Milan

Trip Start Oct 11, 2005
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Trip End Oct 23, 2005


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Where I stayed

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Thursday, October 20, 2005

I walked to the train station at 7:00 AM. Upgraded my ticket to first class so I could sit with Monica, from Georgetown, the only other person who opted to take the train. Most people I talked to never even considered taking the trains in Europe. Monica has been doing the MBA tour for a few years and said she tries to take the trains as often as possible. I can see why. It is so much more relaxing that flying. It was a four hour ride to Milan. While we did see some snow capped mountains, it was actually kind of cloudy, so we didn't get to see too much. Monica warned me that every time she has been to Milan it has been cold, and grey, and rainy. Still, expectations remained high. Until we got to central station.
As we were getting into a cab a homeless woman approached us and asked for money. Nothing surprising there...until she practically got into the cab with us. Monica mentioned that they could be aggressive in this city.
We stayed at the Milan Marriott which is an absolutely gorgeous hotel in the middle of nowhere. My room was fantastic. Big bed, desk, and a couch! If only we could always travel through Europe on someone else's dime.
The biggest downside to Milan, besides the weather (which was grey and rainy, as promised, was that we had to take cabs everywhere. The streets are almost impossible to navigate...even the maps don't list all of them.
We went to the Duomo and the Galleria Vittorio Emmanuel II. In all honesty that is all there is to see in this city. You need reservations to see Leonardo DaVinci's Last Supper, and they were booked through November 5 already. One person we met did reserve a space to see the painting, and he was escorted into the room, rushed through in 15 minutes, and then brought out to a gift shop. Not sure that's worth 11 Euros.
We ate lunch at Primafila, a fantastic restaurant just to the right of the Galleria. Awesome pizza and fresh capreze salad...and almost everything on the menu was under 10 Euros.
After lunch we walked through the Duomo then went back to the hotel. Monica, myself, and Valerie made plans to meet up with Shelbi, from University of Maryland, and Jett, from Berkeley for dinner. Jett had read an article on his flight over about the "Can't miss spots in Milan" So, we took a cab to the canals...or what was supposed to be the canals. When the cab dropped us off next to a crane and a muddy stream, we were sure he had taken us to the wrong place. Jett even showed us a picture from the magazine, which looked absolutely gorgeous. An outdoor dining scene next to a beautiful canal, under sparkling lanterns. Nope. Not for us. Dark alley, no water, no lights. We still managed to find a pretty good restaurant for dinner, with very poor service. Then we had gelato for dessert at a little shop on the corner and I swear the banana gelato actually tasted like you were eating a banana.
On the morning before our fair we attempted to go shopping. This is Milan afterall. I was severely disappointed. All the shops we saw were the same ones we had seen in Paris, and Zurich. A few people managed to find some things in a cute store, but we really spent most of the morning wandering around looking for the street names...and asking directions at every newstand we walked by.
Valerie and I went back to Primafila for lunch. I can now officially say I have a favorite restaurant in Milan, because we wound up there for dinner after the fair too.
We looked at other places, but this one has such good food, and we had the same waiter all three times we went...so we were his regulars for two whole days.
May I recommend the pizza Primafila, or the gnocchi arrabiatta (which isn't on the menu, but you can ask)
Tomorrow, in an effort to save 100 Euros (which is how much a cab would cost), I will try to take the train to the Milan airport.
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