While I’m not sure anyone is still reading this (hi mom?) I will say that there will be an even longer hiatus. I am returning to the United States for three months this summer and there will be a lack of all things Italian in my life. However, I will return to the blogging and my adventures in September when I make my way back to Milan. Next years plans include Sicily, Sardinia, and Pompeii.
I have really neglected this blog! It’s been almost a full month since my last post and a lot has happened. While I’ve been faithfully journaling and telling my friends about my latest adventures, the blogging aspect has fallen by the wayside to the excitement of springtime and travel. I promise to get it up and running again with more frequent updates.
things to catch up on:
my friend Brenda came to visit, we went to Rome
Spring has come to Milan!
Day trip to Como
Weekend trip to London
I’ve been very busy lately with tutoring and my Italian class, but I do promise to turn some of my experiences into blog entries soon.
One of the best travel tips I ever received was to “go where the locals are”. If you show up to a place and see lots of Italians eating there, you know you’re at an authentic place (or McDonalds, but that’s a story for another day).
This is the story of how a doughnut and a pizza met, and created a magical treat, the panzerotti. Here’s a fun fact for you, panze means “bellies” and rotti means “broken”, so translated quite literally this bad boy will break your tummy with it’s deliciousness. I’ve been told by my Italian friends that it actually means “bread broken” but technically panze is the plural of stomach. Happy coincidence. They also hate when I compare it to a doughnut…. but it is.
This bad boy has a sweet, slightly crunchy hot doughnuty outside, and a warm melty cheesy tomatoey inside. Forgive all my made up words, I hope you’re getting the picture. It’s heaven. It’s sweet and savory, and it’s creamy and chewy.
I was introduced to this golden lovechild of a pizza and a doughnut by a Milanese friend, and I will forever be indebted to them for it. I will probably also be working off what it’s done to my waist, but you’ve heard me rant about that enough.
Remember those silly yogurt commercials where women sat around eating yogurt and coming up with ways to top each others, “This is sooo good” statements? That’s exactly what happened upon my first bite. "This is like, getting a dozen roses good. No, this is like, free upgrade to first class good. This is like, someone had the brilliant idea to put a pizza inside of a doughnut good."
Where do you get this golden creation? Luini’s of course! The panzerotto is actually an immigrant to Milan from the south of Italy, in Puglia. The Luini’s first set up shop in a little bakery on Via San Radegonda in 1949 and has been in their same modest location ever since. The secret to their success lies in their fresh ingredients and family tradition, and keeps people coming back for more.
Luini’s is one of those magical places that is mentioned in every travel book, website, and guide but yet still remains an extremely favorable spot for locals. You can show up to their humble store in Milan at any time of the day and expect to see a line of at least 20 or 30 people waiting outside. Don’t be intimidated, the line moves fast and belieeve you me, it’s worth it. You can find Luni’s a mere 2 minute walk from the Duomo, which essentially marks the center of Milan. It’s one of those places in Milan that I have on my list of “Places to Take my Friends or Family Should They Visit Me”. That list really exists.
Speaking of which, I am unbelievably excited for my friend Brenda to come visit me at the end of the month. It’s been FOREVER since I’ve seen her and she’s the first (and probably only) one of my friends to visit me in Milan. We are planning to go to Venice post Carnivale, and then take an overnight train to Rome. I’m crazy excited. I’ve never been to Rome and am so happy I get the chance to do it with a friend I’ve known since freshman year of high school. I also can’ t wait to show her the city I’ve called my home for the past almost six months.
Can’t wait to write about how we broke our bellies with panzerotti and explored Rome.
Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life - and travel - leaves marks on you. Most of the time, those marks - on your body or on your heart - are beautiful. Often, though, they hurt.
English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren’t invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig. And why is it that writers write but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it? If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell? How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? Have you noticed that we talk about certain things only when they are absent? Have you ever seen a horsefull carriage or a strapfull gown? Met a sung hero or experienced requited love? Have you ever run into someone who was combobulated, gruntled, ruly or peccable? And where are all those people who ARE spring chickens or who would actually hurt a fly? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which an alarm goes off by going on.
First an apology for the lack in updates, the past two weeks I’ve gone through (another) bout with tonsilitis and Milan has had a record breaking snowfall!
Yesterday was the official five month anniversary of living in Italy and my waistline ain’t happy bout it. I’ve been eating like I’m on vacation. I have zero interest in becoming obese so I’m cutting back on the pesto and I finally joined a gym here in Milan, unbelievably expensive and extremely underwheling as far as gyms go.
I won’t go as far to say that women aren’t allowed in this particular gym (did I join a gay gym? I still don’t know. The Adele remixes are confusing), but I will say that in the past two weeks I’ve only seen one other chick besides myself and she was RIPPED. You can tell that gyms here are mostly for guys because of the equipment. There is ONE elliptical, and about twenty treadmills. The rest of the gym is filled with weights and upper body building equipment. The upside to this is that I don’t have to fight anyone for the elliptical, the downside is that I spend most of the time avoiding eye contact with sweaty italian guys. I paid a lot of money for this monthly membership so even that won’t keep me from getting my sweaty expat on. One more smoking complaint about Milan? People actually wait outside and smoke cigarettes in between workouts. Serious.
To compliment my new, hitting the gym lifestyle for the past week or two I’ve been trying to buy fresh produce and making lots of vegetable soups. The Italian version of vegetable soup actually looks like green baby food, they steam a lot of vegetables and then mash them up, like the zuchinni version of mashed potatoes. It’s pretty gross. They also put pasta in it. Not lying at all when I say that it’s really unappetizing. But I’m beginning to see how Italians stay skinny, they eat this mushy stuff a lot. As a main meal.
I’ve gotten some requests to get a little more “foodie” in my blog, so I promise the next couple entries will be all about Italian food (that I won’t be eating). To quote a fellow expat friend of mine, I would write about what food I’m eating over here but peanut butter out of a jar just really isn’t that interesting!
Lately I’ve been missing Italy in my life. Milan is such an international city, it’s easy to forget you’re in Italy. Bologna has been on my list of places to visit ever since I read the book “The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler” when I was a kid. I wanted to visit the museums, the churches, and the piazzas of such an old and beautiful city. I wasn’t let down a bit, Bologna remains a charming and medieval city with culture and history at every turn. My friend Sophie and I explored Bologna all day, taking the scenic 3 hour “slow train” both ways. On our return trip back to Milan we nearly missed our train by seconds, typical. Also typical? Our return tickets were never checked. Italy never ceases to amaze me.