You know how peeps are always like, “Ooh, Gay Par-ee!!! So purty and stuff!!!” In my admittedly limited exposure to the City of Lights, I can say that Paris is, in fact, gorgeous. But it’s gorgeous in the way that someponies think New York City is gorgeous. In fact, the part of Paris where I’ve been staying and working reminds me a bit of Brooklyn. That is, if Brooklyn was comprised exclusively of Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill and Prospect Park.

Still, even though I intellectually understand that I should be in lurve with Paris, we just sorta have a non-commital thang going on. Don’t get me wrong, I’m in frackin’ Paris for Christ’s sake! And it’s gorgeous! And the eats are amazeballs!!! But I can’t help but compare my experience in Paris with my experiences in Milano.

For all of Milano’s weirdness (and the city is totes weird), I’m basically in love with Milano. Like, I could totes live in Milano. Like, I want to hang in Milano and eat gelato and go shopping All Day Long. While Madrid (or the parts that I saw) were awight, like a Northern California dude who’s chillaxed but has kind of a dark side, the place doesn’t really do it for me. And Paris is sort of like that very handsome, well-kept gentleman who knows four languages, but rolls his eyes at everything that you say.

Milano, though, is like the artsy-fartsy guy who has a beard and a potbelly from eating too much pasta, but also has a heart of gold and has really great taste in, like, everything. Yeah, I’ll take that guy.

It’s hard to tell from the pics, but the streets of Milano are a cluster fudge humanity, especially near the Duomo. I have no idea what’s happening in the square, but it seems as if there’s some kind of 24/7 concert going on. Still, even though my hotel is, like, a stone’s throw from the epicenter of all that touristy shizz, I can barely hear any of the commotion from my room.

I forgot to mention that in addition to lots of babies and kids on display, there are also tons of dogs. Turns out Milano is not only kid-friendly, it’s also totes dog-friendly. What’s not to love about this place, sheesh!?! I wish I had the cojones to be more brazen about my picture taking of random peeps in Italy, like I would be in the States, but can you imagine me in an Italian prison? Not a pretty look. Sorry Janet!

Another thing I’ve notice is how culturally diverse the city is. I dunno why I was surprised to see so many peeps of various colors and from various countries representin’ on the streets of Milano. It’s probably because I’m a smug American who thinks that we have the world cornered on diversity, even though we obvs don’t.

I guess the flip side of celebrating diversity is that there also seems to be lots of crazies. Again, I dunno why I was surprised to see as many homeless people as I saw. Most appeared to just be down on their luck, but some were of the talking to their invisible companions sort of homeless.

Behind the Duomo, I spied a crowd gathered around two dudes in turbans doing some kind of tantric-slash-circus act. The first guy rolled up a straw map and then the second guy sat on it and was lifted in the air for what seemed like an hour. Neither of them budged. It was awesome and bizarre and beautiful.

I spent the morning browsing the galleries and shops at 10 Corso Como. If you’re ever in Milano, I highly recommend making a pitstop there, especially if you like design-y, artsy-fartsy shizz. There were two photo exhibits currently on display, one featuring world press photography from war-torn areas around the world and another featuring Very Important Photographs of Very Important Hi-Fashion Subjects, including a lovely pic of Grace Coddington.

I bought some hi-design goodies for busy daddy, but I won’t post pics of my haul to save the surprise for when I get home. I thought about having some lunch at the Corso Como café, but I had a few other stops to hit and it’s weird to have lunch at 11:00 AM, amirite? I guess fancy people would call that brunch? But brunch for one is more sad than fun. It’s like drinking alone. People whisper behind your back about that kind of shizz, yo.

Yesterday when I was remarking to one of my busy business lady colleagues how beautiful I thought Milano is, he demurred in a distinctly self-deprecating Italian way. He said, “Rome, she is a beautiful woman. Milano, she is a smart and charming woman with a good personality.” I said, I think I prefer smart and charming over beauty. And he said, “No, no! Beauty is beauty!” And I said, Well, beauty fades, right? And he said, “But beauty is what draws you in!” Spoken like a true Roman transplant.

It’s funny because before the first time that busy daddy and I came to Milano, somepony told us that it’s like the Pittsburgh of Italy. I think it was meant to be a slam, but I don’t take it that way. In fact, I like that both cities are hard-working and industrial, beautiful in their own ways.

As a lifelong travelphobe, I’m slowly coming to enjoy tolerate accept the fact that traveling has become part of my new normal. Don’t get me wrong, I feel really lucky that I have the opportunity to see parts of the world that most peeps would lurve to see, but I can’t help but think my travels would be 100 percent more fun if my family got to come along for the ride. I know that the boy would probably be irked by the terrible wifi, but I also know that busy daddy would really, really appreciate all of the sights and sounds and eats. It’s just not the same without them. I wish they were both here with me.

After an overnight flight where I barely slept for more than 10 minutes total, my brain was pretty much scrambled eggs by 5:00 PM CET (which is really only 11:00 AM EDT). Since I was getting diminishing returns staring at my computer, I decided to meet up with one of my business busy lady colleagues—who’s also in Milan from Canada—and go for a walk.

The architecture in Milan is really something to behold. The skies were a bit overcast, but it was otherwise a lovely day!