I arrived in Milano at quarter past eight in the evening. It took about fifteen minutes to walk out of the airport and get onto the shuttle going into Milano central station. From there it took me almost two hours to get to my couch surfing hosts place.
From the station I didn’t know where to go, and sent Francesco a message asking where I must go. He told me to catch the subway to Cardona and from there catch bus 50. I got to Cardona with no problem, but there I couldn’t find the bus. I walked around a little and asked a few people, the ones that understood English didn’t know from where the bus left, and the once that only spoke French shook their heads and rugged their shoulders.
As I asked a short man with an eastern look, he said he would show me leading me down the subway again despite me telling him it wasn’t the subway I wanted, but the bus. When he finally understood, he said “ok bus, I show you.” And he showed me to bus 61, I read on the sign and yes, it did stop at the right station. So I got on, and so did he. I told him I would be fine from there, but he didn’t listen. It was twelve stations before I must get off, but I couldn’t count the stops because the bus did not stop everywhere and I lost track of the signs somewhere at five.
I saw the man, who introduced himself as Mohammad from Cairo, ask the bus driver if his was the station, and I heard the bus driver reply yes. I looked at the sign, and it didn’t say anything and I couldn’t read the sign by the bus stop from where I sat. so I got off, and as I could see the sign and it read something different, the bus had already left and I was alone with the strange man from Cairo. I told him angrily that this was the wrong station, he shrugged and said “yes, yes, I thought it was right. It was wrong. Next bus, 26 minutes”. I said “crap, I’m walking, bye.” And I walked away with long steps so he couldn’t follow. When I walked next to him I had to slow down a lot because he couldn’t keep the same pace, so to walk away was no problem and he didn’t follow.
I texted Francesco and said I was walking from three stations away. He told me to keep walking straight, he walked too and would meet me half way.
I looked at every guy I met, wondering how I would recognize him. But then, I was the only girl walking the road with a large backpack, looking a bit lost. I figured he would figure out who I was, and he did.
“Monica? Hello!” oh my word, my host was coming right towards me and it was such a relief. He asked if I was hungry, and I sure was. I hadn’t eaten since Göteborg and that was a six hours away. We cooked pasta and tomato sauce at his place (I accidently gave myself a little credit, I should have none because he did all the cooking) and it was great. The pasta was perfect and so was the tomato sauce.
“What do you want to do tonight? There are three options. There were some couch surfers at a pub, but they have left now though we can still go there. We will probably miss my friends who are playing ‘cause it takes a while to get there, but anyway. Or, we can stay here of course. Or, third, we could bike around the city and I will show you Milano by night.”
The choice was so easy. His flat-mate lend me his bike and Francesco showed me the empty fashion-quarters at one am, the busy square by a church, surrounded by pillars build by Romans during the great Roman empire. It was amazing. It was historic. It was present and I loved it. The air was still warm and the light breeze a little moist and warm. There were so many different smells in the city, all from granite, sandstone and asphalt, to garbage, sweat, wine and old beer bottles.
We biked along the famous fashion street in Milano, I can’t remember right now what it’s called but all flipping expensive stores are along it. A dress would cost at least six thousand euro. I still haven’t really understood what it is that makes them so expensive. And I still have some doubts that it’s worth it.
There were a huge Dolce & Gabbana store, and as we went past it Francesco told me that the former couple live not far away from where we were. And suddenly, we stood outside their door. Oh my god. I wanted to ring the bell, but why? It was three am, if they were at all at home they probably wouldn’t open anyway. And why would I want to meet them, anyway? I just like their shoes, the ones with the slave carrying the heel that they sold a couple of years ago.
Francesco bought ice cream for us (I don’t have to tell you that Italian ice cream is among the best in the world, do I?) I had one with the flavors pistachio and tiramisu. It was amazing, fresh and melted immediately. My mind was in heaven and my feet on earth.
We sat by a square among a couple of hundred people, drinking bottles everywhere and music coming from all over, and had our ice creams.
We went into some great halls and the floor had beautiful paintings and mosaic works. There was one bull which missed its balls. Francesco told me that putting ones foot in the hole where the balls should be, and spinning around, would bring luck. So we took a couple of turns each, hoping it would bring some good hitch-hiking luck.
We went down the sidewalk by the canal on our way home, in one place there were an old house and outside were washing-places were women would wash clothes a hundred years ago. I was amazed it was still there, so well kept, and I could see myself stand there washing my clothes against the stones. In front of me I could see the place surrounded by women, and I wondered what it would be like today. Women and men, standing next to each other doing their washing and chatting about trivialities while doing so. Maybe solving the worlds’ all problems and discuss solutions to extinct starving and war.
We came home at twenty past four am. As I put my alarm on my phone it said “will ring in, three hours, twenty one minutes.” Thank you. Thank you very much dear phone. At least I can sleep on the train to Nice tomorrow.