After working really hard and overtime, completing the target of two days work (so my boss doesn’t complaint about me traveling all the time and not working at all), we woke up very early to go to Schipol to take our flight. We thought that we were going to arrive in Italy early enough for lunch time but, as usually happens with the budget airlines, we arrive late. That didn’t matter much though (despite a very unnecessary wait at the departure gate) because my excitement was beyond any annoying delay.
As we arrived at Malpensa airport, we went quickly to pick up the car that “Q” has left for us to move around comfortably. Fortunately for us, the car was an Alfa Romeo, and the same model used during the persecution in Quantum of Solace film. Inside of the car was another letter from the “MI6”, welcoming us and with several instruction for the next few days. “M” has planned a wonderful weekend that I was totally not aware of.
1. Spending a day in Lake Como
2. Spending a day in one of the most famous shopping places on Earth: Galleria Vittorio Emanuele
3. Going to the most famous and important Opera house in the entire galaxy: Teatro Alla Scala
I couldn’t be more happier and surprised with this WONDERFUL Christmas gift! I was smiling like crazy and jumping on the car seat (not that I could jump much). My boyfriend was thrilled that I was so excited and surprised, and started to tell me all the things he had to do to keep it secret from me. All of our friends knew, of course, even about the Christmas “mission present” itself, and they pretended as they didn’t know while I was like crazy telling them about the “secret agent mission I was going in February”… I felt kind of innocent and naïve, and I think they thought how cute my cluelessness was.
Anyways, off we drove for about an hour to Lago di Como, enjoying the hills, the Italian radio and it’s very funny ads – such as a pizza ad where there is this American man saying “Gorgonzola per tutti” – and just talking about how much we were going to enjoy the weekend. It was fun! He had told me that it was very hard to book a hotel in Como, because it seemed to have been fully packed everywhere; but when we got to Menaggio we found out that, actually, everything was closed because it is out of season. Just then we understood why most of the restaurants and bars were closed.
But we didn’t care about the whole town being closed, we wanderer around anyways, and took pictures. Everything was so picturesque even when raining and foggy, the alps where so impressive, like gigantic caretakers hiding behind the thick veil of fog. During most of the day and night we rested, the town was closed and there wasn’t much to do; event the most touristic part, Bellagio, was completely closed, so the next day we woke up early, had our breakfast and off went we to Milan. I think we both agreed that we’ll come back to Como in another time of the year like Spring or Autumn…
We arrive in Milan early in the afternoon, very close to lunch. First we wandered around in the city center looking for the hotel (it was freezing and kind of rainy); it took us about 15 minutes to figured out that when making the reservation, the Hotel had told my boyfriend that they have changed to another place. We drove there with some difficulty mostly due to my navigation skills.
When we arrived to the hotel, we left our things, got our cameras and took the subway to Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. As soon as we arrived there and went up the stairs there it was this very big and spectacular building in front us us. It was the Duomo of Milan. I have seen really beautiful and big cathedrals, but this one was outstanding. Just beside it was the Galleria. It was kind of difficult to walk thought an avalanche of tourist and hawkers trying to sell you stuffs: this was particularly annoying because I could’t put a face of fascination when looking at the Duomo, as they immediately thought I was a tourist and then walk right beside us, just like remoras swim close by the shark waiting for a little bit of food.
Anyways, after fighting the hawkers we went into the Gallery (which is pretty big and awesome) and had some ‘typical’ Milanese meal. Nothing really exciting happened during our lunch, we just enjoyed our food and our drinks and talk about life and future adventures. Just afterwards, we wandered around the gallery, took some photos and bought some souvenirs (Alfa Romeo souvenirs, to be more specific). Then, we walk around, and I went shopping!!! He waited for me all the way, he said: “this is the shopping day, so we go to any store you like”. I was very lucky that all the shops (even the big and expensive brands) had sales… Very big sales… Of course, I took advantage of it and bought some very nice things!
When the shopping was done, we drank a coffee and then we went to the hotel and rested a little bit. After taking the siesta we decided to go to a restaurant and then go for some drinks. The restaurant we went was really nice, with typical food from Sicily, not Milan, but delicious food anyways, and it was located in the bars area of Milan. Coincidentally we enter to the bar of the Sheraton Diana Majestic Hotel, not expecting anything at all rather than drinking nice cocktails in a nice place, but I must say that the cocktails and the place itself were beyond nice… The atmosphere was very relaxing and the decoration very bold and elegant. We choose this bar randomly and found in the menu a Vesper Martini (Casino Royale, chapter 7); total coincidence in this James Bond trip.
We were tired, so after a couple of drinks we went back to our hotel and rested.
Sunday was our last day in Milan, and the day of the opera. But since the opera was in the evening, we decided to go to the Leonardo Da Vinci National Science & Technology Museum. The visit to the museum of technology was not what we expected, actually we were pretty disappointed. There I visited a submarine for the first time, but the museum itself was dull, compared to the one in Speyer, which was a complete experience. Hungry after a day at the museum, we went to a small trattoria, very close by and we fell in love. The food was simple but very tasty and the attention was fantastic. Nothing was open that day. The streets were totally quiet; we were thinking about walking around, but there was not much to see, so we took the subway to the hotel until the moment I was waiting for the most arrive.
Just before getting ready for the opera, we ate something at the Hotel’s bar: it was just fine, we’ve definitely had better dinners. Anyways, we went upstairs and got dress to impress. We were going to the best opera house in the world, we had to look like stars. I felt nervous, excited and expectant. I didn’t know what was going to happen. It was my very first opera ever, so I wanted to look good when I cry. We were sited in one of the balconies, so I was feeling like part of the royalty: back in the day only important people got to watched the opera from the balcony. It was spectacular.
Nabucco or Nebuchadnezzar (which was the name of my mission to Italy) is a four acts opera by Giuseppe Verdi, that tells the story of the assault and subsequent exile of the Jews from their land by Babylonia’s King Nabucco. There is a love story involving Nabucco’s daughter Fenena and Ismail (nephew of the King of Jerusalem), and Abigail’s (Nabucco’s adopted daughter that was actually a slave but no one knew about it) envy about Fenena and Ismail’s love and her sister’s future as Queen. It is all a power-love struggle with incredible performances and fantastic music.
Needles to say that I cried at the end when the fat lady (Abigail) sang. I was happy I had waterproof make up in order to cry with style, so I still looked chick afterwards. I was thinking to myself: “there is nothing more chick in the world than crying at Alla Scala watching Verdi’s Nabucco”… How vain!!
What about the mission?
The mission was to have fun and to enjoy. It was great to have share this mission with my “Moneypenny”, without him it would have not be the same fun! Did we find our terrorist? No we didn’t, and we looked very hard in the places we thought he could have been. We took photographic evidence and explore the place as told, but we didn’t find the target.
Hopefully I will be assigned another mission soon. As an MI6 agent I have to fulfil my duty and find the bad guys before they find me.
Where will my next mission be? What do you think?