AC Milan!

on Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ciao i miei amici!

This weekend I did not go to Bergamo but I still managed to have quite an eventful weekend here in Milano! Tonight I was able to catch the overtime of USA v. Canada gold medal hockey game, and although Canada ended up winning it was fun to see Team USA represent us proudly! 

Haha here is a picture of my beloved Nutella!

On Friday I went to an aperitivo with a few friends and met a few new people there. We all ended up coming back to my apartment for a pre-party before heading downstairs to the club below my apartment, which is called Limelight. I think everyone had a great time here so I am glad that it ended up going well. I had heard that the music at Limelight was always super loud and it ended up being true. Next time I will need to bring earplugs with me cuz going there too often could probably lead to some serious damage! It was really fun though and the place was surprisingly big!

Saturday I went shopping near the Duomo and bought a pair of shoes, 2 pants, and a shirt so it was kind of like a shopping spree for me. I really like the shoes, but I need to figure out what I can wear them with, hopefully me 2 roommates can help me out! The rest of the day I just relaxed here at home and made some pasta and salad for dinner which was really good. The frozen pasta here is really really good so when I get back to America I will need to see if they sell the same one!

Today I woke up and cleaned my room a little bit and then went to watch AC Milan play and it was incredible. Here in Italy the team is simply referred to as Milan (with emphasis on the I rather than the A like in English). Seeing Ronaldinho play in person for the first time was awesome and surreal. Just seeing him kick the ball around during warm ups was worth the 34 ticket! If you've seen his Nike commercial where he hits the post 3 times in a row from nearly half field, its not edited- He basically did the same thing during warm ups. It only took him 3 tries to hit the cross bar from like 40 meters away! 

Some of the other players I saw were Nesta, Gattuso, Beckham, Pirlo, Pato, Zambrotta, and Thiago Silva! It was like watching an all-star game! Pato, who plays for the Brazilian national team and is younger than me by 9 months, scored the first 2 goals for Milan and Borriello scored the 3rd on a rebound from a missed by Ronaldinho to make it 3-1. It was a lot of fun and I definitely want to go back to see them play at least a couple more times. Here in Milano, you can only cheer for Inter or Milan and after this game I can definitely say that I am more of a Milan fan! 

I have to go to bed but I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! 

Congrats to my cousin Oscar Andres who got married this weekend! I was able to see his sister on skype today and it was really nice. I am very grateful for having such a wonderful family!

New Edition (Post #9)

on Friday, February 26, 2010

As you can tell from the new layout of my blog and the video above, I am learning to customize and embed videos on here. I am now uploading my videos to YouTube so that it'll be easier to post them here so hopefully that'll make this more fun to read.

This week flew by and it's hard to believe that it's already the weekend. I think tomorrow I am going to Bergamo for a day-trip but we still haven't officially decided on anything. The Milan Fashion Week (one of the big 4 around the world) starts this week so maybe we will be able to see something interesting, although the official events are all closed to the public. The other 3 big fashion shows around the world are New York, London, and Paris. After being here for 5 weeks I have begun to get a better sense of the way people dress here and I think overall people dress much nicer here than in America (though we all probably already knew that). I filed my taxes yesterday and am going to be getting money back and I think I am going to spend some of it on new clothes. Unfortunately, everything here is really expensive so I probably won't buy too many things but it should be interesting. The fashion culture here is really different than at home because it seems like everyone puts a lot of thought into what they wear and that is simply not the case in the US.

It seems like EVERYONE here wears super shiny winter jackets haha even the little girl in the picture is wearing one!

