Paolo Does Europe - Sept. 1

Long day today. I hung around Interlaken in the morning and took a later train. The happy hour last night at the hostel kicked my ass so a morning recovery was totally necessary. My team of debauchery included a soon-to-be Marine named John from Wash. D.C. (looked like Nate Krahn but shorter); a French dude; two Australian girls and a Swiss Army dude in full uniform. Oh, and this surfer dude from Laguna Beach (He hates the MTV show with his hometown's namesake) kicked it with us later. A lot of drinking, a lot of chit-chat. That was about it.

I took this beautiful train ride today through the Swiss Alps and it would have been better if I wasn't feeling so nautious. But then I remembered, as I was slowly dying, that I had Dramamine. That shit is so good it should come in a powder form and be made illegal. I have to thank Anna for the Dramamine tip.

So I got to Milan midday, found my way to the subway and went to Il Duomo (big church). The plaza was packed. I met some old American women who were touring with a larger group. They warned me about the expenses of the city and that added to a list I was already compiling about why Milan isn't so great:

  • Il Duomo is under renovation. Scaffolding is everywhere, so it's not postcard picturesque at the moment.
  • No cameras are allowed inside Il Duomo. I had nowhere to stash my camera, so I couldn't enter.
  • The one and only hostel close to the city center, according to my Lonely Planet travel book, is under renovation, too.

Il Duomo is the only thing to see in this city as far as I'm concerned. This is a city of business, and one that's not very accomodating to backpackers -- especially scrubby backpackers.

Alas, I still took some nice photos:

I had to make a critical decision at about 18:00 (6 p.m.). Either I could trek out to try and find a cheap hotel in one of Italy's most expensive cities, or I could skip ahead to Genova on the West Coast. I chose the later.

I was sweating bullets on that train ride, watching the sunset, not sure where I could spend the night. I fully prepared myself to sleep outside in some park.

When I arrived at 20:45 (8:45 p.m.) I immediately found the informazione and the dude there was helpful enough to point me to the correct city bus. Somehow I got to my first bus stop. My lack of Italian language fluency was seriously hurting me in this city. While waiting for my second bus, I overheard a few dudes speaking English and it turns out they're Lithuanian (or something close to that) and were staying at the same hostel I was trying to get to. The bus came and the group of us hopped on.

Up and up it climbed. The hostel is on a huge hill overlooking the city. Not sure if I would have found it solo. On the way up the guys told me about how their aiming to go to school in Genova and all about their failed attempts to "fuck bitches." Nothing makes me happier than hearing them dropping f-bombs with those accents. So funny.

I get to my room and I'm lodging with a bunch of dudes who don't speak English, and the inability to communicate is really starting to show! Take for instance how they turned off the light while I'm writing this. Now I'm writing in the dark. Time to stop anyway. Need to rest. I've traveled a lot today -- from Interlaken to Milan to Genova. Tomorrow: Cinque Terra!