22.03.2011 - 15.03.2011 4 °C
The next day, Tuesday, February 22 we got up at 6am to catch a train at the Gare SNCF to Ventimiglio, the transfer point between France and Italy. We managed to catch an earlier train than our ticket one, but we barely made it on and there were no seats. Consensus: didn’t pay off. But, we arrived early at Ventimiglio and instead of having 16 minutes to switch to the Milan train, we had 45. The Milan train had separate, 6-person compartments that reminded us of the Hogwarts Express in Harry Potter, complete with sliding doors.
At first, we had the compartment all to ourselves. But then, we were joined by two men, who were replaced by another man and a singing Italian woman in her 60s. She sang all the way to Milan. Milan greeted us in a gray, cold manner, though it cleared up later in the afternoon. Sreya, Audrey, and I dub our entrance to Milan as “We came cold, hungry, and scared.” True, true words, especially for me, who had never been in Italy before. I couldn’t understand the Italian. I felt SO lost. Yes, my Spanish was helpful for deciphering some words, but even when I asked someone a question in Spanish, I would get an unintelligible Italian answer…I was spoiled by understanding everything in France. We told ourselves to give Milan some time, and that we would warm up to the city. This is what happened.
From our hotel near the Stacione Centrale (Central Station – where the train dropped us off), we went to see the Duomo, a magnificent cathedral that greeted us as we exited the metro station “Duomo,” kindly announced to us on the train as “Fermata Duomo.” So, fermata means “stop” in Italian! That’s cool, considering that a musical fermata means stop and hold.
After the Duomo, we went to the neighboring famous shopping mall. We decided to be bold and entered into Gucci, Vuitton, and other expensive shops.
We got rose flavored ice cream from a gelato shop, and I bought spicy chocolate for my family. Then, we went to the old castle, walking through it from one side to the other.
There was a theme park on the other side; I really wanted to participate, but my friends were acting too “old” for it haha. We went back to the hotel, went to the internet café, and ordered pizza nearby to take back to our room. Italian pizza…mmm…mmm…good! Turned in for an early night. Excursion to Lago de Como (Lake Como) for tomorrow's blog!
In real life, Shabbat at Danielle's was quiet this time, too. Brigette did join us and made for good company; though she was really tired because she was at a party yesterday for her friend's brother, celebrating the second year of the publishing of his magazine. I decided to take a walk. The sun was shining, though it was chilly. I walked to Denfert Rochreau with Danielle; she headed home because she doesn't like leaving Richard by himself too long, while I continued forward. I took Ave. Raspail, turning into Ave. St. Germain des Pres, and made it all the way to the Seine. I walked along the Seine west to the Tour Eiffel. Then, I took Ave. Suffren, turning into Ave. Pasteur, into Chateau, into Maine, and back home. Total time: 4 hours! Was I tired...but I walked off all of my Strasbourg delicacies and the Shabbat meals. I even saw Saidie and her segway tour! It's funny, but I thought I might see her, since I was on Ave. Suffren and that is where her tour company is located. I remembered from that bike tour, which seems like forever ago, though it was two months ago. She and I need to catch up!
Then, at night, Emi, Caroline, Sam Bowen (Emi's good friend), and I went to the cinema at Alesia (thank goodness, close for me) to see Les Femmes du Sixieme Etage. It's a cute French movie about a patron who falls in love with his Spanish housekeeper. Taking place in 1962, when a lot of housekeepers were coming from Spain, the movie shows their life as well as the life of a rich man (works at the Bourse - stock market) and his boring wife. Though this patron is not like the others - he takes time to get to know the Spanish ladies living in the chambres de bonne - servants quarters - on the 6th floor. He pays to have their toilet fixed, for a phone call to Spain so that one of them could find out if her sister gave birth to a healthy baby, and even found lodging for another who was let go.
Love French cinema! Can't wait for the next movie.