I also just realized that I have been eating out a lot lately! On Monday, I went out for a friends birthday, on Tuesday I went Iguana again,  and Wednesday I went to an Irish restaurant to watch the Champions League (Inter beat Chealsea 2-1 here in Milan!!). Again, I was unable to get tickets to the soccer game but the atmosphere was electric at the restaurant. Sky Sports (basically the British version of ESPN) was at the restaurant trying to interview Chelsea (a British team) fans, but I think they were in the wrong place because 99% of the place was cheering for Inter. After both of Inter's goals the entire restaurant was practically shaking and I couldn't help but join in on the screaming and jumping. After the game we all went to a club called Old Fashion and we all had a great night. I had heard that it was a cool place, but so far it was definitely the most fun I have had. Great music, great people, great night.

Since I don't have classes on Fridays, my school week is over and it is nice to be able to get a little bit more sleep and relax. This morning I had to go the northern part of Milan with Marine, my french roommate, to get a codice fiscale which our landlord has been requesting for weeks now. Most people here need one for tax purposes but it is very unusual for someone who is only here for 6 months to get one so hopefully they don't try to make us pay taxes or something. After we were done getting the paper we went to Burger King next to the Duomo since she had never been there before!

Look at how expensive the burgers are (nearly $8.50)!

Tonight I am going out to an aperitivo and then probably out to a discoteca so that should be fun! If any of you have any suggestions or recommendations for trips I should make leave a comment on this post! Have a great weekend!

Here is a cool video from the subway station at the Duomo, it's a piano!


on Tuesday, February 23, 2010

This past week has been a lot of fun for me! I got really great news too because my brother, Francisco, called and told me that he is going to come and visit me for over a month in May and June after he is done with school, so that is going to be amazing. He is also really excited to visit Europe for the 1st time and already has a list of some really cool places he wants to try to visit with me, including a castle in southern Germany and a really cool city in Croatia!

Last Monday our 3rd roommate finally moved in so it was nice to meet her and begin to practice my Italian! She lives in Genova (or Genoa in English) which is on the coast to the West of Milan so she drives here which is cool. She said when it gets nicer out we can all go to her house and go to the beach and go sailing so I'm super excited about that since it is rainy like 65% of the time here. I think it might just be Milano though, because one of my professors said that Sicily is the place in Europe with the most sunny days in a year.

The rest of the week I went to my other classes and they all went pretty well. I like all of them and think that I am going to be able to learn a lot and still have a great time traveling while I am here! On Thursday I went to the best aperitivo I have been to and got to meet a bunch of new people. The place was called Iguana and had a great atmosphere, buffet, and drinks. After that, we all decided to go out to a discoteca (night club) which was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, it was really crowded but I still managed to have a lot of fun. I am hoping that if I continue to go out to these clubs on a regular basis I will be able to get a little better at dancing! I didn't make it home until like 3:30 or 4am and had to be up at 6am for a weekend trip to Torino with a couple of my new friends, so I am glad that I was able to get up in time (although I didn't exactly feel amazing on the train ride!).

Since the three of us don't have Friday class we were able to take a wonderful 3 day trip without missing any lectures which was fantastic. You probably recognize Torino as the home of the 2006 Winter Olympic Games but the city was much more beautiful than any of us were expecting! As you can tell from the pictures I have posted here, the city is surrounded by the Alps and the views are incredible. I have seen mountains in Colombia, Colorado,  and Utah, but it's magical to be in a city which is hundreds of years older than America and see the towering mountains that Caesar had to cross!

When we finally got to Torino, it was raining so we took a bus to the hostel we were staying at to drop our things off. It was my first experience with a hostel and it was actually really nice! I have heard to avoid them in  Southern Italy but this one was recently built for the Olympics so it was very new and clean and the 3 of us shared a room which had a big bathroom. After the hotel we spent the rest of the day walking around the center of the city and we went into a Royal Palace and an Egyptian museum. We tried to do some things indoor to avoid the rain. The Egyptian museum was really good and had dozens of mummies and sarcophaguses and tons of statues that are over 5,000 years old!!!

