Saturday, December 20, 2008

New Home

S got the keys yesterday and I'm posting pictures for friends and family who have been wanting to know what the new home looks like. The previous owners have been great, having left the apartment in a reasonably good and clean condition.

The front door opens into an entry way.

View from the front door.

Right ahead is the kitchen. As you can see, it is just the bare walls. It was surprising to me that it is the custom here to take the entire kitchen with you when you move... even the kitchen sink.

Next is the living room. The big windows let in alot of light.

Looking back at the living area from the windows.

Next is the hallway into the night area.

The first bedroom is on the right.

Inside of this bedroom.

On the left is the first bathroom. This bathroom has a shower but no window.

Next on the right is the second bedroom.

View looking back out of the second bedroom.

Across the hallway is the second bathroom. The sink is missing at the moment.

This bathroom has a window and a bathtub.

The terrace is a good size. The kitchen, living room and first bedroom windows all open out onto the terrace.

The views outside are unobstructed. In front are the condominium gardens.

And that's the end of the tour. Here's the proud and happy guy...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Cross Country Skiing

Winter time means winter sports. And since Stef's family home is practically in the mountains, there is no escaping winter sports for me. Not that it was so bad today with the sunny day, blue skies and brilliant white snow. ;-)

Today was my first try at cross country skiing. I look like I knew what I was doing...

But that just how it looks in the picture. In reality, it was a lot harder than I expected. I was hoping my downhill skiing skills would come into play somewhere. But not really. The skiis are alot thinner so it's tougher to balance and then there's all that work when it's all flat or uphill in front of you.

But it wasn't too bad. I was slowly getting the hang of it. And the scenery was really beautiful.

I think I will be back.

L'Artigianato in Fiera

It's a three-day weekend, yippee! This Monday is a holiday here - the Immaculate Conception - I had no idea what that was all about so looked it up on wiki here. It's uh, a religious holiday. I'm just really happy about the holiday since I missed out on the Thanksgiving one last week, and work has been real hectic lately.

I celebrated my birthday last week and had a fun day considering it was a Monday and I had to work and go to class. Thanks to everyone for all the birthday wishes! It really made my day special. I had cake too! It was an ice cream cake and it was seriously melting while I was trying to decide what to wish for. haha.

Now if you're ever in Milan the first week of December, don't miss out on the annual L'Artigiano in Fiera, an exhibition of crafts and goods, from Italy and from other countries. The first time I visited this fair was 3 years ago during my first visit here. Admission is still free as it was then, and I remember wandering around for hours looking at all the different products for sale.

This year is the first time it's being held at Milan's new Fiera/trade exhibition center. It's outside of the downtown area, but still very convenient and easy to get to. There is a Metro stop that drops you off practically inside the Fiera.

The new Fiera is huge...

The l'Artigianato fair this year took up ten big exhibition halls, divided by different regions of Italy, Europe and then a general 'Paesi del Mondo' (countries of the world). Our first visit, we only saw 2 of the halls, which turned out to be my favorite ones, the regions of - Sicilia, Campania, Puglia, Sardegna. We ended up going back again to see the rest with friends later in the week.

Oh yeah, did I mention that there's food too? (One of the reasons why I love this fiera. hehe) I had an arancino for lunch and it was so good. It's basically a baked ball of rice, with a filling that could be ragu (tomato sauce, ragu, peas, meat) or prosciutto and mozarella. It's fits in the palm of my hand, and just one fills me up pretty good. Yum.

In the France section... a 'biscuiterie'. The cookies looked so tempting.

There were stalls selling bread, desserts, honey, hams, candies, chocolate, wine... any specialty that you can think of from different regions of the country. And crafts made from wood, leather, paper, ceramics, etc; many at very reasonable prices. I wish I took more pictures! It's well worth a visit and even if you're not planning on buying anything, you can at least have eat an arancino or cannoli or just taste the samples offered by the vendors.
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