The cheapest destination to head out of Switzerland and back to Udine was via train to Milan. We had made the decision some time ago that we wanted to stay with my Italian family one last time before we left Europe so it was just a matter of finding a cheap and relatively hassel free means of transport back. Milan provided us with the opportunity to see another Italian city and break up our travel, whilst still taking us in the direction of Udine.
Our 5:45am train trip wasn’t the greatest of starts to the day but it was a cheap ride out of a country that has generally very expensive train travel so we were happy to deal with the lack of sleep. The early start also allowed us to spend nearly a full day sightseeing, sleep the night and then make another early (but not so early) start the next day to catch the train to Udine.
We had heard mixed things about Milan so we didn’t know what to expect. We were apprehensive upon our arrival but pleasantly surprised by the grand central station that greeted us. Since we aren’t keen shoppers there were not many items on our ‘things to do in Milan’ list. After catching the metro to our accommodation to drop off our bags we headed out to see the Duomo, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and the Castello Sforzesco. It was for the best that we didn’t want to see a lot as Jase’s heel became really sore. After a sit down in the park we headed back to our hostel and called it a day.
We headed out for dinner and awesome gelati but the real adventure of the night didn’t begin until our apparently successful business man of a roommate returned to the hostel drunk. Thankfully I slept through this first part but Jase informs me that the man came in at about 11pm and then proceeded to drink, take tablets, listen to the same song repeatedly and cry – yes, cry. You can imagine Jase’s concern that this guy was going to kill himself, or worse, kill us then himself, so he went to tell the owners. They weren’t too interested in the matter and assured Jase that the man was a happy and successful banker who practically runs the banks. Like any hotshot banker spends his business trips sharing a room with backpackers in a one star hostel! Jase returned to the room, got his earplugs and saw a brief glimpse of sleep long after the drunk did.
Then it was my turn. One in the morning rolled around and I was awoken by the sound of choking and moaning. I think with our time in hostels we’ve become fairly tolerant of snoring, but this guy took snoring to a whole other level. For around an hour I lay in bed with the pillow over my head, wishing to go and smother it over the man’s face. Thankfully the earplugs were working for Jase, and I eventually got back to sleep. And in case you were wondering, Jase contemplated waking me up to give me earplugs too but thought it better to let me sleep… he is always looking out for me.
When it eventually came the time for us to get up we were pretty tired, but the image of my beautiful cousin Serena waiting at the train station kept us going.
The Lonely Planet guide says that you either love or hate Milan but I disagree. Sure, we hated our night’s sleep however perhaps because we didn’t fully explore all that Milan has to offer I’ve left the city feeling fairly indifferent to it all.