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.

Flower shop in Bergamo.

Flower shop in Bergamo.

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.

Art Installation in Bergamo Alto.

Art Installation in Bergamo Alto.

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.

The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.

The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.

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.

The Scala opera house.

The Scala opera house.

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.

Milan Cathedral.

Milan Cathedral.

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!