I’m jealous of Europeans. It’s so easy for them to travel from one country to another. In the United States you can travel from state to state but it isn’t the same, you’re still in the US. In Europe you travel an hour or two and you’re in a completely different world, the language is different, the food and the way of life.
I was lucky enough to travel like a European and visited Milan for a weekend. We booked our tickets with Ryanair. They were pretty cheap but if we had bought them earlier than a week in advance they would have been cheaper. Another group of students also went to Milan and they paid about 40 euro less than we did.
The cost didn’t matter to me even though I was on a budget. I was going to Italy.
I have to admit I felt really lucky. I never imagined I’d ever get to visit Greece so at the mere idea of seeing a small glimpse of Italy ( a small expensive part) made me shout with excitement. It was all I could talk about on the phone with my mother. I was driving my roommate crazy with my constant rambling about wanting to eat pizza, pasta and say ciao to Italians (real ones! not Italian Americans!).
Looking back, I was probably really annoying to be around.
Anyway, since we had limited time because I refuse to miss class unless I’m bleeding from my head or losing a limb, we left Thursday night and had to come back Sunday morning. Not a lot of time to explore and we didn’t exactly plan it well. We figured we’d just fly to Italy, find a cheap hotel and survive.
Finding a cheap hotel in Milan can be hard, especially when you can’t use your cellphone to look up prices at any given moment. My roommate had a list of hotels she found online but then forgot it in our room. We used the Wifi we had while waiting for the plane in Thessaloniki to call a few places to see if they had a room available for three people.
The cheapest ones were quickly crossed off the list because each time they called the person on the other end only spoke Italian.
Let me just take a moment to reveal something to you all, it may shock you but when I was younger I used to speak Italian. I studied Italian in middle school and back then (when you’re young and have barely any friends) learning a new language is easy.
I can’t speak Italian anymore but I can speak what I like to call Spanglish. I’ve been studying Spanish since high school and it hasn’t been easy. It was too similar to Italian which made me confused but that brings me to my main point.
I can speak enough Spanish (not very well but give me some credit) to understand someone in Italian. The languages are different but similar enough. However, my roommate and friend were not confident in my ability.
Which is why we stayed in a very expensive hotel the first night.
Hotel Florence is someplace I’d stay again in the future so it was fine with me. The rooms were small but when you’re fitting three people in one room it’s bound to be smaller than others. We were only there for the night anyway. I’ve stayed in inns and motels before with roaches so as long as there are no bugs (that I can see or feel) and hot water I’m good to go.
We left our first hotel for one that was just as expensive but closer to the city center. Again, we really didn’t do our research and they didn’t want to stay in a hostel just yet so my wallet that was full before I came to Milan was getting lighter by the hour.
Hotel Bristol was where we ended up next. The hotel was beautiful. The room was amazing. The bed was so comfortable I felt like I was sleeping on clouds and if we had a question or problem the staff responded within seconds (seriously, I counted, we made a call downstairs and they came to the door thirty seconds later, you don’t get that kind of service in New York).
The best thing about the hotel was the location because the train station was right across from it which is where our journey really began.
(Just a side note: Before I go on I’ll let you know we stayed in a hostel for our final night. Flower Hostel was in the middle of nowhere, seriously, taxi drivers didn’t know where it was, each one we had to keep asking another or looking at their maps. They say hot showers, all we had was cold water, there was no fan in our room so it was really hot, mosquitos kept flying inside and I’m allergic so I kept getting bit and felt horrible but the worst part was the fact that we couldn’t even charge our phones. If something happened to us we wouldn’t have been able to contact anyone. Listen to me: Do not stay there).
When I go to other countries or states I like to learn the history and to see the churches, museums or monuments. I’m the annoying person that wakes up really early and wants to start walking from place to place until the sun goes down. We decided to take the hop-on, hop-off sightseeing bus to get a tour of the city. I think it was worth it because we didn’t know where we were going.
I wanted to get off at almost every stop naturally but we didn’t. It was hot and the people I was with didn’t want to see everything so taking pictures was a challenge.
There was one place I wanted to see that I wouldn’t have budged on and thankfully everyone wanted to see it too.
I am a semi-religious person. I went to Catholic School when I was younger, Mother Theresa used to be my idol, my niece is my goddaughter and even though I don’t remember all the prayers and I don’t go to church anymore (and I don’t agree with everything the Catholic religion talks about) I still appreciate it which is why I wanted to visit Duomo di Milano, the Milan Cathedral.
The moment I laid my eyes on the cathedral I was speechless. Dedicated to Saint Mary Nascent, it is the fifth largest cathedral in world and took almost six centuries to complete. A picture doesn’t do it justice, neither does ten minutes staring at the outside of it. We couldn’t go inside because our dresses didn’t have sleeves, the guards were rejecting people left and right because of their “inappropriate” clothing. The next time I go to Milan I plan to go inside, memorize every statue, walk up to the roof and appreciate the hard work that went into building the cathedral.
Italy stole my heart. I can’t wait to go back.