It stopped raining while we were in the museum and after the skies cleared I got my first glimpse of the mountains and it was incredible. It made me want to go skiing, but I think I might have to wait until I can go to Utah next year since I don't have any of my ski clothes here and the trips are kind of expensive if I have to buy a bunch of gear. I am not too worried about it though because taking a ski vacation to Switzerland when I have a family will be on the top of my vacation to-do list. That evening we went to an aperitivo for dinner with a German PhD student we met at the hostel and after that we met up with a group of 10 friends from school who were also visiting Torino and went out to a pub.

The next morning we got an early start and headed straight to the information center in downtown Torino to buy a 'Chocolate Pass' that one of the girls in the other group of Bocconi students had heard about. Essentially, you pay €15 and you can get free chocolate from up to 20 different shops around the city. I didn't know, but Torino is known for its chocolate, so it was awesome to try so many different things including a small beverage/nutella- like concoction! The pass came in a booklet with a map of all the places and it was really cool because it was almost like taking a tour of the city because they were all spread out.

We also made a stop to a really tall tower which houses a museum but the cool part was that it has an observation deck at the top so we saw amazing views of the mountains and city! Apparently the tower was the tallest masonic building in the world until the foundation was reinforced with brick a few years ago!

That evening we all went out to a restaurant which was a like a large market. Think Trader Joe's but with 7 restaurants inside that all serve different food. It was interesting to see so many different kinds of foods under one roof but it was a little on the expensive side. The resturant was called Eataly and you can visit their website here if you want see what it was like. After dinner we went to a pub and then went to a really cool area of the city where all the young people go at night. It is right next to the river and there are literally dozens of discotecas next to each other so we tried to visit a handful of them!

After staying out late, we got up a little bit later on Sunday and enjoyed a breakfast at a cafe and then continued visiting the rest of the chocolate shops that we didn't have the chance to see the day before. I forgot to mention it earlier, but the weather on Saturday and Sunday was absolutely gorgeous- Clear skies and it felt like it was over 50 degrees farenheit!

Torino would probably be the second coolest city after Siena that I have visited (I even liked it more than Venice!). I think it is much more beautiful than Milan and has an older feeling to it which was cool. This coming weekend I am probably taking a day-trip to Bergamo or Verona so stay tuned!!

I hope you have all been well!


Carnevale di Venezia e Primo Giorno di Lezioni

on Monday, February 15, 2010

As you might have noticed, I was finally able to go back and add pictures to all of my previous blog posts so you can scroll down to see them!! No, I haven’t figured out my internet yet but I am able to transfer pictures onto my iPod using iTunes and then add them to the blog from my iPod. It is a huge hassle but I figured that you are reading this because you want to actually see some of the things I write about!

On Saturday I finally went to Venice for the most important day of their world-famous carnival and the island was just as beautiful in person as it is in pictures! The day started very early with a 6am cab ride to the bus that would take us to Venice. I tried sleeping on the 3.5 hour bus ride but was uncomfortable the whole time and was relieved when we finally arrived. For some reason I never really knew that Venice was an island (I guess I figured that it was a peninsula or something), but I realized it when we had to take a boat to get there! When the view of the island came into sight I immediately noticed 2 things: How beautiful it was and how crowded it was! It literally looked like there was an army of ants crawling on the stunning water-front streets.

Once on the island I started making my way toward the main plaza in Venice, Piazza San Marco, while I enjoyed the festive carnival environment. Many people were dressed in masks and there were bands playing music. Some streets were so crowded that it almost felt like Times Square on New Year’s (though I haven’t ever actually experienced it). It was also a lot of fun to see the gondolas in the canals since I had always seen them in pictures and movies. Unfortunately, everything was so crowded that it was hard to see a lot of the island but overall, the island was extremely beautiful and I would love to come back another time and spend a couple days exploring more of it! Some of the other things I saw included a costume show in Piazza San Marco, a fire show at night, and my first full rugby match at an Irish pub. I wouldn’t have normally spent a few hours in Venice in an Irish pub but after walking around for most of the day in the large crowds, it was nice to rest the legs and enjoy a cold beer. During the day I had pizza for both lunch and dinner with gelato for dessert. Some of the gelato I have had here isn’t as good as some of the ice cream from home, but the really good gelato is SUPERB! I am pretty easy to please, so the highlight of the trip was just walking through the streets and seeing all of the cool buildings and canals. The bus left for Milan at 3am so I didn’t get home until super late (or early) and spent most of the day yesterday sleeping.

