The Sim Saga

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Europe » Italy » Lombardy » Lake Maggiore
September 10th 2011
Published: September 9th 2011
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What a day - we were headed for Intra, about 4 towns away in Verbania, for a local sim card because although the internet told me that there was a Vodaphone store at Malpensa/Milan airport, there seemed not to be, or perhaps it was in the Arrivals section.

Unfortunately we got off the bus too early, so we tried the local tobacci shop (where you buy bus tickets, and phone recharges) but alas no micro sims for an iPhone! They sent us up the hill to the information centre, where we found a very nice Italian lady with good English who said, no, you could buy that at Stresa (where we had come from). So we said, can you give us there number and we will call and check first, so we don't go back then get told no we don't have sim cards. Luckily she phoned them and found out no they couldn't help us.

She then gave us a good map and directions to a 'big shopping centre' in the next town and said there was a phone shop in the centre, and an electronics store next door to it. The 'big shopping centre' consisted just of a supermarket and about 3 shops, and after 1/2 hour waiting at the electronics store we found neither could help us. They said go to Intra!

The difficulty and lengthy operation came about because the bus only runs every hour, so we had to spend an hour in each of these towns along the way. We finally got to Intra about 2.00, and needed directions to find the Vodaphone or Tim shop. A very helpful man at a hotel reception helped us on our way (via a lane that we never would have thought to enter), but indicated it is siesta time, so all shops are closed till 3.30, so maybe have a coffee or something. We walked until we found the Tim shop, closed for siesta, then went further, getting lost along the way to find the Vodaphone shop in case they were open, again no luck, closed till 3.30. Wouldn't it be nice if we could have shopped until the shops opened! Our feet were killing us, so we had a very nice sit outside a church in a cool alleyway.

To pass the time till the bus back to Stresa we found a restaurant on the lake front and had a beire (beer). Mum, you would be proud, I had a shandy, 'Panache' in Italian, and thought this would be very refreshing as we were hot and stinky after all this walking.

Anyway when we got back and inserted the sim at 5pm when the man had said it would work, only to be confronted with Sim Locked - and needing to enter a password. Silly me (and John) didn't think to look at the plastic that the sim was stuck in, but looked all over the packaging and tried every number we could find.

As always you can find anything you need on google, and some lovely lady in her travel blog gave instructions on finding and inserting local sims - god bless her! The pin was there in front of us all the time (but in the bin)

Anyway not enough photos today to warrant downloading them.
We have just enjoyed a nice swim in the lake in front of the hotel, and have visited a Pharmacia for some herbal remedies for my cankles! So should be on the mend soon.

Our last evening in Stresa, so we will take some nice photos at dusk, as it was just beautiful last night in the main town of Stresa. The restaurants were packed, and all the shops open to 10.30. I don't think they have the siesta in Stresa (maybe due to more tourists around) as one shop keeper who looked tired, said she works from 9.30 am to 10.30 pm straight! We have also noticed the hospitality staff in the restaurant in the hotel work the dinner, and breakfast shifts (not sure about lunch) so they seem to do a 12 hour day also. Very long hours.


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