I highly recommend taking day trips while studying or working abroad. If you happen to be in Milan, I suggest taking a day trip to Lake Como (lago di como). You can get there easily by train and explore yourself or you can simply book a tour. You can catch a train at the Cadorna metro stop (this train station can bring you anywhere in Lombardia). I booked a tour just because it seemed easier to me and included everything I wanted to do and see. I used the Viator Tour Company. It is well worth the money. The tour guides speak very good English and are very knowledgeable. Lake Como is absolutely gorgeous! If you are looking for a nice, relaxing day, Lake Como is the destination for you. If you’re lucky you may even see George Clooney! Our tour guide pointed out two of his villas, which was exciting to see, but unfortunately he wasn’t home. Off of Lake Como we stopped in a small quaint town called Bellagio (yes, you’re probably thinking Las Vegas right now). Bellagio is how I imagined Italy to be… that old world feeling that includes rustic, beautiful buildings, small narrow streets, and wide cobblestone staircases. Bellagio has many small family owned stores to shop. If you are interested in unique jewelry you must stop into “Laved: I vetri di Bellagio” which consists of jewelry made from glass of Murano. Como is also very well known for producing silk, which is why you will find many silk goods being sold in towns off of Lake Como. Other than window-shopping I suggest walking around and taking in the surroundings.
If you like the idea of taking a tour, I also highly recommend booking the Swiss Alps tour (also from the same company). It costs a little bit more, but it was one of my favorite things to do/see so far. Don’t forget your passport/visa since you will be entering Svizerra (Switzerland). We boarded the Bernina Express (inclusive with the tour package, but I’m sure if you went on your own you could just book tickets for solely the Bernina Express). This new and amazingly smooth train winds up the Swiss Alps as you relax and gaze at the amazing sites. Yet another scenic tour, that consisted of mostly retirees. I really didn’t mind being the youngest and actually felt privileged that I was able to experience the sites this early in my life. There are really no words to express how amazing the scenery was so I will just post the photos. While in Switzerland we stopped in an exclusive town (mostly for those who are wealthy) called St. Moritz. I have never been to Aspen, but this is what I imagine Aspen to look like but even better. Many wealthy individuals stay here for a few weeks during the skiing season (which begins in November). Our tour guide joked that the men usually ski the slopes while their wives ski the streets that are lined with luxury boutiques such as Gucci, Prada, Versace, etc. Well, I know I’d rather ski and I am so envious of those who had the chance to do so on the Swiss Alps. If you have the money and are looking for an unforgettable ski trip, I highly recommend taking a trip to the Swiss Alps. Since I couldn’t afford the latter, I simply bought delicious Swiss chocolate and was happy as could be! We didn’t take the train home, rather a bus. It took three hours to get from St. Moritz to the starting point in central Milan (which included the long time it took for the bus to get down the Swiss Alps which consisted of narrow, winding roads that I’ve never seen before in my life). All in all it was a great day trip and I hope you will get to experience this at some point in your life.