Today was my first day of classes and it was super LONG! I only had 2 classes but one of them meets 3 times every Monday!! I’ve never had a class that meets more than once in one day but this one literally meets at 1pm and then 2 times later in the afternoon/early evening with the same professor! The class is called Management of Competition & Innovation in High Tech and fortunately, I really really like the professor. He is really young and energetic but also really knows the subject matter well and is very interesting to listen to. I also had my Alternative Investments course and that class also seems decent, although not nearly as interesting as the other. The professor also doesn’t speak English as well as he does, but she seems very nice and I am considering taking the class pass/fail so I am not too worried about it. This semester I am also taking Product Management and Intro to E-Commerce and E-Marketing and I really like that I don’t have classes on Friday. I am taking 1 finance, 1 mgmt, and 2 mktg classes and I think it’s a really good balance of a wide variety of topics. Last night I realized that my spring break is about 3 weeks long, which I am very excited for, although I might have a couple midterms during that time! I am motivated to do well this semester and once I get a lamp for my desk I will be ready to begin to study hard during the week so that I can travel and enjoy my weekends!!

I hope you all have a wonderful week and that you had a nice Valentine’s Day!

Buona notte!


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Siena e Pisa!

on Friday, February 12, 2010

WOW! This week I was able to take a trip to Tuscany since my language course ended and the trip was amazing! I visited the cities of Siena and Pisa and besides the rainy weather everything was simply amazing. Wednesday morning I woke up super early to catch the first train out of Milano to Florence and then another to Siena. Milano’s central station was really big and had a much different feeling than Grand Central (the only other station of that size that I have been to). This station felt a lot more like a warehouse because all of the tracks are right next to each other but the building was still beautiful and very impressive. The train ride ended up costing roughly 100Euros round-trip which was a lot more than I was expecting to pay but it was booked last minute and the train was nice.

The Italian countryside on the train rides was always beautiful and was more like the Italy I had imagined before arriving for the semester. Milan is a very urban city with little green space so it was nice to see green fields and trees again. The first destination was Siena and it is easily one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen- It literally felt like I had just gone back like 500 years. The roads were all very curvy, narrow, and built of stone, and were lined with tall buildings which looked like they had been built in the 15th century (or sometime a really long time ago!). All of the buildings were beautifully preserved and the center of the city had a large open square which was gorgeous. I shot a video of it, but I still don’t have the internet so unfortunately I can’t upload it yet! During the summer Siena is famous for holding a festival called the Palio that includes a horse race around the plaza in the center of the city. It is the only city in the world, according to a local man, that is divided into neighborhoods which each have their own mascot. During the Palio, all of the neighborhoods each have a horse which they enter into the race, so it’s like a competition between the neighborhoods. Hopefully someday I will be able to see it!

I also saw the Duomo or Cathedral of Siena which was also beautiful and was able to go inside and see all of the artwork and relics it houses. Included in the price for admission was entry into a museum and the crypt which was recently discovered under the church. The coolest thing for me was the view from the top of the museum- they have a tower you can climb up to and see the entire city and the rolling hills and farms outside of the town. The views were absolutely breathtaking and I was able to take a lot of pictures and I think I also made a video of that as well. I will have to post them so you can see what I mean!

I have heard that Tuscany has the best food in Italy and I fully understand why. My dinner in Siena was wonderful. Like I said in an earlier post, I probably eat pasta at least once a day here, but I had the best pasta I’ve had in Italy at this restaurant. It was simply pappardelle pasta with meat sauce but it was delicious, I could have probably eaten another 2 plates of it!

