The last few days have been so busy that I haven't had time to post anything, so I am making up for that right now. Because Friday was a "bank holiday" here in Italy, we were out of school, which meant I had a three day weekend! :) So on Thursday night we left for the mountains. I stayed with my host family in a little village called Rompeggio. On Friday, the village of Rompeggio had a huge party, and we spent the entire day AND night (10 AM to 3 AM Saturday morning) eating, drinking tons of wine, talking, and dancing (even though I didn't dance... I have no clue how to polka dance!). Staying up until 3 was a mistake because the next morning I had to wake up at 6:30 to go to Milan with the other three girls from America. When we got there, we had a surprise waiting for us: Rico Tyler! Mr. Tyler went with us, Lucia, and one of the other teachers from Respighi to Milan. We first drove to a town called Lodi and got out to take some pictures of the town square and churches; it was beautiful. Next, we got back in the car, drove to the edge of Milan, and then got on a subway to take us the rest of the way there. When we walked out of the subway tunnel, the first thing we saw was the Duomo, and it was SO beautiful! We walked around for the rest of the day looking at some of the major tourist spots, but I never was able to go in any of the shops in Milan, which was one of the main reasons I wanted to go there. :/ Other than that, though, it was a great trip!
The last trip of the weekend was yesterday. The other student teachers, Lucia, Mr. Tyler, Elena (Respighi teacher), Giovanni (IT specialist at Respighi), Denillo (teacher from a school near Piacenza), and I all went to Vigoleno and a nearby town to look at two very old castles. Also, we ate lunch at a restaurant owned by one of Mr. Tyler's family members. Meals are so long here in Italy. We spent 3 hours in the restaurant and went through so many different courses! We started with some crunchy breadsticks that were already on the table. Next, they brought at least 6 different kinds of meats around (coppa, salami, prosciutto, etc.) for us to eat, as well as some pickled onions, mushrooms, and other types of bread. When that was done, we started eating pasta. They brought three different kinds at first: one that looked like tortellini but was stuffed with pumpkin, one that looked kind of like lasagna but with ham inside, and one that looked like ravioli with spinach and cheese. At this point, all of the other girls and I thought the meal was over... we were so wrong. I quit eating after this because I was miserably full, but the next thing they brought out was some type of beans and sauce. Next, they told us that we could pick our main meal: veal, steak, or lamb. I didn't try any of these but heard that they were excellent. FINALLY, we skipped the part where you traditionally eat cheese and went straight to the dessert. I had pineapples with vanilla gelato (so good!). After a long weekend of walking, eating, and taking pictures, we finally made it back home! I will post pictures from each of the places we visited separately.