The train ride into Milan was a short one, but it gave me some time to figure out the places I wanted to see while I was there. I had found some great apps on my phone for exploring Italy. One of the apps has the ability to create what it calls a ‘city walk’. It allows you select several sites you’d like to see around the city and then it automatically generates a route around the city to view them all. Very cool.
With my city walk created, I was ready to see some of the main attractions in the lawn. The train arrived at the station, and I knew exactly where I wanted to go. But first I needed pizza!
After eating, I began walking around Milan and was surprised to see how much it reminded me of a large American city. I wasn’t in a small Italian town anymore.
While walking around the city, a man from Dubai stopped me and asked if I could take his picture in front of a monument. His name was Aziz, a friendly fellow, and I ended up walking around the city with him for several hours. He’d been in Milan for a couple days already and had already seen a few of the sites so he took me around.
At the end of the the city walk, we arrived at the Milan Cathedral. This this is spectacular to see in person. You can even go inside to look around. I tried to walk into the cathedral but I was stopped by a soldier guarding the entrance. He told me my backpack was too large. Since Aziz was going inside, we said goodbye and parted ways.
At some point earlier in the day I had stopped to book myself a place to stay. I figured at this point, I should start walking in that direction. I wasn’t sure, but while walking I thought I’d felt a raindrop or two. I should’ve paid closer attention, because not two minutes later it started pouring. I had plenty of rain gear with me but putting it all on meant digging through my bag to get it out. I found the driest place I could find under a tree and started digging through my backpack. Waterproof pants… Check. Waterproof jacket… check. Waterproof shoes? Nope, didn’t have any of those. I finally through all of my rain gear on and repacked my bag. I wrapped my bag in my rainproof cover and continued walking. Looks like the next two hours would be walking in the rain.
The nice thing about walking in the rain is that it takes your mind off of how sore your body is.
By the time I arrived at the hostel the sun had gone down and me shoes were soaked all the way through. I should’ve paid much closer attention to the ratings on the website I booked with because this place was a dump. The only thing this place had going for it was the people staying there. Everyone I talked to for all parts of the world were very friendly. After talking to one guy staying there, I learned that the hostel was commonly given a rating of two on most travel websites. Not a two on a five point scale. It was two on a ten point scale. I should’ve taken more pictures, especially of the room I stayed in, but trust me when I say that this place was no Holiday Inn.
When I checked in and finally got up to my room, there was a French guy watching a movie on top of one of the bunk beds. All five other beds were empty. I dropped off some of my belongings and decided to go downstairs into the common area to connect to the Internet. The connection was terrible but I saw that they had lockers available. I went back to my room to grab my stuff to lock up. I stayed downstairs in the common area and I met a few very interesting people.
One lady told me she was a movie writer with a crazy past. She told me she had been working on a movie that the government did not want produced, and they were doing everything in their power to end the production of the movie. First they poured gas into to room while she was sleeping. She said it made her develop a 50 lb. pool of liquid in her body cavity she can’t get rid of. Then they bombed her. Twice. They stole her purse with all her movie industry contacts in it. Then, she said, they ended up killing the first producer of the movie. They must really not want this movie produced.
I also met Yana, a woman from the Ukraine. She was looking for people around the room to split a pizza with and I was hungry so we decided to buy a seafood pizza and some beer. We talked for awhile and before I turned in for the evening, Yana told me she said she knows a couch surfing host in Paris I might be able to stay with. Awesome.