The next morning I had a light breakfast at the small hotel in Siena and hopped on a train to Pisa! I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from Siena because it is overshadowed by Florence and Pisa but it really surprised me in big way. Pisa on the other hand, I had always heard of because of its leaning tower so I was initially more excited about visiting it. The town itself was nice, although not nearly as enchanting as Siena and you can tell that most people only go to the city to see the leaning tower. Once I finally arrived at the site of the tower, it really was an iconic scene! I imagine it will be similar to seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time. I can’t believe the tower hasn’t collapsed yet though considering it has been learning for over 500 years. My first impression was that it was very white and clean looking for being such an older structure and it was also a lot taller than I had pictured. I never knew but the tower itself was built right next to the Duomo to be the bell tower for the church! There is also a very historic cemetery next to the Duomo and another building so it is like a small complex of beautiful buildings. I was able to take a lot of pictures of everything and I even made a video of the park so that you could see all of the different buildings together.

Overall, the trip was very memorable and I saw a lot of very impressive and beautiful things. I would say that my favorite parts of the trip were walking through the streets of Siena and seeing the leaning tower of Pisa. I think that Siena might have overtaken New York as my favorite city in the world!

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on Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Today I didn’t go to class because I am trying to fight off a cold. Luckily one of the employees at the pharmacy spoke English so I was able to find what I was looking for! I initially tried speaking in Italian but was only able to say I was sick but couldn’t figure out how to specifically say what was hurting and they didn’t recognize the name of the medicine I was looking for. I guess these cultural experiences are what I signed up for, so no complaints here!!

Yesterday I finally went to my first aperitivo here in Italy. I had heard of the aperitivo from my Italian class at Penn as well as some of friends who had studied abroad here or visited Italy. The aperitivo is the Italian version of the happy hour and it consists of a free buffet (which is great when you’re on a tight budget). It’s not really a happy hour but there’s no other word that I can think of to explain it. It is supposed to be like a pre-dinner socializing time to have a drink with friends, but it seems like the younger crowd uses it as their dinner to save money. Milan is the aperitivo capital of Italy so I’m glad I liked it because you can go to one on almost every corner! I’ve heard of some places that are completely free but the one I went to, like most of them, comes with the free buffet after you buy a drink. We got there early because we were hungry, but as we were leaving we realized that the food is constantly changing and that the food seemed to get better as time went on.

Tomorrow I am getting up early because I am going on a trip to Siena. I decided to go on the trip because I am feeling a lot better now and I think the medicine I got is really working well. I think that seeing something new and exciting will help my body feel better too. I am excited to see my first city in Italy outside of Milan! I am also curious to see what the trains here are like since I will probably be spending a lot of time on them as I begin to travel more extensively. Depending on how the day goes tomorrow, I might go to another city the following day and then make it home on Friday, in time for my trip to Venice on Saturday.

I will charge my camera tonight so I can take a lot of pictures and then if I get internet at the hotel I will try to post some pictures to my blog so that you can see some of the cool things I have been viewing. I initially planned on posting more pictures and videos and less text but so far that hasn’t really worked out that well because of my lack of internet but hopefully I will be able to post more media since that’s the really fun stuff to see.

It seems like Philly and Minnesota are both being blanketed with snow these days so stay warm!!


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Calcio e BK

on Sunday, February 7, 2010

If I wasn’t already sure how much I relied on the internet during the course of a normal day, there is now no doubt in my mind! Like most of my peers, I use the internet throughout the day, from reading the news, checking Facebook, reading emails (my Wharton friends know what I mean), and staying in contact with my friends and family. Unfortunately, I still don’t have internet on my computer so I’m posting this from my iPod. Thanks to my brothers, who helped jail-break my iPod, I was able to get an application that I can use to blog for free.

The past few days have been pretty busy for me! I can’t remember if I blogged about this earlier but the first few nights in my new room I could barely sleep because it got SO cold in my room at night. I even stumbled around in the middle of the night to try to figure out how to turn the heat up but had no success. After a couple nights of no sleep and using my pea coat and towel as a blanket I bought two really warm blankets and a pillow and I have been sleeping like a baby ever since.

