Sunday, February 28, 2010

At least Milan had good pizza

If I were a dude, I'd get right into Milan's face and say "Suck my Dick". Yes, if I were a guy, I would capitalize Dick every time I needed to use the word in print. But I'm not a guy, and therefore cannot say such a terrible thing to Milan. The point here is to illustrate exactly how fucking much I hated the city of Milan. Milan tried it's absolute damnedest to make my experience miserable. If it weren't for good company, the experience would have been exactly that. For a few brief periods that is exactly what it was, anyway. So fuck you, Milan.

I didn't even really want to go, which is the part that made the whole trip so frustrating. I only went because, truthfully, I wanted to be with my friends. Selvaggia, Poeta, Buzarro, Moda, Carino, and another friend of mine were all going for the weekend. I had made tenative plans to visit some family in the north but decided against it in lieu of this trip to Milan. MISTAKE. That'll teach me to act on concerns of being left out, I guess. Selvaggia and I booked a last minute hostel and we were on our way for three days worth of fashion week in the fashion capital of the world. We got on the "ordinario" train, meaning the slow train, at 5:30 Friday morning and we were off to Milan. It was awfully uncomfortable and my neck felt like someone had wrung it out like a wet rag over and over by the time I got off. At this point I'd managed to get myself really excited for the trip. I was with friends who I love hanging out with and traveling which is my passion; contented is the only appropriate word to describe myself at this point. Selvaggia and I had booked a hotel seperate from the hostel the boys booked and so we took off as soon as we got into town to go to our hotel. We were all like "Ha, we got a hotel and they only got a hostel and we're in the center of town and they have to take a bus to get to where we will be," while we walked. We're used to Florence, ity-bity baby Florence, and didn't realize that walking the streets of Milan wasn't something one does. You take buses or subways in Milan. We walked for about an hour before arriving in the center of town. Our hotel was in the Piazzalle Castello at number 32r. Our excitement when we got into the Piazzalle Castello was eqivalent to the excitement I felt when I saw the Duomo outside my window. It was gorgeous. It was also really close to the Piazza Duomo. I was even more excited when I learned that the Piazzalle Castello ends at 28r. Because, guess what, our hotel was in the Piazzalle Castello in a small town called Abbiategrasso. Abbiategrasso is about an hour's traveling distance outside the city of Milan, and their Piazzalle Castello is a small twelfth century castle possibly 1/5th the size of the one in Milan. Strike one, Milano. We called the hotel to try and sort out the problem. The booking agency we used, which had my credit card and charged me 140 euro for this shit, apparently never ever let the hotel know we were coming. The shitty woman on the phone informed me that I had no reservation by listing off the names of all the people who DID have reservations. Bitch.

Selvaggia and I spent about another hour trying to figure out what to do. We decided we would just meet up with the boys and so we hopped onto the subway, still wearing our heavy backpacks because we obviously had to bring heels with us to fashion week in the fashion capital of the world. I have to admit that although I was angry about the situation riding a subway felt damn good. I have Manhattan in my bones and to feel myself moving and swaying in tune with the motion of a public transportation system rescusitated my dying happiness a little. When we met with the boys we walked again for another hour-ish. I felt like Uma Thurman in Kill Bill, when shes carrying water up stairs dripping with sweat and groaning in pain for Pai Mei, thats how bad my back hurt from my backpack. Or at least thats how bad I was pretending it hurt to make myself feel like Uma Thurman. We were walking so much because we were searching for a cheap place to eat. Milan takes fashion to the next level. They don't, for the most part, condone food related establishments except for in touristy areas. We were searching for someplace not priced with tourists in mind and learned that Milan doesn't want it's citizens to eat food. They want everyone to be thinner than white paper and so there are no restaurants. Strike Two, Milano. I like food more than I like being fashionable. We finally found a small cafe, oddly enough called Cafe Subway, and sat down to eat. There were literally about 10 things on the menu, half of which weren't available because they had run out. Like I said, Milan is starving it's citizens. I ordered pasta with tomato sauce. SERIOUSLY! I'm in fucking Italy and that was the best Milan could do. Worst meal I've had since I've been here.

We did more walking after that. This had the effect of making me really homesick. There was alot going on that reminded me of Manhattan, escalated after my little subway fix. The thing about Milan is that it wishes it were Manhattan. It is not, nor will it ever be, Manhattan. There are people who walk around in a hurry, something new since I've been in Italy, but its a fake hurry. They don't run and slam on the sides of buses whose doors have already closed because they need to be on that exact bus. They wait patiently for the next bus. They step out of one anothers' way when they are walking in the streets. They make faces at the tourists and give them dirty looks. Manhattanites don't have the time to make faces at tourists, only time to get around them. The Milanese are just pretenders. And for me, being homesick for good ol' Manhattan was strike three. You're out, Milan. We walked around and looked at stuff before Selvaggia and I decided we needed to put our things down. We went with Buzzarro and Poeta to their hostel which turned out to be fairly nice. Its probably nicer than our hotel in Abbiategrasso.

