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Milan, Italy - Day 1

Thursday, May 31, 2012 6:00 AM

And so my first trip to Europe has begun :-) 

We took an overnight flight from JFK to Milan with Alitalia and arrived in Milan Wednesday morning. The flight itself was eight hours, leaving room for two meals, a snack, a viewing of the most recent Sherlock Holmes movie and an uncomfortable nap.

At the airport in Milan we needed Euros to pay for the cab ride.  Our $200 turned into 115 at the currency exchange booth.  They charged a 17% service fee.  Apparently the cheapest way to get Euros is by just taking money out of your bank account through an ATM machine.  Too bad we took out a ton of cash before our trip expecting to convert the currency once in Milan.  Lesson learned for future trips to Europe.

On the taxi ride from the airport to the hotel I noticed a lot of graffiti on the sides of buildings. That and lots of Peugeots, Fiats and Renaults; cars that I haven't really ever seen before in person. Once we settled into the Milan Marriott I proceeded to sleep the remainder of the day away while my girlfriend attended a conference hosted by her company. 

Overall the hotel room is nice, but one very odd thing in the room is the use of a key card insert to activate the lighting and air. After entering the room, you insert your door entry key card into the wall which activates everything. When you leave the room with your card, everything shuts off and will not turn back on unless you reinsert the card. I suppose this is a way for them to save money on electricity when the room is not occupied.

Apparently dinner in Italy is sometime between 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. So, when in Rome Milan...we went to Pane e Acqua, a contemporary restaurant that our Time Out Milan travel book describes as, "an enchanting, relaxed address with tasty vintage decor and fine Mediterranean menu. Summer brings primi like wild rice salad or gently roasted stuffed onions. One of our top picks in Milan for a romantic night out." It was interesting that the restaurant was nearly empty when we arrived at 9:30, but packed when we left after 11 p.m. 

 We ordered a salami appetizer, pasta with rabbit and a pork dish.  For dessert we randomly chose two items and even after finishing them we had no idea what we had just eaten.  The staff was friendly and patiently attempted to translate the Italian only menu to us.  For those that are wondering, I used my MasterCard to pay, and as instructed in all the information I've read about Italy, I didn't tip, which felt extremely weird.  Also they charged 2.50 for tap "still" water.  Really?  Who charges for water?

As we walked around on our way back to the hotel we noticed that the restaurants were all packed even though it was nearing midnight. I found this very different from what you see in New York where the restaurants are pretty much closed at 10:30.  Also, unlike us New Yorkers, apparently the residents of Milan have solved their lack of parking in an interesting sort of way.


Comments

Chunny Bunny

so that one guy in the back effectively blocked the entire road for anybody else to just drive through. They didn't really solve anything, as the cars on the inside are blocked in dead. Enjoy your Eurotrip and see you when you get back.

Jay

No no...he is parked onto the sidewalk. The rear of the car isn't blocking the street. We also saw cars fully parked on the street and a lot of motorcycles and moped motorcycles parked on the sidewalks.

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