“Hitch-hiking” the backroads of Milan…Madrid, Fall 2011

A few weeks back my travel buddy from school and I went to go visit one of our mutual friends in Milan.  We arrived at midnight and had a bit of a struggle fest figuring out how we would get to her apartment without having to spend and arm and a leg on a taxi.  We were told to take the Malpensa Express, which is a train that takes us from the airport to a station closer to her apartment and then take a taxi.  Not knowing a word of Italian beyond the basics of hello, goodbye, thank you, you’re welcome, and excuse me, we were able to find someone who directed us to the Terminal 1.  We were at Terminal 2 and discovered that we needed to take the airport shuttle to Terminal 1.  We boarded the bus, and proceeded to get off at the first stop…which wasn’t actually a stop.  We hadn’t been paying attention and got off when a big group of people got off, figuring that it was where we were supposed to get off too.  Turns out the people who got off had cars parked in a parking lot at the stop, which was just a parking lot in the middle of nowhere…So we had a bit of a panic attack as we began our trek in the direction we thought Terminal 1 would be.  We walked about a mile with our luggage until this big van with two Indian men pulled over and asked (in English) if we needed a ride somewhere.  Not seeing too many options, and feeling relatively safe we agreed.  They dropped us off at Terminal 1 (which was like another 2 miles away), where we discovered the train was closed for the night.  We caved in and decided to take a taxi- getting gipped into paying 90 euros for a 20 minute taxi ride into the city.  We finally got to our friend’s apartment at 2 in the morning. We slept in until 10:30, and then headed to the Duomo, the only touristy place worth visiting in Milan.  For lunch we went to this Italian version of a fast food place called Luini’s, which sells panzerotti.  I will try to describe it to you: it is kind of like an empanada, except the outside is fried bread (almost like a donut without the glaze and sugar) and the inside is stuffed with mozzarella and tomatoes.  The panzerotti was by far the best thing I have ever eaten in my life.  We enjoyed it so much that we went twice that day, and again the next day.  I ended up staying with my friend in Milan for 4 days and then headed back to Madrid.  During that time the most memorable part (other than getting to see my good friend/sorority sister) was the food…Pasta, pizza, gelato. The food there easily put the food to Spain to shame… (Although I am relieved I did not choose to study there because I would have easily gained 20 pounds). I would have normally felt so guilty for consuming all those carbs- but easily justified it by all the walking we did.  I highly recommend all those traveling through Europe to go to Italy; not only is it beautiful with many sights to see, but the food alone is the worth the trip!
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