We hung our in their place and decided we would get a room there for the night and see where the next day took us. We put our stuff down and the four of us took a walk to the supermarket to get some alcohol. Supermarkets are beautiful things. I've never had such a deep appreciation for supermarkets. We walked in and it was like walking into a playground. I bought M&Ms, Loaker Wafers, and a bottle of vodka. Supermarkets <3 We went back to the hostel, called Bed & Bed, and we hung out and watched the Olympics. The rest of the guys came back and we all sat down and drank wine and talked. It was a serious bonding session for the group of us and I enjoyed it alot. My spirits were high after this. Perhaps because I'd spent a few hours drinking spirits, but regardless. They were high. I was having a great time with my friends and that was exactly the reason I decided to go to Milan in the first place, so I put my angriness from earlier aside and allowed myself to enjoy the rest of my night. Eight o'clock rolled around and we were all still chatting our night away when someone mentioned that we needed dinner and should get ready for the night. I brought a dress I'd purchased in Florence and had been waiting for the opportunity to wear. I got super dressed up and was feeling like I might actually enjoy the only thing Milan really had to offer which was fashion. I wore my nice heels which I'd carried around on my back all day and allowed Selvaggia to do my makeup for me.

We went to the part of town that was supposed to have a crazy nightlife. We found a small pizzeria and sat down to eat. Milan's single redeeming quality: good pizza. Milan may have offered some surprising perks like subways and some beautiful architechture but those weren't qualities I'd count as points in Milan's favor. The pizza was. I'm a sort of pizza connoseiur. Pizza is and always has been my favorite food. When I was little my family nicknamed me the Pizza Queen and I beat fat kids in Pizza eating contests at my catholic school on Thursdays. I need pizza more than I need oxygen. I was truly in heaven when I ate the pizza from this place. It was perhaps the best pizza I've ever eaten in my life. I also drank ALOT of rum at this place and that made me quite happy. We left and I was ready to take Milan's nightlife by storm. I was dressed up, full on good food, and pissed off at Milan. I was ready to prove that I could really conquer this town. We went to a pub down the street for a half an hour where I drank a beer and then we went back to Bed & Bed. FUCK MILAN!

The next day we woke up mid-morning and went out to see the sights. Moda went off on his own to do his own thing; hes a fashion major and was in the zone. We hopped on some buses and went into the center of town to the Piazza Duomo. The Duomo has all these flying butresses and it looks kind of cool from far away. When you get close, though, it looks really messy and kind of like a dribble castle. My Duomo is truly the best Duomo. We wanted to go into a contemporary art museum next door and see a Futurist exhibit. Good thing that Milan decided that the weekend we were there they were going to be doing construction on the exact wing of the museum we wanted to be in. We all decided we weren't going to let that get us down and we were going to do something else fun and go see The Last Supper. Secretely, I was teeming with rage at Milan and after the Futurist infraction I was plotting ways to destroy the city. We went to the subway station and what should I hear but piano keys. Loud piano keys. People are running up and down the subway stairs which Milan had turned into a Piano. If Milan had a face I'd punch it. MANHATTAN'S GOT FAO SCHWARTZ AND YOU DO NOT, MILAN. STOP BEING A POSER! I was really ticked off at this and it became a serious problem with me for the rest of the day. Even riding on the subway couldn't cheer me up this time.

We made it to the Piazza where The Last Supper was supposed to be and however angry I's become I was still really amped up to see some Da Vinci. We walked around in a little market selling such items like gemstone necklaces and handcrafted owls. You do not have a Village, Milan. Stop wishing. It was cool to see some Lamborghini's and Ferrari's driving around, though. We even saw some sweet motorcycles and at one point spotted a guy wearing a "Milan Chapter" vest. Nice. We made our way toward Da Vinci and walked inside to buy our tickets. Suddenly Buzzarro gets extremely angry and walks out. He is an art history major and came to Milan solely to see The Last Supper. Turns out, you have to reserve tickets for this museum and it was totally sold out for the whole weekend. Wa fucking hoo. I was so disappointed I went to a cafe across the street and splurged on a double espresso (I'd been trying to save money during the trip seeing as I'd lost 140 euro on a hotel in another town).

We went back to the Piazza Duomo after that and did nothing. Literally. We did absolutely nothing for the rest of the day. We just walked around and looked at things. At one point we walked down some really fashiony streets and looked at clothing in stores we couldn't afford. It started to get really cold outside and so Buzzarro, Poeta, Selvaggia, and I all decided to leave and go back to Bed & Bed. We went clothes shopping at the Italian version of Kohls just to say we'd done some shopping and hung out for a while inside again. When the rest of our gang met up with us we all got dressed up to go out for a night on the town again. I was actually really not into the idea of it, this time. I'd been so disheartened by the tidal wave of failures bombarding me since I'd arrived in Milan that pretending I liked how I looked was just beyond my ability. We went to another restaurant where I ordered more pizza which was equally orgasmic as the previous night's pizza. I had another large quantity of rum and then Poeta, Buzzarro, Moda, and myself called it a night. We went back to the Bed & Bed and I wound up having to sleep on the floor because I'd only been able to aquire a room for one night there.

My stiff neck returned ten-fold, my aching back was still aching, and I woke up ultra early to make sure I got on the first train out of that city. I woke up Selvaggia, who'd managed to go out with Carino and have an incredible night, and she Buzzarro, Poeta, and myself all made it to the train station before 10. We stopped along the way and got some coffee at McDonalds. I was so overjoyed at the fact that I was drinking a real, honest to God coffee that for a moment I really reflected on Milan. As much as it really blew, it was worth it. I did exactly what I went there to do and that was spend time with the friends that I'm not ever going to have the chance to do these things with again. I ate the best pizza I've ever had which is a real accomplishment for me. Best of all, though, I got to see one of my friends, Moda, happier and more in his element than he has ever been before. He got to meet all sorts of big name fashionistas, got to walk on a red carpet, and was so inspired by the end of his trip to Milan that he is following fashion week to Paris. Moda on cloud nine put me there, too. And to top it all off, I got to have a coffee. A real coffee. The crick in my neck went away after that coffee.
Arrivederci, for now.
Love, Gabby.

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