Italian customs is the easiest we have ever encountered. If I had not said “bonjourno” (to Marcy’s chagrin) we would have probably gotten through with just the sound of the agent’s imprint stamp striking our new passports and nary a word. Last year, we flew home from Linate, which is Milan’s answer to Laguardia – a busy regional. This is Malpenza airport, north and east of the city and appears be tourist central today, with several tour group operators holding up signs to gather their tired masses. Gate1 Travel had dispatched Georgio and driver Stephano to gather us and transport us to our starting city, Como. The area near the entrance was crowded with people waiting for their rides. It appears that Italians do a lot more smoking than Americans because the area just out side the main door was shrouded in a blue haze with more smokers than I am used to seeing. We had maybe 15 minutes to hang out before other flights arrived with the rest of our party and we stood in the central hall, tired, eyes drooping to the floor. It was then I noticed the shoes! Like most men, I am shoe blind, but I could not help noticing the beautiful leather shoes our driver was wearing. I looked around and saw other natives sporting stylish footwear. I told Marcy that I wanted a pair, but will probably stick with Kohls. Our pre-trip travel reading did indicate that it was poor taste to wear US-style athletic shoes to a restaurant. I can see why.  This initial shoe impression prompted me to take notice and take pictures – looks like blue is the “in” color for 2016.  Looks like a nice pair can be had for just north of €160.

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