Italy - Day 9 - to Milan and then Dubai

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September 22nd 2012
Published: October 2nd 2012
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Italy 2012

Rome > Pompei > Florence > Cinque Terre > Milan

I freaked out a little, hoping that no major issues would come up today on my way to catch my flight in Milan at 4pm. So, I woke up super early and caught the 5:46am train from Riomaggiore that would take me to Genova. I had studied the train schedule we had take a picture of in La Spezia until I felt comfortable with my plan. However, because it was so early, the ticket station was not open and a couple of Austrailian guys waiting across the tracks told me how to get over there. When I got on the almost empty train, I chose my window seat and waited to explain to the conductor. A conductor never appeared. Cool! Unfortunately, because it was such an early hour, I didn't get to see all the incredible scenery and ocean side towns until almost at Genova itself - by the way, this is a gorgeous city and I would not mind planning a trip here the next time through. 😊

*Disclaimer: Third attempt to complete blog thanks to travelblog which either blocks my access or logs me off when I try to save....


I was very proud of myself and getting this route laid out, by stopping at one of the two main stations in Genova. In my 16-minute timeframe, I managed to grab a ticket and find my platform, as well as buy a water and something to eat from the quick stop (pringles was the only thing even remotely appealing). On the platform, I got a little nervous as a train pulled in going the opposite direction just a few minutes before I was supposed to board. I asked an Italian lady who was apparently not on either of those trains if I was on the right track (teehee!), but she didn't speak any English. She was very helpful though and I realized that I knew more Italian than I thought I did, though that is still almost nothing (very glad I had flipped through the Italian-English dictionary in our apartment in Florence during some free time). Sure enough, my train arrived right on time soon after the other train pulled out. I found my seat in a cabin with five other people who were quiet the whole time, so I read my kindle book and occasionally glanced out at the scenery. It was a fast train with only two other stops, so I made it to Milan by 9:55am.

The train station in Milan is HUGE. And it is a pretty nice and easy to follow layout. I had 6 hours to kill before my flight so I grabbed my bus ticket to the airport and decided to take a quick tour around the neighborhood. It only took me one block to realize I was in a very ghetto location so I looped quickly back to the station and decided to bide my time in a cafe. The wait staff there was very friendly and I ordered two capuccinos, a ham panini, and a bottle of water to take some more Vitamin C Gwen had given me. I was a wreck - coughing, sneezing, snivelling. Ick.

I decided that the area around the station was a bust, so it was time to go to the airport on the next bus. I was glad I did because it was not the 20 to 30 minute ride I was led to believe, but almost an hour. Plus, the clock in the bus was dead wrong and I was worried that it was in fact two hours later. So, I had a minor freak out moment... But I was pretty sure that it was only a little past noon. Then the bus pulled into the first terminal at the airport, miles and miles and miles away from Milan, and didnt' really give us any direction. Other people were staying on the bus, but I got off and took out my itinerary from my backpack stored beneath to confirm that I was actually at the next terminal. Sure enough, you could not miss the main terminal. I was able to quickly find my checkin, though they made me check my backpack because the "Flight is very very full". I was easily able to get through security and made my way to one of very few choices in eating locations to wait for my flight. I had a slice of old cheese pizza and a coke while reading over the next couple of hours.

I was thankful that the checkin lady was WRONG and my flight was NOT full - meaning I got my own window and aisle seats to sprawl out on. That was great because the flight itself was absolutely miserable. I was able to enjoy watching movies and shows, but I was so sick all I wanted was my own bed. Plus, I had a three hour layover in Qatar, which I could have easily taken one of the two earlier flights to Dubai if I hadn't had to unnecessarily check my backpack. But I arrived in Dubai, right on time at 3am, grabbed a courtesy car to JLT and was in bed by 4:30am. I will detail my horrible sickness in a later blog. In the meantime, I will give some highlights of my trip:

1. Gwen and I planned this trip out very well I thought. Very few travelling hiccups and we saw many places on a loose schedule that made everyone happy.

2. It was amazing to be with my Ventucky friends in friggin ITALY!

3. Pompeii was one of the best parts of the whole trip - from beginning to end (once we arrived). Collusseum was the runner up.

4. Some of the things we learned in our Colosseum tour however are not accurate and are based on legends or rumors or the bias of contemporary historians. I plan to read a lot more about Nero though because it does sound like a fascinating time, but the statement that he was so hated they removed his likenesses or that he burned Rome to make room for his palace are most likely untrue. He was hated by the senate and upper class, but the general populace loved him. He was also most likely not even in Rome during the fire and fires were not an uncommon occurance. He did, however, instate a lot of changes to buildings to prevent such a future catastrophe in the new construction. And he also deflected blame to the Christians, who were tortured and persecuted as a result.

5. Further readings on Pompeii indicate that those in Pompeii were killed by falling ash and rocks, maybe some ingestion of gasses, and then covered in ash - and then they were in fact found and recreated in plaster casts. Victims of Herculaneum were mostly evacuated, but the remainder tried to take refuge in little caverns for boats by the sea to await evacuation, so when the pyroclastic flow came, they were killed instantly by superheated gases. So, some of these people DO have bones, which are among the few instances of remains of Romans found and are vitally important to archaeology.

6. Pliny the Elder died trying to rescue his friend, stranded near Vesuvius. It is said he died inhaling poisonous gases, but since no one else he was with did, it is more likely he died of natural causes.

7. The eruption of Vesuvius actually probably occurred in October, not August. The dates are confused because of the codex used when updating calendars. Due to the clothing people were wearing, foods available, the storage of wine, and typical wind directions during the different months, most historians are convinced the correct date is in October.

Hope I educated you a little bit. Now, I shall continue blogging from Dubai. There are many more adventures in the following week as Gwen and I explore places I've not been to yet. Enjoy!


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