The other week, our little clan in Milan (lol) was forced to say goodbye to one of its dearest members.
Harriet (the one on the right) came to the end of her Milanese soggiorno and headed back to the UK this weekend just gone.
But we couldn't just let her go without celebrating the amazing year we've all had!
Unfortunately Laura and Martina couldn't be with us but we ate, drank and laughed for their share too!
After all, how could you not with friends like these?
We headed to Trattoria Arlati near Bicocca which is where Mollie (above left) and I had our first pre-theatre date.
It's an absolutely beautiful Milanese trattoria which has been serving delicious food in an atmospheric setting since 1936.
Another motivation was the amount of free stuff you get if you're a young, foreign female. Cheeky.
The meal kicked off with prosecco on the house and a basket of focaccia which Mollie and I ate more than our fair share of.
We then shared a couple of plates of tuna carpaccio and prosciutto and mozzarella before digging into the pasta.
Every time I go to Arlati, I can't help but order the tortelloni with butter and sage. It's just too beautiful.
Harriet went for the squid ink pasta stuffed with prawns. I had a sneaky bite and it was delicious!
After the first couple of courses and a substantial amount of wine, Mollie, Jessica, Sophie and I decided it was time to give Harriet her leaving presents.
You might remember when we wandered around Eataly for the first time. Harriet spotted a bright pink Eataly bag and fell in love with it on the spot.
We were incredibly mean and bought her the bag plus a few other goodies to go in it (pasta, sauce, chef hat.... really sophisticated and authentic Italian gifts) and then I turned up at the metro station with it on my shoulder. Now you should know that Harriet is seriously envious of my baby blue Zara coat so when she saw me turning up with the coat AND the bag which appeared to be mine, she absolutely lost it!
It was hilarious watching her suddenly realise when we handed it over to her. She couldn't quite believe it and then when she did, things got a bit emotional.
But she quickly perked up...
And things really started to go downhill from there, especially for Mollie and I seeing as we are absolute gluttons and couldn't keep our hands off the wine bottle(s)..
The staff at Arlati were amazing and gave Harriet one of their hand-painted plates bearing the trattoria's name as a gift. They also put a candle in her pudding which I had considered requesting but wasn't sure if it was the done thing in Italy...
After pudding, things deteriorated further. We began to demonstrate our favourite Italian hand gestures and spent the rest of the night absolutely wetting ourselves laughing. I wish I could remember why but I really really can't!
Sadly, a few hours later, it was actually time for us to leave before the metro shut for the night!
Our lovely waiter took a photo of us in front of the strange card ostrich thing before sending us off out into the night to stumble around and try and find our way back to Milan central.
Thankfully we did actually manage to find the metro. And we sat at the front like drunk children and marvelled at how the train moved without a driver. Big front windows are the best!
Then it was time for one last photo with the festeggiata before I bid them goodbye at Garibaldi.
And with a strange little dance, they were gone!
Ciao Harriet, it was so lovely being here in the city with you and the last few months won't be the same without you! Too bad we're at the same uni right? Let the games begin in September...