Sunday, November 25, 2007

Buongiorno, Milano!

Our trip to Venice, Italy consisted of 4 train rides: Paris to Lyon, Lyon to Chambery, Chambery to Milan, Milan to Venice. In both the Lyon and Chambery train stations in southern France, we only had 15 minutes lead time between arrival and departure, which meant we had to run quickly from one train to the next. Gino and I did a lot of running with our 4 bags.

Ahh, enjoying a great compartment until I realized
this was first class and our tickets were economy.
Quick! Move before the inspector comes around!

We both enjoyed the beautiful sceneries along the way--fields, mountains, country homes... If we took the night trip we wouldn't have seen as much of the French countryside.

We arrived at the Milan station a little past 9 pm. As we entered the station, we were met by several border officials who inspected our passports. We were now in Italy! Another language. Another country.

We knew we would be missing the last train to Venice by more than an hour, so we were mentally prepared to sleep at the train station. "That's OK," I said. "I have slept in a (Philippine) bus terminal before."

Outside the Milano Centrale train station. It is said to
"one of the most beautiful in the whole world. Enormous,
abundantly faced in heavy stone..." But I don't understand
those statues.

Gino and I go sightseeing, or rather nightseeing,
outside the station.

If it were not quite late at night, we would gone further down the block to visit some major attractions or look at high end designer shops. After all, this was Milan, also labeled fashion capital of the world.

Back inside the station, we went around to look for a place to sleep. I didn't mind sitting down, but even chairs were hard to find. Gino was willing to sleep on the sidewalk like the homeless. Nah, that would be too cold.

Finally, we found benches along the staircase leading to the exit, and we quickly settled in one. Gino stretched his tired body on the bench and soon he was snoozing. I took out my book and started reading. I tried to ignore people passing by and giving us a curious look. Who cares? They won't see us ever again.

The station closed at 1 am. By 12:30 am, a worker at the station started yelling some Italian words that woke up the few people, Gino included, who thought we could sleep in that area. He announced that those who had train tickets should sleep inside the waiting room. So there was a waiting room! That was what we'd been looking for. I think it was called sala d'attesa. It was very big, in fact, the biggest I would see at any train station. How did we miss that? There were lots of wooden benches. I was probably able to sleep lightly between 3 to 4 hours.

Gino fell asleep immediately.

That's me on the opposite bench.

We woke up at 5 am so we could get our train tickets to Venice and get on the 6 am trip. But the ticket windows opened at 5:45 am. As soon as Gino bought our tickets, we dashed off again to our train. After boarding, I heaved a big sigh of relief. We are on our way to Venice!!

Coming up - stories and pictures from lovely Venice.


Adrienne Dinen said...

Hi Auntie Lerie. Janice here. I'm sooooo jealous! This post made me want to jump on a plane to Italy right now.

lerryblossoms said...

hi janice (aka adrienne)! wait till you hear the rest of the story.. you will love it in italy!!