If I could have opt out of going to Milan, I would have. However, my flight into Europe was in Milan’s Malpensa Airport. Before arriving, I read there isn’t much to do in Milano as it is business oriented but none of those reads told me about how easy it is to get lost. Thinking about it, one of my clients mentioned it as she reminisced how lost she was on her first day in Milan during the 90’s when she relocated to pursuit her career in modeling– I should have taken this as a hint.
I managed to make my way through the airports in Montreal, Frankfurt and Malpensa with ease (airports are safe havens for people that speaks only English like myself). My sense of direction and Google Map begun failing me the moment I started leaving the airport to get on the Malpensa Express train into the city (remember to validate your tram, train and bus tickets before you get on or when you get on the bus). Picture this: an African American female tourist trying to find the kiosk to buy ticket for the tram at the Cardona Station to get to Domodossola (direction P.za Castelli), it’s raining badly and I am without an umbrella carrying a backpack and pulling my luggage like a bag lady, cell phone battery running on 20% trying to find the tram station stop and going in the right direction and there isn’t anyone that speak English in sight! It was a cruel rainy day. The tears falling from my eyes begun mix with the rain drops and my self-doubt kicked in. At least! I found a Senegalese whose English was suffice enough to help me get to my hotel, Town House 12 (apparently one tram stop and ten minutes away from Cardona Station).
After that ordeal, I wind down by making phone calls to my family followed with a nap. To further try to understand the language, I continued to listen to In-Flight Italian as I took a bath in preparation for my first meals in Italy.
If you are going to Milan, these things you should know: You will get lost, Google Map can’t save you let alone the map on iPhones, streets are not grid-like like that of most American streets and the names of the streets are on the buildings at the corner of the streets but you would have to figure out which name belongs to what street. After getting lost for about two hours the day of my arrival and the day after, I vowed to stay away from public transportation and walk.
What apps do you use to get around a new city?