Da Pope, Brenna, Pigeons, Gelato, CIAO!

Author: Ale /

My last day in Europe has been wonderful, and a little bittersweet.
The past three weeks have really flown by and I'm really going to miss being here with my best friend :)
Today turned out differently than I expected...
We started the day here at the Vittorio Emanuele shopping center... we walked around doing some shopping here and there and seeing a few sites in this area before Brenna's train was due to come in.

Then we headed to train station to pick up this girl :)
Sisters reunited!
Brenna is Meryl's sister, our former roommate, and one of my favorite people in the world!
She has been in Italy for the past 5 weeks doing a study abroad.
She brought along her friend Devin from her study abroad since he was leaving from Milan too.
At one point during the day he said he felt like he was in an episode of Gilmore Girls... we were pretty excited to be together again :)

We headed back to the center of town to go to the Duomo -
It's pretty gorgeous right?
We were excited to climb to the top, but when we got there it was closed...
We started to realize the whole entire city was shutting down...

And there were a million police

And t-shirts...

I was tempted to get one of these...

Then a crowd started to gather and we realized the one person in this world who could shut down the city and make it impossible to see any sights was on his way.

Yes ladies and gentleman today, I saw the pope!
Here we are waiting to see him... 

We actually waited to see him come from the airport...got a little bored, and ended up just going to dinner instead.

When we came back from dinner we lined up again to see his grand exit.
The police were everywhere...

This guy was intense

Devin was crying from the joy of seeing the pope.

We got a little bored... and Meryl and Brenna discovered they have the same camera.

Love us!

Meryl caught me being a creeper and taking pictures of other people waiting for the pope...

Even the kids were excited

This lady made my day :) 
She was just patiently waiting to see the pope 

Finally... yes finally.. we saw him!
He had a cool car huh?

We celebrated  by eating gelato- go figure.

Since the whole city was shut down... our big plans to see the Last Supper, La Scala Opera House, the Duomo and so much more were kinda thrown out the window...but I loved it all the same.

Sisters :) 

Spinning on the mosaic bulls in the Vittorio Emanuele ... it's supposed to be good luck.

Seeing the sights walking around Milan...

And then back to the Duomo to get on the metro

and here begins a series of seriously awkward photos of the three of us

This is my personal favorite:


I think we finally got a normal one before the birds attacked us.


The pigeons in the square were crazy!
It didn't help that men were walking around with food trying to get them to jump on you for pictures. 


Devin pulled of the look


Meryl did not.


Brenna and I wanted nothing to do with it and actually ran away screaming a little bit... those pigeons were nasty!
Here is a picture of Meryl and I running away after she came to her senses.

We ended the night with gelato- duh!

We were so tired by the end of the day, and nothing seemed to work out the way we planned, but I loved it all the same.

This really has been the trip of a lifetime and I'm pretty sad to have to leave tomorrow, but I know I will always look back on this time as something so special and unique- I conquered Europe with my best friend and we had experiences here were would never have anywhere else.
I'm just so glad I got to come!
Tomorrow morning I head back the states - Meryl and Brenna will head to Greece on Monday.
Ciao Europe- I love you dearly and will be back to visit again soon!

Cinque Terre to Milan

Author: Ale /

Today will be a very boring day to read about- so to those faithful readers out there (that exclusive club of about 3 people) I'm deeply sorry.
I can't believe I'm down to my last 24 hours in Europe!
Time has just flown past and I've loved every moment :)
Today we woke up and took our bags down to the beach for Diego to keep a hold of until we left on the train.
Diego is Megan's boyfriend and the beach he manages is right in front of the train station.
It was the most convient place to leave our bags... except we had  to get them down stairs and through some sand to lock them up... 
Don't worry though, he hefted Meryl's bag on his shoulder and carried mine all while carrying on a conversation with us.
Seriously- Diego and Megan were SO nice to us... I want to move back there and just be friends with them.

Once our bags were safe we walked around the village a little bit more.
We said goodbye to my favorite chef.

Then it was back to Milan

Meryl was hard at work journaling 

She didn't even sleep!
Ok, she did for about 10 minutes... I slept longer than her this time!

Here we are at Milan Central... we will be back here tomorrow to pick up BRENNA!
I can't wait to see her :) 

On our way to the subway we ran into some missionaries :)
Today was transfers and we basically walked up and started talking to them- bet they were surprised to hear ELDERS!!! in the middle of the subway station.
We all got tickets- they needed change and we needed directions so we helped each other out.
We were headed in the same direction part of the way so we got to talk to them.
They are from Utah and Texas.. and they graduated high school in 2010 and 2011.
2011 people!
Meryl and I started to feel kinda old right about then!
We said goodbye at the next station, but we are grateful for their help- seriously the Italian subway system is the most confusing one we've used thus far.
Good luck to those two elders!  

The subway was SO crowded- we had to wait for a few trains before we could even squeeze on.
They were packed in there like sardines... and there is no air conditioning.

We checked into our hostel.
That's our bed.

This is a man's bed also in the room.

This is the bathroom. In the room.
So are we.
Luckily, we found another bathroom and we showered there... also the man staying on our room is REALLY uncomfortable being in the same room as us... so I doubt he is going to try showering with us in there anyway.

This was our dinner.

And this was dessert. 
Yes, that is nutella... we couldn't find gelato so we had to take some drastic measures.
(p.s. Meryl is a hand model and I'm supposed to tell you she is open for gigs)

The only other entertainment for the night was me skyping with Seth.
This happens pretty regularly so I figured it was about time I documented it.

Oh look! Meryl caught him smiling!

Tomorrow we are off to see the sights of Milan and pick up Brenna from the train station.
It'll be my last day in Europe!
My mom sent me an email tonight and I just thought I'd share a part of it.
She is the most amazing person and I love her so much- just read this and you'll know why :)
 I am so glad you got to go on this trip with Meryl. It truly was the chance of a lifetime! I hope you ate gelato, laughed, experienced life, and had a ball!!! You guys will look back on this time in your life as such a precious memory, something that only you guys share along with all your other memories of college. You two are lucky to have such a great relationship, there is nothing like a best friend, and you two have been through a lot together. BFF ALE and MERYL! Enjoy your last few days. WE LOVE YOU AND MISS YOU!
 Have fun with Brenna-  GO BAREFOOT,  LAUGH, and HAVE FUN!!!!  I will be thinking of you both!!     
Love, Mom
Don't worry mom, we ate gelato, laughed, went barefoot, and had the time of our lives :)
I love you!