“Macaroni,” he said, leering at us, baring what few teeth he had in a ugly grin. He was filthy, what seemed like a few years worth of dirt and grime caked around his nails and ears, and he couldn’t have been much older than forty. “Macaroni,” he repeated, pocketing the change that rattled out of the metro ticketing machine. “For my family.” Unless his family was the gang of equally grimy Italian men sniggering in the corner, I doubt any kids got a meal out of the change he swiped. At that point, I was too tired to care. Sometimes it’s worth it to pay the few euros just to be left alone.
After all, it was around ten or eleven at night, and the Central Station of Milan is known for being a bit of a shady area. After a full day of travel, Will and I were both exhausted. He was a bit tense at the thought of having to navigate a completely unfamiliar city in the middle of the night, and I was absolutely fried. Could’t do any more traveling that day. We’d come all the way from Geneva, taking a train through the Alps. It had taken us over 12 hours to get there, and we still had to find our hostel.
That was our introduction to Milan. Greeted by a creepy fellow at the train station who swiped our cash, wandering through grimy streets to a rather unfortunate part of the city, completely exhausted.
On the upside, we did manage to find our hostel without too much trouble, and it was incredibly nice for the price we were paying! We stayed at the Flower Hostel. It’s a quiet little place; very friendly, safe, and clean. We crashed hard, and woke up ready to explore the city.
One look outside told us that we wouldn’t be doing much. It was pouring. And as we soon found out while searching for that elusive creature: the Italian grocery store, the outskirts of Milan are just like the outskirts of almost every other city in the world. Unpleasant. I’m really disappointed. I’ve heard so much about Milan, and I remember Italy in general being absolutely fantastic from the last time I was in Europe, so I’d expected it to be quite nice. Not so. At the moment, I’d compare it to Mexico City. Not even. Mexico City has a unique feel to it. It’s so very alive with its bustling marketplaces and cultural centers and taco stands. This just feels dead. A quiet, dead city. Perhaps we’re just in the wrong part of it?