
Next time to Florence… The name itself is romantic.. isn’t it?
I visited Florence cathedral, Basilica of Santa cross, Palazzo vecchio, and the golden bridge where you can buy purple gold. I just loved Florence. In Florence you can buy genuine leather..and the genuine made in Italy ties – i.e. Gold city ties. I bought genuine leather jackets, purses and wallets for myself and all family members…!! Can I gift them anything better than this?
The journey to Florence was more memorable because I went their by EuroStar which is known as the fastest train in Europe. It disappears within a blink of one’s eye. I kept all my shopping stuffs in the train and forgot to take it when I got down. I started walking towards the station and I realized that I forgot it in train… my heart started beating too faster… afterall it was a matter of 600 Euro (42000 Rs). :O
I started running towards a train and told the conductor that I forgot my luggage in train. and the Kind Italians….. !!! Specially stopped the train for me … let me get in.. I took out my luggage comfortably and came out…!! In fact people helped me to take it out… I thanked them hundred times… and the response was so sweet…”My pleasure pretty lady…” I was really impressed with the kind gestures of Italian…!! I still am..!! 🙂 🙂
Next destination.. Ravenna for plant inspection with my boss. I went to Ravenna in car… where I visited several beautiful places…like Emily, Verona. Verona is a Romeo and Juliet city. I was fascinated with the river there which was of clear crystal blue color with colored pebbles. The water is so clear that even if you drop a pin into water, you can easily see the pin going into water and settling on the pebble. Never experienced such thing in life. I saw the houses of Romeo and Juliet… Only one word.. Awesome..!!
On my way to Ravenna, I went to 3 motor factories, BMW, Ferrari and Alpha romeo. The officer in Ferrari gifted me a small dummy Ferrari toy…!!Glee… gonna show it off..!! 🙂
Went to the site… the plant which needs to be inspected was itself amazing… it was on the border of Croatia in Mediterranean sea… 🙂 Went there… saw the border…!! Day ended…!!
Time in Milano came to an end… I might have not listed hundreds of places I had explored in Italy.. names are pretty difficult to remember for me… one is Sabato Market… !! My favorite…!! 🙂 , Prada showroom…, Swarovski… Only I know how much I have shopped from this fashion capital.
I have an habit of buying souvenir from every place I visit.. thus, my bag was full of Prada purses, Swarovski pendants, Venzian masks, Glass articles from Glass factory.. leather jackets, hats, wallets, purses… chocolates.. lots of gifts from my teammates..and too many to list if I remember it now. 🙂
I had too many foreign tours afterwards.. but first tour is always memorable one… I went there alone and learnt each and everything… It made me confident enough to survive on any piece of land in the world…!!
Ms. Prajkta Waditwar