Once leaving Venice on our Great Northern Italy Adventure, my best friends Paolo, Joseph, and Alessandra headed back to Udine, Alessandra’s home town. We grabbed the last train from Venice’s St. Lucia Station, which would have us in Udine by around 1am. As was par for this trip, we would be spending more quality time together on a train.
Allie’s sister Ilaria was waiting for us when we arrived, right on the platform. Joseph and I introduced ourselves, then we all piled into her car to head in for the night. But first, we would make a quick pit stop at Allie’s mom’s home, whom we had met last summer when she came to visit Allie and New York City for a week.
When Joseph and I walked through her front door into the apartment, it felt immediately like home. Mama came and greeted each of us with kisses and hugs, and there were snacks and lots of prosecco (sparkling, white wine) to be had. We talked (well, we talked and Allie translated) and we ended up finishing three bottles of the prosecco before saying goodnight and driving the short distance to Ilaria’s where we would spend the night.
Paolo was a bit under the weather, so he went straight to bed, but the rest of us stayed up until 4 am, eating, drinking and chatting. Though I wasn’t quite tired even then, I willed myself to sleep, because we were to have a long and eventful day the following morning.
On December 29th, we woke up at 8 am, already late. Two of our mutual friends, Julia and Rocio, whom we had met and hung out with during our summer all together in New York, were coming to spend the day with us in Udine. It would be the reunion that added the cherry on top. Rocio from Mexico by way of Netherlands, and Julia of Austria, had decided to each come to Udine this day to have a reunion, and it felt so special to me, because they were coming basically because Joseph and I were there.
So, we woke up at 8 am, the time we had told the two girls that we would meet them in the center of town; this is the story of my life. After rushing to get ready and out the door, we took off to go meet them at Piazza Libertà. It was a heartwarming reunion, as the others had been on this trip, and it felt as though not much time had passed since we last met, which was back in July; it was immediately comfortable and familiar. We had a late lunch planned at Mama’s for the early afternoon, so the six of us began touring around town for awhile until then.
First stop was a light breakfast at the Panificio Pasticceria Alessandra, located at the Piazza 20 Settembre (20th of September Plaza).
The city is fairly small, about 120,000 inhabitants, but it was quite lively that Saturday afternoon. So many people were strolling around, that the city felt larger and more vibrant than it may actually be normally. The next stop was the Piazzale del Castello (Castle Sq.), where the Castello di Udine sits on a large hill, offering a nice view of the city, once you make your way up the steep path and stone steps that lead up there.