My summer internship has ended and finally I can find some time to write another blog post. Two weeks ago, I was sent on my first business trip. As everything developed rather spontaneously, the booking was pretty last minute. We finalized the booking on Wednesday afternoon and on early Thursday morning I was already on my way.
From Cologne main station I used the so-called Rail&Fly for the first time and boarded an ICE train to take me directly to Frankfurt airport. Within an hour I was there and boarded the plane to Milan, Italy. I really enjoyed the first business class flight of my life. Arrived in Italy, I rented a car and drove the short way to Bergamo, where I checked in at the hotel around noon. I had plenty of work to do that day, so nothing much touristy I could mention here.
The next day was a work day too, but after I had finished in the early evening, I did have some time for myself and decided to head out to Bergamo Alto – the old city center of Bergamo. I left the car below the city walls and boarded the funicular going up to the proper old town. I spend lots of time walking around the ancient looking alleyways and really enjoyed the fact that I could easily escape the tourists at the main roads by heading into the dimmer alleys. For dinner I had some great polenta with mushrooms in a small restaurant somewhere not far from the funicular. With a full belly and plenty of nice impressions from Bergamo I drove the car back to the hotel for my second and last night in Italy.
The next day was already the day of my flight back to Germany. But before, I did have some time to kill and so I decided to make a short trip to Milan. I drove the car back to the airport, returned it, and took a bus to the city center. I hadn’t really prepared anything for this day trip, so I got off the bus when I felt I had arrived in an area I’d like to look at. The only thing I knew was that I wanted to see the cathedral as well as the Galleria, one of the oldest shopping malls in the world, which today hosts mostly luxury brands and expensive restaurants. Luckily enough, I could already see the cathedral above the rooftops close-by when I turned around the next corner.
I took some time to stroll around the cathedral and the huge square in front of it. Then I went through the Galleria – avoiding the luxury shops and just gazing at the shop windows. After I had passed the mall, I found myself on a nice square where I sat down on a bench and just watched the passers-by for some time. By listening in on conversations around me, I found out that the statue in the middle of the square was Leonardo da Vinci and the large building close-by the famous Scala opera house. The Scala, to my surprise, looked much more ordinary than I had imagined, actually blending in with the buildings surrounding it.
For lunch I found myself a panino in a not too expensive shop not too far away from the cathedral. On my way there, I also discovered an Andy Warhol exhibition in a nearby museum, so that’s where I went after I finished my lunch. As it turned out, the exhibition was even admission free. I spent the rest of my time in Milan back at the Piazza della Scala, where I had been sitting earlier. Finally, I took the bus back to the airport sometime in the afternoon and boarded my plane back to Germany.
This was my first business trip – solo, too! – , but I really enjoyed it. As I didn’t really have much time beforehand, this was also the first trip I made completely unprepared. Still, it was great to look at an unknown city without having in mind a lot of “must-see” sights. Like that, I could really take in the atmosphere and didn’t feel like I was wasting my time by just sitting on a bench, watching the people and enjoying the sun. I could use more of those business trips!