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Milan, Italy May 18, 2004 Tuesday

Milan, Italy

We left the hostel around 10am to catch our 11:19 train to Milan. The plan was to do a day tour of the city and sample Milan's signature dish - Risotto ala Milanese. We arrived around 1pm and spent perhaps an hour to make a reservation for my trip back to Geneva that evening. Apparently, I had to pay an extra E9.20 for a mandatory reservation (on top of the E53.60 train ticket). I was already running low on Euros at that point.

We were starving and finding Brecks, a recommended Risotto place close to the station, was a relief. I can't say it's as good as what I hoped it would be, but I'm sure it's only because we didn't have the luxury of combing through the city in search of the best place for it. Nonetheless, Risotto in Milan? How can I complain?

Armani Emporium
Naomi's must-see in Milan is the Armani Emporium. We were on our way to it after lunch. The heat of the day was scorching. We had to walk through the park to get some shade...and rest. We came upon a few novelty items along the way. Not surprisingly, the only thing affordable to us was an Armani cherry chocolate liqueur, which we partook together with espresso in their outdoor café. I took a liking to the olive-colored sports jacket, but at E367.00, I wasn't ready to cash-in my retirement nest egg yet.

My alarm beeped signaling us to make it back to the station for my 6:10 train to Geneva. This is where Naomi and I say our goodbyes and go about our own ways. She'll be staying overnight in Milan with a friend before she heads out to Venice, then Florence, Rome, Pompeii, etc.

I never planned on traveling with anyone but hooking up with Naomi for wine in Paris and later on making plans to travel together was an unexpected, surprising and pleasant curve ball. Her quick-thinking, good instinct, pragmatism and derring-do immeasurably helped in making the trip less cryptic and enjoyable - after all, despite following the familiar conventions of traveling, every city has its own nuance of doing things. There's always the element of winging something. Naomi's quite adept at that. Our conversation was endless. In our usual 8 to 10 hour city-tour, we would walk and talk - we could have talked indefinitely about everything under the sun.

Our friendship has definitely come a long way since that moment we met at Burning Man last year. It's hard to imagine now how my travel would have gone without that chance meeting in Paris. We keep saying it's a small world. I'm sure it is and our paths will cross once more.

The train ride took a grueling 4 hours going through the mountainous villages in northern Italy, through the Alps until I finally reached home away from home. Unfortunately, the train offered no 110-volt outlet for my battery charger. I'll have to conserve use of the camera.

It was a joy seeing Ginny again.

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