Year Abroad / Reunions and new places

So in the space of a week or so, I was able to reunite with two of my favourite people. Firstly, a long bank holiday weekend away in Milan to visit my best friend Harriet, before a visit from the wonderful Verity – she travelled 7 hours by car to get to Zaragoza! That’s what I call dedication. Since it’s been such a packed week or so, I thought I’d give you the lowdown on the blog, as is the norm by now.

Me visiting Milan

On Friday after university I hopped on a plane from Zaragoza to Milan Bergamo. I was so excited to finally be visiting a new country, though not sure whether I’d remember any of my A Level Italian. I managed to get there and catch my bus to the city centre with only a couple of minutes to spare to meet Harriet off her train from Bologna. We’d both travelled for a fair while, and upon realising most of the restaurants near our AirBnb were shut, we ordered takeaway pizza (the best I’ve ever had, by a country mile) and we spent the night catching up. It was so nice to be back together, especially as it was only the second time in a year! Crazy.

The next morning, we caught the metro from Piola to San Babila for breakfast, a spot of window shopping and an impromptu stop in NYX Cosmetics, which ended up in us both spending more money than we should have! Then, it was time to be tourists. We made sure to get lots of shots of and with the Duomo, as well as exploring inside Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Eventually we got hungry, and Harriet took me to one of her favourite restaurants in Milan, La Platina. I don’t know how I was able to function after that much spaghetti, but I just about managed it. We went back to the centre to buy gelato before returning to Duomo, this time buying tickets and climbing the steps to the stop; the view of Milan from that far up was honestly breathtaking. We ended our day in Central Milan with a (pretty expensive) drink on the Aperol terrace – while I enjoyed it, it hurt to hand over €13 for one drink. That night, we had a late dinner at a pizza place, I Capatosta, which was hands down the best pizza I’ve ever eaten in my life. Fact. I’d spent the entire day trying to remember my Italian, which was more than I expected, but it also meant that by the end of the day I was speaking Spanish with an Italian accent… oops.

A day at the Duomo

On Sunday morning, after a late night trip to Carrefour resulted in us standing outside in the cold while the fire alarm went off, we packed our picnic and got a train to Varenna, a town on Lake Como. From there, we took a short ferry ride to Bellagio, a town very popular with tourists that Jack had been telling me about when I first mentioned going to Milan. We walked around a lot of old squares and cute shops, sat by the river for a while to take in the view before eventually grabbing lunch. Following more gelato and a delayed ferry, we just about made our train home so we could meet Harriet’s friend from university, Curtis. We went to a really cute burger place with a slightly odd Australian theme, Wave, but it was yummy all the same. The next morning I had to leave earlier than planned due to the bus schedule to the airport being super awkward in relation to my flight time, but I managed to write and send some postcards before I got on the plane. It was so nice to see Harriet after so long apart, but now my Italy trip has come and gone, it means we’re one step closer to seeing each other far more often! Ci vediamo presto.

Lake Como and Bellagio were beautiful!

Verity visiting Zaragoza

At the start of our year abroad, Verity said she’d try and get to Zaragoza in some way. Lo and behold, we eventually found a weekend that worked for us both and she came up to see me. Once she arrived after such a long journey from Úbeda, Andalucía, I took her to my favourite café in Zaragoza, Veintiuno, for a much needed caffeine boost. For dinner we went to Baobab, one of the best vegetarian restaurants in town, before going to juepinchos. Whilst doing so much eating, I was able to show her around the city and even get us both lost – no surprise there.

The next day I was able to show her Zaragoza in the sunlight instead. After a slow walk to the basilica, and realising that half of it was cut off due to a wedding of some kind (how fancy), we stopped for lunch at Plaza España to take in the sun and do some more catching up. The weather was beautiful while she was here, so we decided to change into some lighter clothes and have a relax in Parque Grande with ice cream. While I doubt either of us developed much of a tan, it was nice to explore more of the park. After a trip to the second-hand bookstore near the park, where I managed to buy (another) copy of Bridget Jones’s Diary and The Devil Wears Prada, we went home to make dinner before going out for drinks. I first took Verity to my favourite bar here, Umalas, where I’ve only really been previously for my birthday and a handful of times since, but it has a really cute indie vibe and we both tried something new – Verity’s drink even included chilli vodka! Our final stop was Chupitos, a shot bar which we usually go to on a night out here in Zaragoza. We somehow ended up staying in there until the end of the night, buying the obligatory drunk sandwich despite feeling sober as anything. Going to bed at 5am was not that fun, to be honest.

Friday was a long, cocktail and sandwich-filled day

The next day, with the sun still shining brightly, we went to Puerto Venecia, which is a massive shopping complex complete with food court, mini river and the only Starbucks in Zaragoza! After a super cultural trip to Taco Bell, we tried on lots of summer clothes and I eventually found a bikini for my upcoming trip to San Sebastián – Spain do not like to cater to sizes above a D cup which can be really difficult, so I was in slight shock. When back in the city centre, we returned to the basilica to climb the tower so V could see the view of Zaragoza from the top, before heading home to get ready for our final night together. We spent most of the night in Puerta Cinegia, a food court comprising of 20 or so of Zaragoza’s best restaurants, where I had the most yummy squid ink paella and a huge glass of tinto de verano. We had a wander around El Tubo before coming across a really cute bar, Meli Del Tubo, ending the night with yet another glass of wine. The perfect ending really.

With these two trips over, that means I am actually nearing the end of my time here! I only have a trip to San Sebastián and a potential trip to Madrid in the works before my exams and then, I’m home. Only 7 weeks to go now, folks! Time flies, eh?

Hasta la próxima vez, cariños!

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