Sunday, August 22, 2010

Day 11: Pizza

I apologize for a lack of images from this day. Nothing seemed as monumental as the previous day's wedding and not quite photo worthy. I'll try to piece together a reasonable account of our day anyway...

We had big intentions to travel Bergamo this morning but should have known that we don't rise early, particularly after a long night of revelry. It was a grey and cloudy day, so we took our time getting ready in the morning and headed to visit Davide around midday.

Davide is currently in between jobs and living at home with his parents. His father is retired and also at home during the day. We didn't have a good way to contact them, so we just decided to drop by. We found both of them at home in their pajamas while their wife/mother was at work. After some chit chatting, we decided it was lunchtime and we should have pizza (Kurt and I hadn't had any yet! Can you believe it!?). I was prepared to go to a restaurant in town, but Davide and his father are such homebodies, they suggested we go to the grocery store, get some supplies, and make a pizza at home.

The image above is the store we visited. It reminded me of Wal-Mart because they carried everything you could ever need in one place. I thought only Americans reveled in the big box store but we saw this chain everywhere. Their signage was out of control though. It seemed like everything was on sale (saldi) and they were molto excited about it.

I think we went a little overboard with the toppings. You could buy the pizza base with dough, cheese, and sauce. I can't even remember all the things we added, but it was overflowing and very delicious. We stayed and talked with Davide and his father for quite a while. They are both sweet and fun to spend the afternoon with. After we left their house, we had plans to meet the newlyweds, Claudio and Manuela, and go to some sort of festival or fair in Monza.

We met at their house around 7pm and needed to kill some time, so the locals took us on a short driving tour of Parco di Monza. Then we wandered around the town for a little while.

Monza was really interesting. I liked it a lot. It was dense but still laid back. The older architecture was beautiful but modern buildings fit in seamlessly. The size and traffic wasn't overwhelming. There was good shopping but Monza is only a short distance from Milan if you were looking for a more metropolitan experience. Plus, the park is one of the largest in Europe and maybe even the largest one enclosed by walls. Everything you could want!

As we walked around the town, you could hear some thunder rumbling in the distance and the clouds were beginning to look ominous. We should have stayed closer to the car because all of a sudden the bottom fell out of the clouds and it started pouring! All four of us sprinted towards the parking area. Once we got close enough, Kurt was a trooper and ran the rest of the way to retrieve the car while the Claudio, Manuela, and I took cover under an awning.

The deluge put a damper on our plan for the festival, so our next plan of attack was dinner. While our lunchtime pizza was delicious, it was a thick-crust style, and I was really craving a paper thin, wood fired one. Claudio suggested one of his favorite pizza places near Monza which sounded perfect. We hoped a) the rain would let up and b) we would find a close parking space. Neither happened, so we had to make a break for it again and run from the car to the restaurant.

The pizza menu was slightly overwhelming. They had every possible combination you could imagine--and even ones you would never think of! I debated between a few but landed on a spinach and ricotta version. I don't think I was creative enough for our Italian hosts and Claudio called my choice "a sad pizza." I just wanted something classic and simple. It was delicious. I devoured it before there was a chance to take a picture. Sorry.

It was a very laid back evening. We got to spend a little time with the newlyweds before they set off on their whirlwind honeymoon around the world. The rain was actually refreshing. Our entire trip had been so hot, the rinse was needed. By the time we left the restaurant, the storm had passed and Kurt was thrilled to see that the sky had cleared. Normally, the air around Milan is very smoggy and polluted but the storm had cleared the haze. We were really excited about touring around the next day to get some great views of the mountains. Look forward to pictures!

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