Monday, September 24, 2012

Milan Fashion Week

Yes, you read that right. Milan Fashion Week. We didn't even know it was fashion week when we booked the flight, and that's just the tip of the iceberg of how unbelievably lucky we were with this weekend. I mean really though, how lucky can a girl get: "accidentally" booking a trip to be in the fashion capital of the world for fashion week. Seriously. Are you ready to hear the magnificence that was this weekend? Ok, buckle your seat belts. Here we go.

So Lindsey, Abbie and I had our flight out of Rome at 7 am on Friday morning. Since it was so early, we weren't sure that public transportation would get us there on time so we ordered a private car. Tony (the driver) picked us up at 5:15 (am) in his posh Mercedes. (Recap: We took a Mercedes private car to the airport to catch our flight to Milan Fashion Week. Who's life am I living?!) He was such a nice driver. When we got to the airport, he even took a picture of us for us. So sweet.

at the airport at 5:30 am

We walked right into the airport, made it through security, and got the gate with ease. We were worried that we wouldn't get seats together on the flight but that was no problem at all either! On the 150 passenger plane, there were about 30 people. I'm amazed they didn't cancel the flight! Just another stroke of luck for us! We took advantage of the flight to catch up on the sleep we had sacrificed for the early morning start. Slightly refreshed, we landed in Milan by 8. At that point we had yet to figure out how we were actually going to get into the city. When magically, we came upon the bus ticket counter! We got our round trip tickets, walked outside and the bus was right there. It took about an hour to get into the city and the bus dropped us at the Milan Central Station. Once there, we bought our 48 hour unlimited public transportation tickets for a mere 8 euros. BARGAIN. Since we needed our tickets to stretch until we left on Sunday, we decided to spend a few hours near the train station before we validated our tickets. So we made our way to a bar where we got a cappuccino and sat and talked for about an hour, just enjoying ourselves. After that, we walked around some more, window shopped, then grabbed a pizza at a cafe. 

Post lunch we hopped the metro, took it four stops, and found our hostel - again, with total ease. It was in a gated building and we had a room all to ourselves. On our way up the stairs inside the building, we met a very nice group of British boys. They were so sweet and their accents were to die for. We locked up our things and then headed out to see Milan. We took the metro to the famous shopping street Via Montenapoleone with the creme de la creme: Armani, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Dolce, and more. The stores were gorgeous, the clothes were luxurious, and the people were interesting - as only Milan could provide. Then we walked down another street where we saw La Scala (the Milanese opera house) and Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II (supposedly the first shopping mall) which then dropped us off right in front of il Duomo (the Milanese cathedral). We toured it then walked down one more street with some more affordable shopping and then took the metro back to the hostel for the night. 

Lindsey and I in Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II

in la piazza del duomo

That night was the best night of sleep I've gotten since I came to Italy. It must have been a combination of how tired I was, the fact that the mattresses were orthopedic, and that we spent the night with air conditioning for the first time since we got here. But who cares the reason, it was heaven. We started off the morning with the traditional Italian breakfast of a cappuccino and a pastry at a cute cafe near the city center. Then we went and toured the grounds of a castle, where we found a huge tent for the fashion shows! It was unreal, actually seeing where Milan Fashion Week takes place. It's like getting to see Santa's workshop. But prettier. After the castle, we made our way around the city hopping from place to place to shop in some recommended vintage stores and see a church that one of the ISA staff had recommended touring. Nearing the end of the day, we took a tram out of the city center to a more obscure neighborhood where we walked several blocks then turned down a carport between two buildings to find a hidden and huge designer fashion outlet. I'm talking all those shops on Montenapoleone, but discounted. So. Great. 

inside the castle grounds

inside the castle grounds

the fashion show tent 

After that last round of shopping, we went back to the hostel to drop off our purchases and get ready to go to dinner. We had been told about a neighborhood in southern Milan called Navigili where there were canals lined with wonderful restaurants. So we made our way down there and walked the canal until we found a cute little pizza restaurant where we sat inside a garden just in front of the entrance. The food was amazing and the atmosphere was perfect. It was just such a beautiful way to end our last night in Milan. 

at dinner

After another heavenly night of sleep, we checked out of the hostel the next morning and spent our morning shopping in yet another area of Milan before heading to the train station to catch our bus to the airport. Overall, I made it home with a new skirt, top, and belt: just enough to have from Milan without spending too much money! Yay! At the gate at the Milanese airport we met some nice guys who had just spent two days in Milan and were heading to Rome for one day before going back to Barcelona where they were studying abroad. Ironically, one of them was from Wake Forest - so it was fun to happen upon a fellow Demon Deacon while abroad! We made it back to our apartment by about 8:30 last night, dove into our homework, and then made it to bed. 

I think the most amazing thing about the first day (and really the whole weekend) was just how perfectly everything happened and fell into place. We talked about it once we were back at the hostel on the first night and all three of us agreed that it was just too perfect for luck. We thoroughly believed that God had orchestrated the day, guided us, and blessed us with the day. It sort of seemed like a gift, a gift to say "I'm in control, you don't need to worry about anything while you're in Milan, while you're in Rome, or at any other point in your life." Time after time things just worked out too perfectly. We never got lost, we never got turned around, and we did absolutely everything we wanted to do while we were there. It's amazing to see how his sovereignty reigns here in Milan and Rome just as it does at home in Texas.


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