Greg in 2007

Milano

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I’m on the bus home from work because Cathy is dedicated… Or slow, but either way she had to stay back. I’m not feeling 100% after 4 consecutive weekends away so it’ll be nice to have a weekend at home before Amsterdam with Hayley, my cousin.

I arrived at the hotel I had booked at midnight after a two hour flight, a hour shuttle bus trip, and a 45 minute public transport adventure. I handed my printed booking slip to the gentleman at the service desk. He turned it over and scribbled an address on the back informing me that there was no longer any room because a family had arrived. I was a little worried that this would result in me sleeping under the star (i could only see one star in the Milano night sky) so i took the address along with some shoddy directions and headed on my way. The directions led me for 30 minutes until i arrived at a cafe. I showed some of its patrons my scribbled piece of paper, which they replied to with laughter. With some help from the wateriness i arrived at the address and understood what the laughter referred too. In front of me was a dilapidated building with a panel of wires and dim lights where the intercom would normally be. After starring at it for 5 minutes trying to figure out how to activate it a gentleman came down to greet me. He read my booking slip, collected my money, and took me to a door. He rang the door bell and a rather large man in his underwear answered the door. After some Italian gibber I ended up in a room with 6 other beds occupied by 4 female Mexicans and a male Spaniard. It was now past 1am and I was tired and glad to have a roof so I hit the sack.

When I woke up I realised I was staying in someone apartment. It had 4 rooms housing 15 backpackers with one toilet/shower room. I was very disappointed but keen to get out and see Milano so I heading into town. While wondering through the little streets of Milano a massive white cathedral appeared in front of me. It was so intricate with hundreds of statues climbing it’s walls. Some more wondering brought me to the central square where some Algerian man gave me a “gift”. He tied some colourful string to my wrist and before we parted he shook my hand and did the over the top American style hand slappy thing resulting in him having position of my thumb. This was when he asked for a donation. I declined and his grip tightened and his facials dropped. I retrieved my thumb and walked off colourful string richer. By the end of the weekend I had gained 2 more colourful pieces of string attached to my wrists. I looked quite festive.

Next I headed to the main shopping arcade with fancy shops where people open the doors for you. I visited some pretending that I could afford to wear their names. In the centre of the shopping arcade was a mosaic of a bull. People were spinning on the bulls bollocks. Apparently it is good luck for the coming year. It didn’t seem to be good luck for the bull, the spinning had resulted in a deep hole where his bollocks should be, but Nathalie had told me it was a must do and with my accommodation issues I decided it was a good idea.

Then I was off to the art galleries. Firstly I visited an exhibition of Italian art. It was really interesting art from 1968 to present but one of the guards was a stare picker, as in, he stared at you and picked his nose at the same time. It was oddly intimidated. The Milano contemporary art gallery was my next stop which was full of Jesus and Mary. My sister, Samantha gave me a little lesson after my Louvre comments which helped me appreciate the Jesus and Mary paintings. They were quite interesting, seeing the important differences that had pasted me in the Louvre.

I continued to explore Milano and came across some cool Milano sunnies for 8e. With my new Milano sunnies I strutted around and was mistaken for a local on a few occasions :) By Sunday I spent my budget, so I tricked my self and claimed that things took home didn’t count towards my budget. With this mind set I spent 50% over my budget. I don’t think I’ll use that excuse again, although I do have some funky Milano swimmers, and I got something for Nathalie and Oliver. Oliver won’t get his cool Milano clothes for quite some time, in my excitement about buying children’s clothes I ended up getting 2yo+ sizes :( but he’ll get bigger :)

After an Exhausting weekend I heading to the airport, flew back to the mother land and had a hour wait to get though customs.

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