Sunday, November 25, 2007

Okay. Finally, I have found sometime to do my blog!
It's 8:55pm Sunday November 25th in Milan, Italy or Milano, Italia at a business hotel called ADI Hotel Poliziano Fiera. And its night shift front desk guy is kind of sleazy. The Italian computer keyboard is quite different from that of English and I couldn't figure out how to get "@" because it is the third symbol on a same key. He showed me that it is Ctrl+Alt+@, but then, he tapped my back as if I was his buddy or something. It wasn't particularly sexual, so I will not sue him for molestation or some such. Nonetheless, it was inappropriate in my humble opinion.

That is enough for a dark, ambitious-he dreams to be a manager someday, though his sense of service is very poor; my husband got mad because of his hotel-first-guest-second attitude-and improperly friendly Italian hotel man.

This is our 2nd and last night in Milano. We arrived from Cadenabbia, Lago di Como yesterday afternoon. We checked out and took a 11:58am bus to Como in front of our hotel Grand Hotel Cadenabbia. The bus actually arrived around 12:03pm. The road along the west shore of Lake Como is hair-raisingly narrow and winding in many sections. When a bus passes, cars, though they are usually small and narrow Italian and European vehicles-I'd love to have a new Fiat500, though it is not going to be imported to the U.S. I figure it is because the road was built for horse carriages centuries ago.

Nonetheless, the ride is pretty scenic and it takes only an hour to Como from Cadenabbia. The fare is €2.70 per person one way, whereas the ferry fare is €3.40 per ride between Varenna, Bellagio, Menaggio, and Cadenabbia.

We arrived at Como bus terminal at 1:02pm and proceeded to grab 13:16 train to Milano Nord (Cardona) station from Como Nord station at €3.50/person. The train departed about five minute later than schedule-not too bad for an Italian train (From Monterosso al Mare to Riomaggiore, my train arrived 10 minutes later than schedule last Monday). It was a local train filled with loud high school kids who come and go at every station. I remember giggling like that when I was of that age. Oh, well, I am no longer that young, but as Scott says, maybe more experienced...

The train arrived at Domodossola station-one before the terminus Cardona station-at 14:16 and we got off there. The hotel was supposedly 50 meters away; of course, it turned out that it was more like 200 meters away!

We checked in and was assigned to Room 326 and Jon's room was 331. Not too big, but comfortable enough room with 2 single beds put together to make them a double bed-by the way, that is obviously how they do in Europe. And it is a better way to ensure a good night sleep for a couple because one person's thrashing around would't awake the other person. Bathroom came with a nice shower with a real door instead of a flimsy shower curtain in Cinque Terre and Cadenabbia. There was also the mandatory bidet-I am sort of afraid that I might be too used to the luxury of having a bidet...

Scott and I had late lunch/early supper with GS supermarket bought Toscana Zuppa with beans and grain, which bursted at the Como station due to my careless drop of my food bag. The soup was still edible though it didn't get warmed as was recommended. I'd been craving for spicy food as I always do under stress, so had some chili pepper added pesto from the same GS supermarket.

After lunch, the full stomach induced 3 hour sleep. Later I forced myself to get up and took a shower, watched some BBC World and finally went to bed right before midnight.

This morning I woke up around 6am and went to have breakfast at 7:30am. I like eating, so it is always a pleasure to find out what is served on breakfast. I wasn't disappointed; scrambled eggs, hard-boiled eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, cheese, even salad with tomatoes, all kinds of bread including my favorite croissants-though not baked on-site-cereal, canned fruits, OJ, grapefruit juice, tea, coffee, and fresh fruits.

As usual I stuffed myself, justifying that I will burn all by walking around. Scott joined me later-he has been suffering from a series of pain caused by badly sprained and possibly broken toe, 2nd degree burn on the same left foot, hip-sciatic pinched nerve due to the funny gait caused by the two aforementioned injuries, and now screwed up lumbar verterbrae-trying to control excruciating pain...

After the meal, the three of us decided to go on a Milano tour. First, we headed to Milano Centrale FS to make a reservation for tomorrow's journey; we are going to Venezia and Jon will be on his way to Monaco. It took quite a while to get to the station. We left about 10am. First, we could not buy a 24-hour pass for mass tranportation ride. The tabacco shop next door was closed because it was Sunday. The nearby newsstand only sold single ride tickets. We thought we could find some place near the tram No.1 stop, but there was nothing. So, I volunteered to back to the newsstand to buy 3 €1 single tickets. Then, I had to go back to my room to retrieve our Eurail pass, which is necessary to make a reservation! Finally, we got on a tram but it was a wrong one. Not 1 but 3. So, we had to got off and wait for another that would take us to Duomo where we will take a metro to Milano Centrale.

When we got to the station, there was much confusion as to where to go to make reservation. We probably wasted at least 20 minutes. Eventually, I got to a right window and it cost me €16 to make 2 reservations for Scott and me between Milano, Verona and Venezia... I love traveling almost as much as acting, but it takes a lot of money...

Finally, we went to back to the Duomo station and joined other tourists. First, we checked this bookstore inside the Galleria. It had an extensive collection on broad ranges and I found Don Camillo and Peppone series by Giovannino Guareschi! Oh, my, how much I loved that series as a young adult! I'd love to recollect all of them. I lost my books in Korean due to the flood of Gimmyoung Publishing Company's warehouse where I had my books stored... And it is another long story... Then, we went to Museo La Scala and saw the special exhibition of Maria Callas. It was really worth €9(=€4 for me as a student and €5 for Scott). I rediscovered Maria Callas and now I want to find her album and listen to her voice. The museum's regular items were quite impressive as well. Busts of Toscanini, Verdi, Puccini and even Eleonora Duse took me back in time and rekindled my passion for art. I must continue to pursue my love, acting, since I know how much it means to me.

After La Scala tour, we went to the Duomo and climed to the top. another €4 per person to climb by the stairway. Again, it was worth the money. We walked around and stayed until we got kicked out around the sunset. It was a dinner time now. We decided to try this appetizer buffet place listed in Rick Steves' Italy 2008. Following the map, we got to Bar Brera around 18:00. It's happy hour buffet was already in full service. We each ordered some drink and dived into the smorgasbord of Italian antipasti; all kinds of grilled vegetables, chicken, cheese, ham, salami, bread, green beans with potatoes, pasta, mozzarella with sliced tomatoes, grilled bell peppers, among many others. Once again, I stuffed myself... Ah, food and I are inseparable... I need to work on this too much intimacy...

A little before 19:00, we left the bar and headed northwest along Via Brera to go back to the hotel. I am usually pretty good with maps, so with little confusion we all got to the hotel around 20:00. Only Scott was too tired due to his pain from his injury...

I gave him some back push, which seemed to help...

Now, it is 21:58 and Scott's here to use the computer. Before he forgets what he want to do with the Internet, ha ha ha.

I'll sign off now. Good night, folks.

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