After a plane ride that was delayed two hours, a kid screaming for her mother behind me during take off (I wish I could do the same kid), a middle seat and the longest train ride into Milan, I’ve officially made it into Italy and survived 3+ days. How have I done this? I have absolutely no clue. It’s strange to think that the very beginning part of my journey that was weighing on my mind is already sort-of over. Now all I have to do is worry about university, which seems much more intimidating at the moment.
I arrived in Milan on Thursday morning a bit after 10 am. We were supposed to arrive around 8, but the plane was rerouted to Denver before coming back to New York for our flight to Milan. That’s right, I was on a domestic plane. It was outdated, cramped and didn’t have individual televisions. American Airlines isn’t exactly my best bud right now. The flight was more/less forgettable (except for the flight attendant eating Milanos…) and I slept for most of it. Customs was possibly the quickest procedure I have ever gone through or will ever go through, though I had wanted some kind of small banter about my degree as the British immigration officers do.
I collected my bag, bought my train ticket, validated it and made my way into the city! After all those years of wanting to visit Milan, I can finally say that I’ve been. I stayed at Ibis Milano Centro. It wasn’t the world’s nicest hotel, but it was a decent price, in a decent location with a perfectly nice room for a short stay. I wouldn’t really want to stay there long term, but I think if you were traveling with people it would be more bearable. The best part? Only €2 for twelve hours of internet! Amazing.
I wasn’t exactly sure how the metro worked when I first descended into the abyss, but here’s my rudimentry understanding: find an electronic self-serve ticket machine, choose the type of ticket you want (I got an urban day pass for 4.50), validate it and go! Other than figuring out how and where to buy the ticket, it was the same as using a subway anywhere else. Can these tickets be used to ride the overground bus/tram? I got on one hoping that, if someone came by to inspect my ticket I’d be okay, but I don’t really know.
I went to see the Duomo and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele straight away. As with everything, they looked different in person in a way that is so hard to describe. Photographs make lines look cleaner, more obvious and laid out. Things in real life are messy and, because of that, more beautiful. After standing around gawking, I went to nearby Rizzoli to buy a map; the best four euro I have spent thus far.
Most of my time in Milan was spent walking around
looking at things mouth on the floor, taking photos and trying to figure out where I was. I’ll spare you the details as they’re mostly the jumps that went through my mind as I tried to decide whether or not I hated or loved Milan.
Dinner was quite the debacle as I was hungry and falling over myself at around 5:30. Of course, Italians don’t eat dinner until about eight. I ended up eating a makeshift arugula salad in my hotel room, from a bag, with forks bought at the chinese euro store. Comedic? Perhaps. Delicious? Surprisingly so.
The next morning I got my courage up to go try a proper Italian breakfast. By proper, I mean the food and not the style. I doubt I will ever like to have a quick breakfast or coffee, I prefer to linger. And linger. And then perhaps overstay my welcome by lingering some more. We’ll see if this changes.
In the afternoon, I took the frecciabianca to Pavia. Yes, it was probably the most expensive ticket I could have purchased, but it was worth it. I didn’t want to have to deal with a train that was less than nice or jockeying about to try and find a seat. It was clean, quick and obvious.
When I arrived, well, things have been speeding by ever since. I ate a lunch of pesto and pasta straightaway. I saw my room, I unpacked, I met the family, I walked around Pavia. It feels as if I haven’t stopped in quite some time, despite the fact that I slept for quite some time yesterday. I doubt I’ll feel completely settled for quite some time still.
Even though the feeling of being in transit is kind of icky, it’s also kind of fun. Sure, there are moments when I simply feel like I’m having mental stimulation overload, but I wouldn’t be having that at Bristol or in New York. These may be hard times, but I’m sure I’ll also look back on them as easy times. When you’re new in a place it’s still okay to make a total fool of yourself and have no idea what’s going on. Here’s to hoping that I’ll learn soon!
So, that’s what’s been going on so far in the most basic terms. We’ll see how much I’ll write about after this. I don’t want my blog to turn into a travel journal completely, but I do suspect that I will be posting more and more about the places I’m going.
Now, can someone please teach me the inner workings of the Italian bar? Because to say that I’m completely confused is, unfortunately, a gross understatement of the facts.
How do you feel when you arrive in a new city? Confused, excited, overwhelmed, happy, sad?