I also went grocery shopping this week which was fun, although not THAT much different than home. Some things I noticed though were that the pasta aisle is HUGE, there has to be at least 3 times as many different types of pasta then I can get at home. There is also a lot less variety when it comes to cereal so I stuck to the usual (Special K Red Berries) although there’s something about it that makes it taste different. I also got some Nutella which no Italian seemingly leaves the grocery store without. After pasta and pizza it’s probably up there with the most eaten things- At restaurants I’ve even seen huge buckets of it. Haha I’ve had Nutella filled donuts, pastries, and cookies here- it’s delicious. I also got a Brita water pitcher so that I don’t have to buy bottled water which should be good. Yesterday I also did my first load of laundry and have my clothes hanging in my room to dry. They actually dried over night so I was surprised by how easy it was to dry them- I’m starting to really like the simple life.

Now to the more exciting part, I saw Inter play a soccer match against Fiorentina in San Siro stadium!!! It was incredible. Milan is home to two of the best soccer teams in the world, AC Milan and Inter, who both play their home games in the same stadium. Right now, Inter is ranked 1st in the Italian soccer league so it was really cool to see them play. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t great and it was on a week night so the stadium was only like half-full but the atmosphere was still electric. I shot a couple videos and took a bunch of pics so when I can, I will post those for ya’ll. Inter won the game 1-0 so it was cool to see them score and hear the crowd chant and see some of the players I grew up watching on TV, like Zanetti, Cambiasso, Riquelme, Materazzi, etc. I will definitely try to make it to more games, especially since it only cost 10Euros to get in!

Another highlight for me this week was when I went to Burger King and Via Monte Napoleone. Anyone who knows me well knows how much I enjoy an occasional Whopper and wow, it was just as good as ever. It was crazy expensive though! A value meal costs like 8Euros which is roughly like $11, which is like 3 times more than it costs in the US. No wonder everyone is so thin here, it’s actually cheaper to eat healthy which is definitely not true at home. Via Monte Napoleone (not sure if I spelled that right) is essentially the 5th Ave or Rodeo Drive of Milan, except much more impressive in my opinion. I will go back on a nicer day and take pictures but all of the stores are extremely nice and all of the most famous designers have their boutiques there. I read on the internet that some of the designers can be seen in their stores on some days although I don’t think Giorgio Armani or Donatella Versace were there when I was. Maybe one day I’ll be able to come back to Milan and buy a suit there!

This weekend a group of people from school were planning on making a day trip to Verona, a nearby city, but it has been raining a lot so we ended up not going. This coming weekend I signed up for a trip to Venice for Carnival though so I am really looking forward to that. I will probably go regardless of the weather, I just need to buy an umbrella!

My friend Yash from Penn has been trying to get me to watch the movie the Godfather and read the book for the past two years and I finally saw it last night! The weather was pretty terrible so I didn’t want to go out so I watched the movie and I am glad I waited to see it because I was able to understand some of the Italian in it! I really liked it and now I need to watch the 2nd and 3rd movie.

The last time I wrote, we still had an empty room in our apartment, but we are getting a 3rd suitemate in a week which should be exciting. She is Italian and was here moving some things into her room a couple days ago and she was really nice. Between her, my other roommate, and I we can collectively speak Italian, French, Spanish and English so this is going to be a really awesome experience for me. I would never have had this opportunity at home! She said she’s not moving in until next week though because she’s going to NYC to work at the Fashion Week there. I’ll have to ask her to go shopping with me so I can start dressing better once she gets back!

Once again, I hope everything is going well for all of you! I am having a great time here in Milan and am excited to hear how you are all doing! Sorry for any typos in this post- writing on an iPod isn’t ideal! My Skype screen name is maldonado.camilo so please add me and lets chat soon!


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