We woke up to even harder rain and went to pay for our apartment and check out. We had to wait for them to show up since we were a bit ambitious about leaving and got up early. We caught the train to La Spezia. Weirdly, the train station in Riomaggiore said it was no longer allowed to sell train tickets, so you were supposed to buy tickets on the train. We tried to convince the ticket lady on the train of this, but she didn’t understand English at all. She even Momma Mia’d us when she got frustrated. Yes, totally our fault for not speaking Italian – we know that. But she was cordial about it, once we got it figured out.
During the train change in La Spezia, we barely made it onto the connecting train. The buzzer was going off as we jumped on, right past another train conductor. He smiled at us as we threw our bags on and climbed aboard out of breath. It was then that I realized we didn’t stamp our tickets before hopping on the train. It doesn't sound like a big deal, but is a major issue if you got caught with that. I hopped off our train at two different stations, looking for a yellow box to authorize our ticket and totally couldn’t find it. I finally gave up and went to the train conductor. Thankfully, it was the same one that saw us running and hopping on the train. I apologized in English for not stamping the thing. He laughed and said some things in Italian and then stamped our ticket with his handheld dealy. Whew.
We made it through Genoa and then on to Milan. We had biscotti for breakfast while D.Rough bought more limoncello. We bought lunch sandwiches at a snack stand outside the central train station. The shop owner there said a cab to Linate airport (where our hotel was at) would cost about 40 Euros, but a bus would be FOUR. We took the bus to the airport and asked the lady at the information counter inside how to get to our hotel – The Air Hotel Linate. She said "for the safety of your life", we should take the shuttle. The hotel is somewhere across the busy highway. We called (since my cell phone worked) and got the hotel. They said they’d send a shuttle within 5 minutes. We waited about 45 minutes until D.Rough gave up and we went to find a cab.
The cab driver laughed when we said where we were going. Then he said he’d do it, but he’d charge us 12 Euros to get there. We said fine – we didn’t care – we were losing valuable time in Milan for shopping and eating and sightseeing. We literally drove across the street. Stupid tourists. Immediately after we paid the cab driver, the shuttle, which had just come from the airport where we missed it by 30 seconds, pulled up. The FREE shuttle. hahaha
We got checked into our room and once we figured out how to turn on the lights (you have to leave your room key in the slot next to the door to make the lights work – I’ve had this problem before in Germany).
Then, we had a couple more drinks in the hotel room and eventually took the shuttle back to the airport so we could take a 4-Euro bus back downtown to the train station. We caught the metro to the duomo and saw the duomo from the outside.
We needed to do some shopping (well, one of us did) went to the Galleria and got some gelato (D.Rough had coconut and coffee and I had Mela (green melon)).
While we were at the Galleria, we stepped on the bulls balls for good luck - some long-standing good luck charm. It apparently is an ancient enough tradition that the mosaic tiles on the bull’s nards have to be continuously replaced from people rotating on them a thousand times a day.
We window shopped all around the Galleria and D.Rough restrained herself much more than I ever thought possible and only bought a floppy black summer hat.
Sadly, there were lots of places closing early, since Monday is more of a weekend night for Milan. We tried to eat at this famous place called Liuni to get a panzeratti (like a calzone, apparently), but it was closed. Super bummer.
We walked to the Brera Art District since I heard it was a happening spot for food and culture. There are a lot of sheisty sales people and fortune tellers here. D.Rough had read that a lot of places here have an all you can eat buffet of appetizers if you order their girly drinks – this was basically made for me. But first, we thought we’d eat an actual meal. Amazingly, we stumbled across a panzeratti place in an alley.
We got a panzerrati, a slice of pizza, aranchino 1 & 2.
Panzeratti was basically a handheld calzone, which was dry but still pretty good. I wish I had some pizza sauce to dunk it into.
The pizza was really good and had strips of spicy meat on it. The aranchino was too greasy for D.Rough, but I loved it. It had greased all the way through the bag and was see-through hahaha (that means it's delicious!).
It’s basically a rice ball filled with pizza sauce and some meat and or cheese.
The ones we had were prosciutto and mozzarella and the other was a meat ragu on the inside. I got hooked on them in Sicily while I was there with my friend MO.
We walked to the more populated art district and found a nice place called the New Art Café.
They had an appetizer buffet and a HUGE list of girly drinks. I had a New Art Cocktail and D.Rough had a Melon Caipiroska. We grabbed some chips and salsa from inside, pickles, bread and marinara, olives.
You can’t load up like you do in America, so you just have to take a couple of small things on your plate. Then after you order more drinks, you can go back for more food.
We walked back to the Duomo and found all of the metro stations were closed for the night. SERIOUS panic since we had to catch the last bus back to the airport and didn’t want to pay 40 euros for a cab ride back. We debated on just saying screw it ,and getting all drunked up in Milan and cabbing back late that night, but our feet were sore and we were about shot for the night. We took a harrowing cab ride back to the central train station (10 Euros) just in time to catch the last bus to the airport (8 Euros). We made it to the airport and called the shuttle from the hotel to pick us up across the street (free). We probably saved about $200 by not staying in Milan and partying until the wee hours and cabbing back. Look at us – we’re almost responsible adults…