About a month ago, I finally went back to Milan.
It had been almost a year since I'd actually properly visited the city I once lived in. For many reasons. Well, one big one actually. I've already written about it, here and here and in short, returning to those streets and piazze was quite a big deal.
There are hundreds of little things I'd forgotten about that make up trips to Italy and each one was revealed to me step by step. The battle to form a coherent queue at Stansted. The infuriating little shuttle buses that take you from plane to terminal on the other side, even if the two are barely twenty metres from each other. The surprising kiss of air that's a few degrees warmer than you expected. The heavy blooms of wisteria that appear so much earlier than ours. The driving. The food. La dolce vita.
I woke up that first morning and found myself in the middle of a memory. The scent of sandalwood from the reed diffuser, the rolling song of church bells, the warmth. (My goodness, the warmth!) Our friend Liam was staying too to so we jumped out of bed and went for a wander around the city to look for breakfast.
From there, we made our way across the bridge towards the new apartment buildings and out towards the Giardini Pubblici.
well worth a visit for any taxidermy fanatics (wow that's an old post, hello iPhone 4 photography!).
(I took an empty backpack over with me and pretty much filled it with cheese for the journey home - it's been a good five weeks and I still have pecorino in the fridge!)
To complement the perfect pasta, we spent the early afternoon with the rest of Milan in the queue for the Gelateria della Musica.
They easily sell some of the best gelato in Milan and have recently opened up a few more shops around the city. We went back to the original on Via Pestalozzi.
Don't be put off by the crowd, it's an incredibly fast-moving queue!
From there, it's a ten minute walk back to the Navigli and la Darsena, which were both full to bursting with flocks of people and flower markets.
La Santeria always feels like a secret, no matter how busy its secluded courtyard gets in the summer months. Hidden away down an otherwise residential street, it's very easy to miss.
The aperitivo was wonderfully vegetarian and exceedingly tasty. It's not quite as abundant as some other offerings in the city (I mean, the aperitivo by definition is supposed to be an appetiser, not a meal) but we felt reasonably well fed by the time we left.
But not before a drunken ride home on one of the classic trams, still in operation from the 1920s!
(I think they should get rid of all the other kinds and just make more of these to be honest)...
By the time we got home, appetites were absolutely raging again so we staggered into Baladin for steak and beer (well, for the guys anyway) before finally crashing into bed and sleeping our long, long day away.