Moving to a new town, city, state, or country while incredibly exciting can come with some challenges. One of those challenges is meeting new people especially when you are in a country with another language. I myself have overcome this challenge through the beauty of the Internet; specifically through the wonder that is Facebook groups.
A few weeks ago, I met up with some people I found from an expat page for Milan. After we met up to go to an outdoor cinema, one of the girls invited me to another expat outing near Lecco at Lago di Como. A group of about 12 of us spent the day swimming, meeting new people, and in general escaping the suffocating heat of Milan. I didn’t know it at the time, but this was the first official Byemom event that extended beyond the original friend group of the founders. (Here is the link to the group.)
What’s a “Byemom” you ask? Well a group of friends with a passion for travel created a Facebook group where individuals can plan and propose trips scaling anywhere from a backpacking trip in Norway to relaxing for the day at Lake Como. Being outgoing individuals, they decided to expand this idea further from their immediate friend group to publicize and invite other like-minded people on these trips. You can either scroll through and join already planned trips that interest you or create a trip of your own to invite some new friends on.
This past Saturday, I went on another event with Byemom and already it seemed like it was growing compared to the first event. About 30 people joined and went to the river Adda outside of Milan for the day. We took the train to a nearby town and then walked along the river, passing beautiful views of the rapids and peaceful animal life, for about 1 hour until we arrived at a little swimming area. When we arrived, we were some of the only people there and were able to freely choose a place to set up for the day.
Most of us, hot from the walk to the river, began immediately with a swim in the river. Up river from us were rapids, so swimming out to the center meant we got pulled down river quite quickly. If we stayed closer to shore where we could stand it was really enjoyable. The area also had these little man made pools that looked like spas, where the water from the canal above cascaded down into each of the pools and then made its way into the river. The water there was significantly colder, but extremely refreshing. After taking an initial swim in the river many of us posted up in the “spas” to relax, catch up with those we met before, and meet some of the new people.
In the planning stages of the trip, someone with a car offered to pick up barbeque supplies to make food and enjoy by the river. Those that wanted to participate just needed to throw in some cash to help with the cost. The masterminds brought an assortment of meats (beef, chicken, sausage, and an really nice cut of beef to slow cook Argentine style) along with beers, chips, bread, and the materials to build a barbeque. Pro tip: Argentines and Italians when cooking together make the best barbeques. The cooking, eating, and playing lasted all afternoon while the experts manned the grill. More locals arrived throughout the day and we no longer had the area to our selves like in the morning, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying the area and playing lawn games with the volleyball.
As the day passed on the group began to dissipate closer to sundown. About 7 of us walked back to the station to catch the 8:50 PM train back to Milan. It just so happened that when we walked back the sun was setting through the hills casting a warm glow on the surrounding landscape making it a perfect end to the day.
Many of us started out as strangers, but ended as new friends passing a one of a kind Milanese Saturday together. With a setting as beautiful as the river Adda, I never imagined this type of nature, peacefulness, and tranquility could be found so close to Milan. Without the Byemom group, this Saturday would not have been possible. In the future, I hope to plan and also participate in more trips with the group to continue meeting more people as well as enjoying more unique experiences like this one.
A friend and fellow Byemom member also created a short YouTube video documenting our trip (linked here.)