I (Lea) have finally arrived back home in Zurich– it still feels weird to say that – after an absolutely incredible week travelling through Italy. We started by taking a train early Good Friday morning from Zurich to Milano. This is probably one of the most incredible train rides as the track winds alternately through the high Alps and then beside the famous lake shores of Lago di Como, Lago di Lugano, etc. After meeting up with some friends in Milano, and getting the key to our apartment, on loan from another friend gone skiing for the weekend, we headed to the famous Milano Duomo for Easter Friday services in Italian.
As per all my experiences so far in Milan, after visiting the famous and beautiful Castle Sforzesco, we got completely lost trying to find our way back to our apartment – a repeat of my last trip to Milan in the summer. The next morning we woke up to pouring rain, but that did not deter us from travelling to Roma! Through the maze of hundreds of thousands of people we were able to find Hanna in St. Peter’s square and were some of the last people to get inside the church for the Easter Vigil with Pope Frances. It was an incredible experience to be at the center of an institution with billions of faithful worldwide!
Hanna and I were actually in Rome for a conference at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations headquarters. ETH had brilliantly arranged a course where all the leading scientists working on global problems associated with food security from a global to a local dimension all came in to present their life works to us. The two best things about it was that the course came with a 3 day free Italian Eurorail pass, to enable all the conference goers to travel to and from Rome (+1 day in true extravagantly generous Swiss fashion), and the opportunity to network with all these people who are truly the top leaders of their field.
I have to run to class now, but there are still many more crazy stories that will have to wait for the next blog posts.
Hanna sends her love to you all from Transylvania, Romania, where she is spending this week with a friend alternating between sleeping in tiny villages with the locals in exchange for milking their cows in the morning, to old magnificent medieval castles left over from another period in history. She will fill you in when she gets back.
Hanna and Lea