Friday, April 17, 2009

Buon Giorno, Milano!

Good Morning, Milan!

(Milan Malpensa Airport)

Milan has two airports, Malpensa and Linate. Linate, the older of the two is closer to the city and usually used for domestic flights. Malpensa is 40 minutes away by train (about €85 by taxi – yikes!) and is considered the international airport. There is a train that takes you direct to one of the major stations in Milan (Cadorna) from which you can take a cab or Metro to anywhere in the city. The Malpensa costs a very reasonable €11.

The Malpensa Express traverses the lovely Italian countryside which turns into mad greyness as you near the city. Milan is not the prettiest of the Italian cities I've been to. I was surprised to see how large the city was. I was thinking I could just leisurely traipse along one side of the town to the other but that would only be possible if I traipsed in a limo with a good supply of Cristalle on hand.

Here's some advice. DO NOT take the Metro or bus once you arrive in Cadorna if you are carrying luggage. Even the locals get confused exiting the Metro so you can just imagine the horrors of negotiating the labyrinthine paths and multiple steps of the Metro with heavy luggage.

The first conversation I overheard as soon as I got into the Metro train was:

“Nakabili ka na ba ng sili para sa pinakbet?”

Yes, Milan is teeming with OFW's (Overseas Filipino Workers), which gives one a nice warm feeling in a strange city full of strangers. I guess Milan is Manila spelled backwards (forwards and sideways).

One thing I find really nice about Milan is that it was more diverse than I expected. There were Asians, Pakistani, Indians, Africans, assorted Euros and those wonderful Italians! I quickly found out that not all Italians are cute (a lot of them are) but always charming.

Another thing about Milan, in my opinion, is that it has a strong American influence in fashion and lifestyle. I'm not sure if we influenced Milan or Milan influenced America. I find that they dress impeccably and conservatively for business and those I've seen in casual dress makes me feel I never left Los Angeles. There was grunge, skate, california surf, goth, rock, tween madness everywhere. And you can easily shop for the look as well in the myriad stores that dot the city.

Milanese also dine earlier than I expected. I found out that people dined around 8pm here (like in the US). Whereas, when I was in Spain, 9pm was considered early dinner. I was hard pressed to find restaurants that served past 11pm, save for the Chinese restaurant that served spaghetti alongside the usual Chinese fare.

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