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To InfITALY and Beyond!

Friday, June 14, 2013

  It's new, super, awesome adventure update time! For those of you that don't want to read the full write up, scroll down for the highlights. Now for my much appreciated super readers, enjoy!
   Lucky me got to go on a trip to Italy with Sune two days after finishing my work as an Au pair. What an awesome way to celebrate and spend my time before returning home. 
Typical flying picture  
  So, we got to Milan early on June 6th for a long day of exploring. Instead of waiting two hours for a bus, we decided to walk to our destination for hiking... 60km to Verbania? "Sure we can do that in a day!" The cute, old, Italian men fishing along the river saw the humor in that goal. But we set out anyway and had a really pretty walk along a river. This would've led us the whole way, but due to our lack of planning with no food, water, or reliable map, and growling tummies, we strayed off the river to find some food. We found a restaurant where we managed to order something (they hardly spoke any English, but I recognized pollo) that turned out to be super awesome pollo. After a couple wrong turns, we wound up in a town called Vertiage. After 6 hours of walking and a long way to go, we opted for a train to Verbania instead... An excellent idea. This beautiful train ride through the mountains, along a big lake, through fancy villas, and sitting down(!) made us quite happy. It was free too! Definitely a plus. 
  So we arrived in Verbania and found a campsite... Where I think we were the only ones without kids.  Even so, it was a super pretty location with a beach, the lake, and the mountains in the background, and "everything we could need in one place," including a good meal, a market for our breakfasts, kayaks, and more. We ended the night with really good gelato on the beach and enjoying a thunderstorm. Super nice night.
  We planned to satisfy our super outdoorsy, risky, nature freak selves the next day and ditch the family campground for a secluded mountain, buuut the convenience of the campsite and not having to trek with our backpacks won us over. We still managed to save some face with our slightly dangerous, 2 hour kayaking trip turned 6 hour hiking adventure; We rented a kayak and went to find a stream to lead us up a mountain. First we climbed steep, slippery rocks, then moved to the overgrown, steep, thorny side. If it weren't for Sune's encouragement to keep going for "some fence and building that looked cool" (that somehow convinced me), we might've missed out on an amazing hike, where we passed through a really cute village called Mergozzo, saw a cool church with a wishing well inside, and finally made it to the top for an incredible view where we relaxed a bit with some birds before making our way back down. 



  Dark skies and thunder had us worried for the hike down. But, as with most things on this trip, it worked out, we found our way down, feeling wild and free running down the mountain, and the rain waited for us to get to the kayaks like we'd hoped for! Those steep cliffs would've been that much more terrifying going down in the rain! When we got to the campsite and I was cooling off in the water, there five men were walking over to Sune. I was sure we were going to get some sort of fine for taking the kayaks out too long, be kicked out of the campsite, or even a fine for the possible search party of us. But no fine. No exile. All good. 
  This night, we had the best dinner at a restaurant in Verbania... Super duper salmon with fennel for me, and the best red wine. And the best creme brûlée! All the best. We got granted another wish that night with more bedtime rain and thunder to be enjoyed in our tent. 
  The next day, we went for a fun swim and enjoyed the beach before heading to Milan. We stayed at Hotel Kennedy, a decent hostel, but as Sune learned later in the week... maybe don't stay downstairs. But we were just excited about a bed instead of the hip-bruising, back-aching ground with no pillows. 
  We hadn't done much research at all about the city, so we just went out for dinner (but not before some gelato) and finding the Duomo (the only thing I'd seen about Milan). It was a pretty spectacular, ridiculously intricate church (on the outside... The cathedral was closed). Conveniently though, some big music event was going on outside it. 
  I think I gave the boy an overdose of picture taking, as I failed to look like a decent human in any of the pictures.

The most decent of all the pictures
Denmark's flag in Milan! :)
  Next we just walked around before having a much appreciated beer and piña colada at a pretty spot outside. We were pretty indecisive about what to do, and ironically were both worried about the other thinking we were boring because we weren't in the party mode we thought we should be in while out in Milan. So we went to one more place a local recommended before realizing we were both content with just going home. It was a good but emotional last night of the trip... This whole moving thing keeps doing that to me. 
  I flew home the next morning, while Sune stayed for four more days. This was one unbelievable trip and I'm so glad we got to go. We kept saying that even our "bad decisions" or "wrong turns" worked out great and led us to new, exciting options. Hiking the mountains and exploring Italy with my favorite guy? Seemed and still seems like a dream. Those were three memorable days. 

  And now for those of you without 2 hours to read my detailed account of three days (and I don't blame ya!) here's our... Dun dun dun duuun! ...
High Fives for Italy 
Pretty river walk from the airport to Vertiage (6hours)
Delicious pollo
Super beautiful, relaxing train ride from Vertiage to Verbania after all that walking
 The campground "with everything you'll ever need"
Kayaking to our crazy mountain hike 
Feeling wild and free running down the mountain  
Mountain man Sune 
Conquering the thorns and finding the way down the mountain 
Cold mountain lake water on our scratched bodies
Not getting a crazy fine for a possible police search
Playful swim and sun bathing
Gelato on the beach
Thunderstorms and rainy nights in the tent
Best meal in Verbania: salmon with fennel, the best red wine, and creme brûlée 
Good luck with the sun and rain 
Strawberry mango gelato before dinner
Refreshing drinks in Milan
The Duomo (the only thing I knew about Milan) and balloons 
Our Italian names: Abbigalamenta and Acqua don Sune Leon(or something like that)
Our "wrong turns" always leading us to good things 

Our view for gelato and thunderstorms

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