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Nothing to Wine about in Italy 😎

When in Ro... Milan and Venice 😅

sunny 60 °F
View Study Abroad: Berlin, Germany on TravelingTom's travel map.

  • Northern Italy is a place of immense beauty and this was extremely apparent from 35,000 feet up in the air. As we descended toward Milan-Malpensa airport, the snowcapped Italian Alps came into view from the underside of the clouds. Miles and miles of farmland stretched out into the horizon where your eyes just couldn't help but wander. This makes sense given the fact that the region (state) of Lombardy, where Milan is the capital of, agriculture is one of the main components of their GDP. I was extremely excited about this weekend with exploring Milan and Venice and my window seat did everything but contain my excitement. It was going to be a great weekend!

Although I was extremely eager for the weekend to start, it definitely started off pretty bumpy. The Thursday night before we left early Friday morning, I picked up my friend from the airport who I had not seen in roughly 4 years. I was very excited to see Hanna again and when I finally found her outside the terminal we made our way back to the train station to get back to my apartment. We would be back at Schönefeld Airport in roughly 8 hours. After a little bit of trouble finding our train we finally found it and got on. Unfortunately though, we had only thought we found it... since it didn't take me long to realize we were going the wrong way. If you are familiar with the Berlin area at all then it would be helpful to share that we were going toward Potsdam from Schönefeld when we needed to be heading back towards the center of the city. If you aren't familiar with the area though, then just find solace in knowing we were just going the wrong way. The stops were few and far between as well, so for a while we thought it would be better to just go to Potsdam and take a train back towards Berlin from there. Well, after a stop or two I realized that there may not be a train at that hour to go back to Berlin from Potsdam. It was approaching midnight and we got off at the next stop.

Bad idea! We got off at a station that looked like it was straight out of a horror movie. Extremely dark. Middle of nowhere. One street light that didn't illuminate much as it flickered sporadically. One random guy sitting on the bench at the stop. We looked up at the board and the next train going back the way we needed to go wasn't due to arrive until 4:45. Remember I said it was about midnight and we didn't have over four and a half hours to wait in the subfreezing temperatures for a train that may not have even been going the right way. I looked down at my phone, saw it had only six percent left and said a short little prayer. I opened the uber app and booked a car for us. A $55 ride was exactly what I was hoping I could spend my money on too... oh well. We arrived back at my apartment about 50 minutes later. It was roughly 2:00 am by this point. The flight was at 7:28am and we had planned to leave around 4:30 since it took about an hour to get back to the airport. I was looking at about an hour of sleep. I shut my eyes and hoped I wouldn't feel miserable the next day.

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About an hour and a half later I woke up and luckily didn't feel absolutely atrocious. I only felt as if I just took a nap that wasn't long enough. I guess at that point that's exactly what I did though :/

We got to the airport fine and security was a breeze. We got to the gate at around 6:45. We began boarding and the gates closed soon thereafter.

On the plane I was fortunate enough to have fell asleep for a little bit. It has always been hard for me to fall asleep on planes so I was surprised I had accomplished such a task. We touched down and soon began attempting to figure out how to get into the city center. Like in San Francisco, Milan's airports are nowhere near the hub of the metropolitan area. We all eventually figured it out and found the train we needed to be on. The roughly hour train ride from the airport to the main train station in the heart of the city was not with a lot of patience. None of us had slept for longer than three hours the night before.

After getting into the city we all split up and some of us went to this Italian place across the street from the main station and for my first official Italian meal, I ordered a calzone. The calzone came out huge and stuffed with pepperoni, sausage and cheese. I cut into it and was actually slightly disappointed with the meal. It was not some eye opening experience where I realized I had never had a more amazing dish. And that is actually how most of the meals turned out that weekend. Every place we went to, with the exception of one place in Venice, was only just alright. It was mostly better than what you would find at home, don't get me wrong. It just wasn't as exceptional as I expected it to be.

After lunch we all met back up again at our airbnb. The place was really cool. Since there were so many of us we needed a rather large place and actually found a listing that had two separate apartments right next door to each other with a private hallway separating the two. Each room was equipped with a kitchen, a private bathroom.....

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Ok so I just spent an hour typing and my computer crashed but because I don't want to just give up I am going to explain the rest in bullet points. I'm sorry but one of my biggest annoyances is retyping things :/

  • Headed to the Duomo (Catholic cathedral in center of Milan) after checking in.
  • Had AMAZING gelato before dinner.
  • Liquor store run before beginning the night.
  • Went to a club called Alcatraz (very cool but really expensive to get into).
  • Got back home and went to bed.
  • Woke up early and took a train to Venice.
  • Spent most of the day just exploring and getting lost with the canals.
  • Before heading back to Milan we enjoyed some wine on the Grand Canal and were able to take it all in. (Really was aware that Meredith wasn't with me to enjoy it all :( )
  • Got back to Milan and went to sleep. A very tiring day and the 30,000 steps didn't help.
  • Woke up and checked out of the airbnb.
  • Missed our train to Lake Como so we decided to go to Parco Sempione instead.
  • We threw the frisbee at the park and had an easy going last few hours in Italy... or so I thought.
  • I got a call saying that my friend from Sweden, Hanna, had fallen and really hurt her ankle.
  • Met her at the hospital and waited with her for three hours.
  • The hospital staff were moving extremely slow and I was extremely worried that we weren't going to make our flight.
  • After stressing for a long time, having a conversation with one of the nurses via Google Translate, and stressing some more, the nurse finally called a cab for us.
  • We got to the airport just in time and on our flight home I PASSED OUT! Never have I had a more stressful day.

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Go check out my pictures on Smugmug where you can see all of the pictures I have taken on my study abroad trip so far!
http://tinyurl.com/t3abroad
The password is "thomasabroad"

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Again, I'm sorry about not being able to go into detail about my trip to Italy but hopefully you can understand. I am going to write about my trip to Poland tomorrow and things will be back to normal!

Ciao!

Posted by TravelingTom 12:00 Archived in Italy Tagged bridges churches night trains venice travel italy canal milan study_abroad

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Lesson learned: dont trust the high guy hanging around at the trainstation at midnight to get you on the right train!!

by Hanna

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