And Making New Friends / by Anthony Brooks

 

**Italy 360° Photos are HERE**

After leaving Ugine on the 13th with Turin, Italy as my destination, I only planned on staying there for 2 days. And by that I mean less than 2 days as I was arriving late and planning on leaving around noon on the 15th for Milan. Needless to say, this didn't happen. 

Instead, the first night was spent talking with my host, Luca, eating some authentic Italian pizza, and then playing Blind Man's Bluff with my soon to be new friends. Afterwards, we went to sleep as it was rather late and I wanted to get a good start on the following day.

**fun fact: for 6 months, my host went to high school about an hour from where I did in Northwest-Indiana. So his English and accent were almost indistinguishable from friends back home.

October 14th: Luca has plans for the beginning of the day, so I'm on my own until early afternoon. This would normally be awesome as I love to wander cities, drawing and taking photos as I go. However, today is different. Today is what can only be described as a torrential downpour meaning I can't draw (much less take my sketchbook with me) and I definitely can't bring my cameras. So instead, I spend an hour or so planning out some places that I would like to see and then I head out to scope them out and see what would be worthy of seeing the following day (at this point, I've already asked Luca if I can stay one extra night in order to see the city under nice weather conditions). After meeting back up at the flat, we go check out a photo exhibition and then meet up with some others at a bar. 

**enter characters: Riccardo and Erica (AKA Bobo); the former also being from the previous night

October 15th: After drinking some beers in the rain last night, today we (Riccardo, Luca, Bobo, and myself) went with a few others to see a Steve McCurry photo exhibition located in a nearby palace. Never knowing the name of, but always knowing the work, I was ecstatic to finally put a face/name to his photos. Once we left, we wandered for around a half hour (Riccardo couldn't remember where he parked his car) and then went back to his flat to have pizza (yes, more pizza), beers, and to sing some songs while playing ukuleles (I drew). It was yet another great day and I'm glad I was able to experience it. 

October 16th: It's Sunday and I've been invited to Sunday lunch at Luca's grandmother's house. Not fully knowing what to expect, I figured we would go and have some traditional food in a small quantity, and then maybe the rest would be social time? Time to catch up for grandmother and grandson? I honestly wasn't sure what to expect. Not that any of those preconceived notions mattered... We ended up having a multiple course meal consisting of little meat, pepper, and cheese/sauce filled pastries/rolls (?) followed by a main course of chicken, kidneys (if I'm remembering right), what appeared to be snow pea pods, and A LOT of varying bread options. After that came fruit and little desert plates. It was all super filling and delicious and I think even with all of that, she normally makes pasta as well? It blew my mind and though she didn't speak a word of English, I had a great time. It was on this day that I also started a drawing above Luca's door as a way of showing my gratitude. I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out or exactly how detailed/intricate I was going to make it. Just that I wanted to make SOMETHING. Oh, and obviously I'm staying another day :)

October 17th: I drew. For just over 6 hours. While standing on a ladder. And killing most of my markers. But what I have so far, I'm loving. 

October 18th: Still here. Drawing is frustrating me because I was hoping to be in Milan by today at the latest and it looks like I'm just going to skip MIlan as I still have much to draw. I absolutely love how it's turning out though! After nearly 10 more hours today, I FINALLY finished it. 

October 19th: Equally lacking in excitement. The beginning of the day was breakfast with Luka, then some sleep to catch up, then lunch, all with planning for the next week or so of the trip sprinkled in. It's been amazing here and I can't wait to come back! Plus I'm loving the fact that I get to leave artwork in another city :) Now on to Lake Garda (near Verona)