I was fortunate to make it into Italy, as there was an airport strike causing most flights to be significantly delayed or even canceled. I touched down in Milan, quickly retrieved my bag, and was greeted by my friend Marco Molinari, whom I'd never actually met before. Many years ago I'd gotten to know Marco through email, as we both worked with Drupal, the same open source software I use for KernelTrap. He uses Drupal for his highly successful and humorous Italian website Bastardidentro, "Bastard Inside".
The week in Milan flew by. I used much of the time to catch up on email, though also got out to explore the city. I'd hoped my poor but practical Spanish speaking skills would be translate into poor but practical Italian speaking skills, and while it's true that between Spanish and English I've managed well enough, it seems my Spanish doesn't translate to Italian quite as easily as I'd hoped. So while in Milan hanging out with Marco and his friends, I heavily relied on his translation skills to be a part of the conversations.
My travel guide said I'd be impressed when I caught my first glimpse of the cathedral in Piazza del Duomo, and indeed it was right. This photo doesn't come close to doing it justice. My guide claims that the cathedral is comprised of around 135 spires and 3200 statues (though I didn't try counting to confirm), and took over 400 years to build, from 1397 to 1812.
Walking through a mall away from the cathedral leads to Piazza della Scala where the La Scala opera house is. Also in the square is this monument dedicated to Leonardo da Vinci.
I actually have no idea of the significance of this statue, I just thought it looked cool.
Marco and his girlfriend, Laura, and their Tai Chi instructor and his girlfriend, and I all went out for an absolutely amazing meal of pasta and lobster. The evening actually started with Marco and I sitting in his flat talking computers while sampling fine cheeses dipped in honey and the appropriate red wine. Actually, it started off with innocent sampling, but being Italian, Marco is quite passionate about his cheese and wine, and so it became a wonderfully philosophical event of near-overindulgence.
On the weekend we drove west to the Mediterranean to a little village just south of Genova and sampled pizza, focaccia bread covered in cheese, and gelato. I certainly have not been starving on this trip, much to the contrary it has been an absolute gastronomic delight.
Looking north along the western coast of Italy. We passed through a heavy rainstorm after crossing the mountains and nearing the Mediterranean Sea, but fortunately it turned into sunshine by the time we got out of the car.
Driving south along the Mediterranean coast.