The trip to Milan

Trip Start Aug 28, 2009
Trip End Nov 24, 2009

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Flag of Italy  , Lombardy,
Sunday, October 18, 2009

Last weekend was so incredible.  I agreed to meet my friends John and Meghan in Milan, and the night before I had been talking to Meghan trying to decide on a time and she invited me to spend the weekend with her and her family.  I agreed, eager to see another part of Italy and get out of the house for a while, so I left early Saturday morning with a bag of clothes and my toothbrush in hand because I was running a little late for the bus.  I took an express train into Milan, and as we're zipping through the countryside the man sitting across from me gets a phone call and proceeds to talk in English to whoever called him.  I got excited and told him it was nice to hear English.  We then spent the remainder of the trip talking, he's originally from England but has been living in Cape Town, is totally into sailboats and loves America.  He was a nice old man.  I got to Milan first and waited for the other two, John showed up, then Meghan.  We walked out, intending on going to the city center but we were so absorbed in catching up on our lives that I don't have any idea if we started in the right direction.  I would like to point out at this time that the city center is not very near the train station, most people take a subway.  I'm glad we walked, we saw many interesting buildings, but at about this time I realized that in my rush, I had forgotten to pack my camera.  Luckily John had his.  All of a sudden we were downtown, and there in the distance was the duomo.  It looks a lot like these sandcastles my cousin Nick and I used to make, where we'd let wet sand drop out of our fingers into these spiny towers.  It was breathtaking.  So much detail on every single inch of this building.  We went inside, but it wasn't nearly as cool.  It was dark, so there were floodlights, which totally ruined the atmosphere.  Luckily this time I was wearing enough clothes that I didn't need my temporary church outfit that they provided me in Florence.  From there we walked through the Galeria, the place with all the fancy schmancy shops, and in the middle of this amazing structure, if you spin in a circle, you can see all the high-end brand name stores, and then McDonald's.  They even had an ad for "il Mac".  Super classy.  We were hungry so they went to the Burger King (I will admit I contemplated it, but couldn't bring myself to spend 6 euros-about $9-on something I don't even eat back at home) so I went to get a simple Italian sandwich and soda.  I ordered what I wanted, but the lady said I needed to go to another counter to get a ticket.  So I took my soda over to the counter, showed her the drink, then ordered what I wanted.  I paid, took my ticket back to the food counter, and again, ordered what I wanted.  She looked at the ticket, then at the sandwich I was pointing at, and said I owed 40 more cents.  So I went back to the money counter, paid my 40 freakin cents, then brought both tickets back over.  I gave her the tickets, she took the sandwich out, then asked if I had paid for my drink.  Apparently I hadn't, so yet again, I hoofed it over to the money counter, this time angry and near tears.  I finally got all 3 tickets, went back to retrieve my sandwich, and had to wait in line behind people who knew what they were doing.  FINALLY I got my sandwich, and went outside to eat with John and Meghan.  They had watched the whole thing and thought it was pretty funny, but I was pretty peeved.  As we ate on the steps of the duomo I cooled off, and we headed off again.  We went to the theater, but it cost money to get inside, so instead we went to the castle.  We wandered around, my back was killing me from my backpack, so we went to a huge park and sat on a bench and people watched.  Just sitting there, in the perfect fall weather, I felt incredibly happy, my friends that I've only known for a little over a month restoring my excitement in the fact that I am in Italy.  We only had enough time to go to one more place, so we chose the cemetary.  And while you may wonder why we chose a cemetry, I must say, I am SO glad we went, it was INCREDIBLE.  Absolutely amazing.  We went in a back way and were immediately surrounded by marble statues.  These people don't bury their dead with a simple tombstone marker.  No, they have intricate statues, every single one of them, so that it was like walking through a strange outdoor museum.  We walked up some stairs and at the top I lost my breath.  For as far as I could see, it was statues.  I mean, it was just a sea of statues!  The wall that surrounded the entire property as actually a hallway where less rich people were "buried" in drawers (still made of marble), and it was this wall/hallway that we had walked up on to see the rest of the cemetary.  I must say, I think that was my favorite part about Milan.  It was quiet, beautiful, in a sad way, and so unique.  As we walked out, back to the train station, I looked back at the main entrance, a beautiful building that I think I might have studied in one of my History of Architecture classes.  We had made a huge circle around Milan, and by the time we made it back to the station, I thought my back would go out on me, if my feet didn't fall off first.  John went off to his town, and Meghan and I bought huge bottles of iced tea, waiting for our train to arrive.  I had many more adventures waiting for me...
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