My dear friend P No 1 and I (P No 2) have been discussing where we should go to celebrate her 30th birthday and after discarding Stockholm (too expensive from Geneva, and NO hotel/hostel available the weekend in September when we want to go – strange!) and Nice (too expensive from Brussels and I would have to take two days off, which P No 1 wouldn’t be able to do)… We tried to find a place that would be ok for both of us to reach without having to take Friday and/or Monday off, not cost 400 EUR to fly to… It was not easy, but after a lot of pondering we found our destionation. From Geneva you can take the train (4 hrs – I’ve done it several times on the way to/from Venice, Florence & Naples) and from Brussels it doesn’t cost a fortune… The winner is MILANO!
I have been to Milan once before, in September 2000. Three girlfriends and I stayed in a weird apartment full of [weird] Italian students. Among the strange things that happened; the police raided the apartment next door and arrested the illegal Kosovar immigrants; the next day one of the Italian students took the train to Domodossola to buy some marijuana across the border in Switzerland (the Swiss drug laws are very lax). One of the girls who came along on the trip told us that she couldn’t go to sleep without smoking a “spliff” and at the same time she denied that she was addicted – needless to say that my Swedish friend and I were very sceptical! It was pouring down with rain the whole weekend and as poor students we seemed to only afford to sit in a café sipping a cappuccino (everybody who has been to Italy knows that you don’t SIT and you don’t SIP your coffee, you down it by the bar – and no way that you drink a cappuccino in the afternoon anyway) and feel miserable. We also went to a huge club with very expensive drinks (that completely blew our student budget) and one of the Italian guys took off his shirt, which might not seem so strange but when I think about it, I don’t think that he ever wore a shirt during the whole weekend we were there. Another long lasting memory is the huge basil plant they had outside the kitchen window (and yes, I’m sure that it was basil and not drugs!).
The weekend was so bizarre, and all in all my impression of Milan was not that great.. I hope that 7 years later (I am so old!) it will be much more fun (and less weird and “studenty”)!
P No 1 and I have travelled quite a lot together. We studied together in Venice in 2000, then we lived in Geneva in 2002 (she still lives there), and that was when we became really good friends. I think that she’s been in Brussels more than ten times in the last five years to visit me, unfortunately I haven’t been back that many times to Geneva but almost once a year.
In 2003 we went to Marrakesh in Morocco and P celebrated Xmas & New Year’s in Sweden with my family. We went hiking in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland in 2004 with some other friends, and in 2005 we went to Warsaw and Lisbon together. Our trip to Lisbon was to celebrate my 30th birthday and I got so sick – we had a lovely hotel and that was where I spent most of the weekend! Poor P had to go out for dinner on her own, while I was lying on the floor in the bathroom… it was awful but what I saw of Lisbon looked great! Hopefully we will both stay healthy this time!
I’m happy that I have something nice to look forward to now, coming back to Brussels was a bit sad yesterday. It is raining, it feels already like autumn and I realised that I won’t see O for another 2 months 😦