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Published: June 25th 2007
I can confidently say that I know more about the Milano cookie (sugar oval cookie with chocolate sandwiched in between) than Milano the city. It's not what I planned, but c'est la vie (however you say that in Italiano).
In Rome: For some reason, I felt like I had to leave the hostel early and wait for my train to Milan a bit earlier than probably necessary. I think half the reason was excitement to get to a new city and the other half was because I knew Italian trains were crazy when I was here in Nov, so I couldnt imagine what summer was like at Rome Termini station. Well, what I forgot to logically think about was that the trains would never be early or leave early, so why come early? Oh well. I got to the train station and it was an absolute disaster! People were crammed everywhere. I'm not kidding when I describe the area like a Bon Jovi concert (wish I could have seen him in Seattle, by the way). Utter chaotic moshpit plus suitcases and small children sitting on the ashy ground. I found some ground space against a wall and camped out while people watching to pass the time. Th train times were looking bad - delays of every train were 3-5 hours...is this normal for summer?
Luckily my train was only 55min late to depart. whew. I arrived in Milano later than expected. Apparently there was a train collision near rome as well as a riot at the other train station in Rome or something? That must have been why it was so chaotic, haha.
Once at the station I realized Milan was much more of an industrial area than the other european towns i've visited. Men wearing suits were on the march. I needed to get to my hostel to put my bag down. My yellow backpack wasnt bothering me, it was my orange messanger bag that was cutting into my slightly pink shoulders since I was wearing a tank top. Furthermore, I was schleping not only a liter of water but a whole bottle of red wine (i'm dedicated) frmo Rome that Marissa gave me. I planned to open it in rome and share with the people in my hostel, but nobody liked red wine! Unbelievable, but kind of believable I guess - typical college-aged American boys usually like beer.
I had directions to the hostel via the metro, but i first had to figure out the metro itself. The lines were kind of color coded but the confusing part was figuring out the right direction to take. Of course one of the metro numbers I had to take split the destinations and I didn't read the digital sign before getting on so I was headed to the other side of the Y. Backtrack. I got lost a couple times but was able to make my way out of the metro and into a residential area. My hostel said on the website that it was fairly far from the center but when I climbed out of the metro it looked like a total suburb. It actually reminded me of Enschede, Netherlands. Compared to rome, this area had more bicyclists and larger cars - some were vans and even stationwagons (neither did I see in Rome).
I found my hostel, which was an HI hostel, and didnt realize it was so big. It was pretty charmless and very much like a university dorm with just the bare necessities (and I mean bare, like not even toilet seats! haha. at least there was toilet paper...). I put my bags down and took the 2 metros back to the train station. I realize this was a bit of a hassle, but I had more patience to wait in line and go to the supermarket sans 35 pounds extra. My ticket to Nice was surprisingly cheaper - only 25 euros - for the same distance (about) from roma to milano but that ticket was double the price.
I got back to the hostel and ate my lunch/dinner, by then it was 8pm. I didnt see anything in Milan besides the station and the hostel. Some of the hostellers told me to be weary when walking alone at night there because of the prostitutes. Great. Well i was so tired anyway, so I went to a nearby internet cafe and posted a blog. One of my roommates was named Tani from Mexico. Her English was minimal, but we communicated with the help of a little spanish, thanks to my restaurant job. The other 3 girls in the room were from Brazil. Two spoke only Italian and one spoke Porgugese. tough to communicate, but a smile goes a long way. Tani warned me about mosquitos there that were like little vampires. In rome, they already used me as a nightly buffet and my feet showed it, dime-sized bites all around my ankle bones. One even dared to feast on my knee.
bye bye Milan. Maybe next time I'll see more of you
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