Sometime near the end of May: Models and Mountains and Beers, Oh My! - Italy and Switzerland:

Joey and I rolled into Milan, checked ourselves into a hotel and immediately went exploring. We weren't allowed to see the Da Vinci's Last Supper painting because we didn't call in advance to get on the list…LAME, I guess we read that stupid Dan Brown book for nothing. We walked to the Duomo cathedral and cruised around the fashion district and realized in Milan, there is no such thing as a pair of sunglasses with lenses that are too big…in fact, I think wearing an Top Gun fighter jet helmet that said Iceman across the forehead would have been considered fashionable since the idea seemed to be to cover up as much of your face as possible. We cruised past Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Roberto Cavalli, Dior, Prada, Armani, Versace, Diesel etc, etc until we finally found something cool - Spiderman socks. Sweeeeet.

After a slice of pizza and a beer that cost about 14 Euro, we headed to the Duomo square to see what all the fuss was about. Apparently Milano AC was playing Liverpool in a HUGE soccer (football) match for the Euro Club championship and half of Italy decided to watch it in the same square. Goals were met with air horns, fireworks and thousands of people going nothing short of full-on apeshit. Milan was up 3 to 0 and Liverpool came back and won in sudden death overtime. It was an amazing game. Afterwards, I feared for my life - hoping not to be mistaken at British for speaking English, but surprisingly after all the fireworks, flares, explosions, etc. for scoring goals, they simply all peacefully walked home after the huge upsetting loss. In America we like to celebrate both important victories and defeats by senselessly destroying other people's property - apparently Europeans have a lot to learn about watching sports. After the Czech hockey victory, this made for two riotous sporting events in a single week.

At the football match, we met our illustrious friend Gigi who happened to live across the street from the Milano house where I did much of my Italian work and it had a big E = mc2 on the outside of it. She was a PA girl living in Milan and it was absolutely refreshing speaking to a native English speaker, especially a pretty one who is an excellent conversationalist. The next day we chilled with Gigi in Emporio Armani's café after standing her up because the one dollar clock Joey bought in Hong Kong can't seem to keep proper time. Damn you Chinese bargains!!!! We also received an email from our friend Sylvie (whom we met in Vietnam) with a snowboarding offer we couldn't refuse.

We canceled our tickets to Barcelona, cancelled our reservations (the first and only time we made reservations this entire trip and we cancel) and bought a train ticket to Switzerland.

Sylvie picked us up at the train station in Lausanne that night and we began our Swiss adventures. We snowboarded the Matterhorn in Zermatt, went rock climbing near Freiburg (Joey had his first fall rock climbing), we sat through the most boring college lecture ever in Neuchatel (it didn't help that we didn't speak French and just decided to go to school with Sylvie), we raced a Ferrari on winding mountain roads, ate the best fondue ever in Freiburg, went to a party on top of a mountain and then Sylvie surprised us. "Where are we going?" "You'll see". We ended up in Bern, Switzerland at Einsteinhaus. She took me to my old house and I got to see where I lived and oh how it took me back to my days in the Swiss patent office!!!!! We said Au Revoir to Sylvie and the goat that lived in her basement and hopped on a train towards Barcelona…

-- Albert Einstein