Two and a half weeks have gone by since I've arrived in Milan, and I have been very busy so far. Immediately after landing in the Milan Malpensa airport on the 1st, I met up with IES students and took the express train to Cadorna station near the center of Milan. From there most students took cabs to the IES center, but a few people and I asked for directions and eventually found the center a few blocks away on Via Carducci.
As soon as we got to the center we signed in and took our luggage downstairs. Since some of us got there earlier in the morning, we had time to get lunch at a bar across the street and walk around the area. We got back to the center and packed a small bag to take to our three day orientation.
Our orientation was held in a town about an hour south of Milan, in the hills of Lombardy surrounded by vineyards and farmland. The charter bus pulled off the main road and wound its way up tiny streets until we reached the gates of L'Agriturismo Torrazzetto, our home for the next three days. One of the IES coordinators described it has a "farm hostel," which sounded a little suspicious to me, but once I saw it, my suspicions subsided. The old farm had been converted to a hotel and weekend getaway, and boasted one of the best restaurants in Lombardy.
After dragging our jetlagged selves off of the bus and putting our stuff in our rooms, we went out into the courtyard and were treated to delicious sangria. We sat down for dinner and were told that we would be having five courses that night. Homemade ravioli with olive oil and chive sauce, tricolor pasta in a pomodoro sauce, house wine and fresh bread were just a few of the things we had. Everything was made on site and was delicious.