Warning for slight discussion of my struggles with an eating disorder.
So, this Summer I was lucky enough to take three weeks with my boyfriend to visit the home of Pizza, Pasta and (the best food of all) Gnocchi… ITALY! Now, I’m going to split this trip into three parts (meaning three posts… wow I am really pushing the boat out here!): ‘day trips’, ‘pre-drive’ and ‘post-drive’. As we were away for so long, there is lots to talk about! Now, both my boyfriend and I are massive fans of Italian food; literally most times we go out for meals it is normally a pasta dish. So this was the main reason we chose Italy! This is kind of crazy to me; if you had told Abi a year or two ago that she would be choosing a holiday based on the spectacular taste of incredible carbs and cheesy sauces that you could not calculate or figure out the nutritional content for, she would not have believed it! She would have literally thought you were crazy! So it was exciting to realise the progress I have made (and also slightly terrifying to realise that I needed to maintain that progress whilst I was out there…)
So, the day trips (aka what this post is about) were Milan and Bologna!
Milan (1 night)
After a pretty chill two hour flight, we arrived into Milan around 8pm. It was the Malpensa Airport meaning we needed to get a bus to our hotel. This was a tad difficult when there were very little signs around to which bus we needed to take, it was dark, and Italians are a little impatient (no offence, and I know we Brits can be stuck up and annoying at times). After a few conversations with disgruntled bus drivers, we did manage to find the correct bus and make our jolly way to our B’n’B in San Siro! Our B’n’B was owned by the loveliest couple, giving us the warmest welcome to Italy and settling us in well. We felt so excited to be able to rest and as we hadn’t had tea, actually have something to eat!
But we didn’t quiiite feel like going out…
Yep, we ordered an UberEats. To be fair, I had this gigantic vegetable sandwich thing and it was honestly one of the tastiest things I ate all trip. The bread was nothing like I had ever tasted and honestly I’m getting hungry just thinking about it! My boyfriend ordered a Margarita Pizza (classic) and after trying some, I can agree with him that it was better than any Pizza we had had in the UK (although Franco Mancas Pizza wasn’t THAT far behind!). With ourselves rested and our tummies full, we went to bed feeling excited for all the incredible exploring and delicious foods we were going to experience!
The next morning, my boyfriend wanted to visit San Siro Stadium. It’s not MASSIVELY my thing, but I have been to a few Bristol Rovers matches which I enjoyed and I can understand the appreciation for football! I always love watching the crowds during the matches, the passion they have for their team is incredible (also a tad terrifying when they start yelling that the ref is a cunt). We got to visit the museum about AC and Inter Milan, see the team’s locker rooms AND go into the gigantic stadium! It did make the Rovers ground look like a bit of a shithole in comparison…
After having a surprisingly fun time wandering around, we made our way back to the B’n’B to grab our bags and head into the centre. Our host so was lovely and helped us to figure out our way in, as well as GIVING us an umbrella because the rain was so bad! It was Bed & Breakfast A San Siro 75. Highly recommend!
We managed to get a short underground train that brought us to the beautiful Central Station. Honestly, that place alone is pretty impressive!
Aaaand… sadly it started to completely pour it down! We only had a few hours until our train to Bologna and it wasn’t looking hopeful that we were going to be able to even leave the station to explore! We had to run to a cafe to grab some lunch, eating a pretty tasty baguette to be fair, before sprinting back to be sheltered by the station. It seemed like a fun, exciting city, but sadly there wasn’t much exploring for us here.
Bologna (1 night)
Luckily the rain had died off by the time we arrived in Bologna in the evening! Straight away we were stunned by how beautiful it was (and how many shelters there are, thank god!). We put our bags down at our new cute little B’n’B that had a lovely balcony over the river, before setting off to eat out for food.
We found a lovely restaurant (that sadly I can’t remember the name of! Sorry!). It was very romantic and beautifully lit outside, so we were very happy with our choice. This was our first introduction to THE (kind of) FREE BREAD! One of my favourite things about Italian restaurants is the generous servings of bread before your meals. This is something that would have made me shit my pants a couple of years ago, but now I just wonder, why was I ever even scared of bread? It’s not bad for you! Carbs AREN’T bad for you! So, this time I was munching on the soft dough as I waited for my meal. We even treated ourselves to wine to celebrate our first proper day in Italy. It was (I think) ‘Sangiovese Superiere’ – which actually was one of the cheapest bottles to buy. We absolutely LOVED it! We spent the rest of the trip looking for it to have again (sadly we only managed to find it once!). Then, came the main course… I had a veggie lasagna! And honestly, it was INCREDIBLE! It was four layers, filled with amazing cheesy goodness. Definitely the best lasagna I had ever had! (Okay maybe besides my Mum’s ones).
The next day we did some sightseeing before our train to Florence. We visited Piazza Maggiore and explored the beautiful little square. There were lots of incredibly detailed buildings and statues. We went to the Whispering Walls; if you go to Piazza Maggiore and then enter Palazzo Del Podestà. If you stand in one corner of the walls and whisper, anyone in the opposite corner of the walls can hear! It was a lot of fun whispering and getting freaked out how well we could hear each other! We then checked out The Fountain of Neptune which was cool and creative!
We then got to see the Two Towers and actually WALK UP the Asinelli Tower! There are 498 steps which did make us sliiightly sweaty messes, but it finished with the most beautiful panoramic view of the city which definitely made the climb worth it!
As we were then a liiiittle bit hot and gross, we knew we needed to get an ice cream, or, gelato. You’re definitely not limited on the choices in Italy; there is one pretty much on every corner in every big city! We ended up going to Cremeria Santo Stefano. I had a chocolate and almond gelato that came in a cute little cone. It was AMAZING! I felt comfortable managing the disordered thoughts, reminding myself why I was here and why I was okay to eat this sweet cone of goodness. I focused on the incredible taste and happy full feeling in my tummy. It was the first of many gelatos! You’ll definitely notice a theme here. It was a perfect end to our day trip of Bologna!
And we set of to Florence to continue our adventure…