Monday, 21 April 2014


I thought time was going slowly, but having just looked back at my last blog update I can see that I wrote it on the 27th March. That's almost a month ago, but feels like last week. In hindsight however I can see that I did managed to fill up the last 3 weeks. Milan isn't really growing on me, though there is a lot to do here. I am pretty excited about leaving and being in a smaller and greener place. Here's a round up of what I have been up to in the last month...

At the end of March there was a Yelp event, Mi Casa Es Tu Yelp Casa. I invited three friends along to this little yelp event at Toasteria Mi Casa near the metro stop Turro. We each got treated to a little aperitivo with an aperol spritz and a choice of toasted sandwiches, many of which were vegetarian or vegan. As always, Yelp provides a great excuse to check out new areas of the city and meet new people. In early April I got to see Romain again, un ami grenoblois who came to visit, albeit for an evening. We enjoyed an aperitivo al Milanese at Ginger Cocktail Lab, caught up on life and love before heading to the cheesy residenza party that evening.

It had been a while, but I finally got to go climbing again. We went to a small climbing area near lake Como. Dorothy and I had severe nausea and felt a lot weaker than we had been previously, but we still managed a few vias and with a lot of pushing I did a super difficult 6b. We also got the pleasure of meeting a couple of new climbers who I hope to go out with again.

Heading to the University library a friend and I were surprised to see the courtyard transformed into a museum of Design. There were projection screens, curvy edges, an infinite staircase, a mirror tunnel and various transformations and mosaics. Free coffee was being given out from a futuristic silver bar which I think was one of the many installations.

After a week of stress trying to find accommodation during the fuori salone weekend, I finally managed to find a place for two nights which cost less than 100 euros. A special person came to visit me for the week, and we didn't hesitate to start the week with a bit of adrenaline, taking a train and a taxi to the Cremona Sky Team Drop Zone, free falling for 60 seconds (tandem) before our parachutes opened and eating some Japanese food when back on the ground.

The following day we headed to the Cinque Terre, a UNESCO world heritage site I had wanted to visit for quite some time. The Cinque Terre consists of five picturesque fishermen villages set against some stunning craggy cliffs in a lush and fertile national park. Arriving in Monterosso from Milan we took a boat to Riomaggiore. We would have taken a train but there was one of those dreaded public transport strikes. Riomaggiore seems to have the most budget traveler options, but it also seemed to be the quietest and most beautiful of the five towns. We walked around trying (and failing) to pick lemons, watching an incredible sunset, eating fresh pasta and farinata and just enjoying the beauty and relaxed local atmosphere. Riomaggiore reminded me of Cornwall with its dramatic cliffs and rocks, but it was quintessentially Mediterranean with its mild climate, citrus fruits and olive trees. We took a hike up to and beyond the church on the mountain, taking in the amazing scenic views and somehow seeing Asian rice terraces in every vineyard. To finish we ate pizza and watched the second episode of the 4th season of game of thrones, before heading out for a drink. The next day we spent sitting on beaches in Vernazza and Monterosso, eating focaccia and both getting progressively sicker.

So the next week in Milan was mainly spent coughing and taking aspirin and paracetamol to control symptoms, but we did manage to walk around Brera, check out a cool yelp elite event at SempreBio where we nibbled our way through hummus, vegan cake and farinata alle zucchine, eat Indian food and veggie burgers, climb (despite the fever), and watch a few movies. I still have said flu. Easter was more of an annoyance; it meant closed supermarkets, swimming pools, climbing hall and I didn't get any Easter eggs this year.

This evening I am heading off in what is most likely the last of the Milanese rain to see the Grand Budapest Hotel, fortunately in the original language. It would seem I do have enough things to do with my remaining time here, like a trip to see the Rocky Horror picture show, Turin, potentially canyoning, Lucca and Verona, and more climbing alongside a few essentials i.e. the close approaching literature exam...

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