Next, I went to Milan, Italy to visit my very good friend Matteo. Matteo is one of the most incredible people you will ever meet. He is second to none. He just has a zest for life and it energizes everyone around him. Its no wonder he is an artist (contemporary). While at his place, he & his family treated me like royalty. He gave me tours of Milan (including the Duomo), Bergamo, (his home town), and hiked in the Pre-Alps of North Italy.
(Hiking in the Pre-Alps)
Blowout! Matteo & I also went hiking for about 3 hours near Bergamo to get a nice view of the surrounding cities (you can see for miles). Well, just as we are about to reach the peak, one of Matteo´s boots completely blows out. It was like nothing I´d ever seen. As you can see, the entire sole just falls out. And before he reaches the bottom, he is walking with one foot in a boot and the other in a sock. Imagine walking on rocky, jagged terrain in socks for 3 hours. Incredible. I couldn´t help but laugh. I offered to trade boots but he wouldn´t have it. He handled it all in good spirits. It still makes me smile thinking about it.
Other interesing facts:
Matteo had to go to a couple of art exhibitions in Germany and he graciously rearranged his plans so I could tag along. Among others, we went to the Documenta Project in Kassel (only every 5 years) and the Sculpture Project in Munster (only every 10 years). I met so many great people, learned so much about art, especially contemporary art, and saw art I wouldn´t think humanly possible and had a great time.
Be careful when you stay with an Italian family. Especially if you are trying to watch your weight. Eating is quasi compulsary, although, I have to admit that I didn´t put up much of a fight. I don´t know where to start. I will say that the cuisine in the North of Italy is a little different from what you expect. But either way, it´s still great. And the ice cream, forget it. It should be illegal.
And in typical Frank style, the first time I drive in Europe (I helped drive back from the art exhibitions in Germany) I get pulled over by the police. Nice!