There is a lot of exciting stuff coming up, which I will without doubt write about later here. In three weeks, I am going to spend a long weekend in Dublin, during 'innovative learning week'. A couple of days ago, I had a very impulse buy-I bought a flight to Reykjavik. I'm going there in May after the exams, for a week. Is this the answer to my various whale dreams from 2012? I hope to see whales, beautiful landscapes, bathe in geothermal pools, and ride Icelandic ponies. That's not the only thing I have to look forward to...
I'm going to Milan in the second semester of the next academic year! I am still waiting to be allocated a place for France, though I hope I will be sent to Grenoble or Aix-en-Provence.
Why did I want to go to Milan, and not some other more traditional Italian city?
1. To beat the crowds. Ever been to Florence, Venice or the centre of Rome in July or August? It's not just hot in these beautiful cities, but there are also way too many people standing in front of amazing historical sites such as the colosseum. It's great being there off season, though if I were in one of these cities for a long period of time, I couldn't pick or choose.
2. An efficient (more or less...) metro system. The metro system in Milan is like the one in London, wherever you are, there is usually a station nearby. You can go to just about everywhere without walking too much. Whilst Florence hasn't got a metro system, Rome's is rather useless. It is understandable why; Rome being a city-museum, it must be difficult to reach all important sites given that there are so many treasures under the surface of the city, and so much archaeological work going on. That said, living in a big city is made 100 times more easy if there is a good metro system. When in Rome, I have always had to catch buses, trains, then buses again, then walk to reach the destination. Commuting in Milan is slightly more comfortable.
3. Milan doesn't only have a good metro system, but it is also connected to everywhere! You can catch a 6 hour train to Paris, a 2 hour train to Venice, an hour to Switzerland, or a 3 hour train to Rome. You can even take a train to Russia, from which you could take a train to Beijing, should you wish! I feel comfortable when I know I am not stuck, but instead pretty free to move independently. I look forward to taking advantage of this central location next year.
4. Milan IS beautiful. There's the impressive duomo which inspired Alan Lee's Minas Tirith, le colonne, reminiscent of a time gone by, the impressive castello sforzesco, the cultural last supper by Da Vinci and a wealth of other great works of art over at la Pinacoteca di Brera. Aside from these treasures, there is the up until recently neglected Naviglio, a series of canals with an array of boutique shops along the side. L'università degli studi is an impressive renaissance building with many courtyards, tucked away and out of site. Should I ever wish to escape the mayhem of city life, the magnificent Italian lakes are but a stone's throw away.
5. It's a real city, it's international, and it's certainly one of the most important cities in Europe in terms of design. With design comes hand in hand creativity, which I am hoping to find in the Lombardy's capital city.