I spent the first day sightseeing, stopping at the Duomo (and having to do some quick wardrobe improvisation to drop my hemline a couple of inches to meet the dress code) and walking around the old town.
The second day was dedicated to shopping……I had huge success at the very first shop I visited which I thought was a sign of good things to come, but didn’t see another item of clothing or shoes that I liked for the remainder of the day.
I stopped at Peck Italian Bar for lunch which seemed to be popular with the local businessmen and served Milanese specialties such as cotoletta and risotto. I had both, or actually half of both as the portions were very generous before continuing on my shopping.
In the evening, I cracked. I couldn’t face the thought of another Italian meal and my longing for Asian food was becoming overwhelming. I had lasted nearly eight weeks (since some dumplings in Harrods) without Asian food (my staple diet back home) and I couldn’t take it any longer.
Previously, even if I had been tempted to eat Asian, I had refused as I hadn't seen a restaurant that passed my core rule: I will not eat at any restaurant that presents itself as one cuisine (e.g. Chinese or Thai) but has items on the menu from other countries. If the chef/owner can’t tell the difference between Japanese, Vietnamese or Chinese, the food can’t be good.
Fortunately for me, there was a Thai Restaurant a block away from my hotel. The first test was passed so things were looking up. It had the obligatory elephant sculpture in the room, Thai décor and a solely Thai menu so that was enough for me. I was so excited I overlooked my other rule (that applies to all restaurants): be very wary if you are the only patron in the restaurant. But I didn’t care. I ordered Tom Kai Gai and Satay. It was like being reunited with old friends… coriander, ginger, coconut milk: how I’ve missed you!! The food was surprisingly tasty and although not entirely authentic, it was a welcome change in the diet.
It was my last night in Italy and looking back I had had a wonderful time. One could easily spend months in Italy and only scratch the surface but I only had three weeks. I will return one day, but it will be with a hire car to visit all the small towns for some more regional culinary experiences.
Next stop, Switzerland.