The final week was also interspersed with museum trips to see the places remaining on the to do list, such as the Library of Congress. Thomas Jefferson’s personal book collection is the envy of any polymath. There were also plenty of farewell coffees and lunches to finish out the internship, with one last group trip to M.E. Swing’s for espresso.
On Saturday morning, I packed my gear and headed off to the airport for the next stage of the adventure. How I made it there is a miracle.
I had called an UberX car to get me to the airport, since I wasn’t prepared to navigate the metro system to Dulles. It turned out to be one of the scarier rides I have taken in my life. To begin with, the driver took a wrong exit and we nearly ended up in Baltimore. Then they took another wrong exit and ended up on a toll road, with the driver speeding through the checkpoint with reckless abandon.
Then, in an attempt to make up for lost time, the driver started speeding along the freeway at 85mph (~135kph) in a 55mph (~90kph) zone, the car being half in one lane and half in another. They told me when we reached the airport that they would give me a five star passenger rating; I’m guessing because I didn’t freak out on him.
But I made it to the airport in one piece, toting an overweight piece of baggage and a carry-on that was pushing the limits, ready to get on the overnight flight to Copenhagen, and from there to Milan. I was flying SAS Scandinavian, which I’ve decided is the IKEA of airlines, for the following reasons (beside the fact that they’re both Scandinavian of course):
- They’re good value for money – a lot cheaper than most airlines I looked at.
- They’re functional, but not luxurious – they take you from A to B without many bells and whistles, but at the same time it wasn’t uncomfortable.
- You have to follow their instructions or trouble will happen – the staff follow the rules, and they make sure you do too. Even if it’s making sure that the blankets are folded up and stowed in the seat pocket.
- They serve meatballs for dinner. Not even kidding.
After a one hour stopover in a rainy Copenhagen, I got on the second leg to Milan. As we headed south, the clouds started to dissipate, clearing up to present a view of Zurich and the looming alps. We descended over them, giant glaciers shining in the summer daylight. Not long after the Alps ended, we landed on the flat plains of Lombardy.
And it’s a beautiful place. The landlords were still cleaning when I arrived, but they helped me settle in with a mixture of broken Italian and English conversations. They even made lunch, a summer pasta with melon and prosciutto, which was sublime. The apartment itself is on the top floor of an ancient building, with the roofing beam a key feature of the lounge/dining area. It’s small by American standards, but to be honest I prefer it like that.
That’s about all that I am able to write for now. The jetlag is starting to kick in, and so is the evening. It’s time for a slice of foccacia, some fruit and then to bed. Tomorrow is a big day of getting formalities and paperwork sorted out (and beginning the process of full immersion Italian), after which I’ll have a chance to truly settle in.