Milan was the arrival city for our 4 nights trip to Italy and everything was well. We liked the hotel we stayed at (Westin) and feel of the industrial city. I might be the weird one here but I still like to be in big cities when I travel, kind of being at home, even though I'm away. ;-)
One frustrating thing was to get the train tickets to Florence. I reserved tickets for Florence to Rome weeks ago using the 29 Euro deal but didn't get any for our Milan to Florence route. I didn't wanted to be restricted by the already planned shedule and decided to just get the tickets as we leave on the day.
Well I was sorta wrong... When we got to the station around 14:00, the next available seating in Eurostar was at 20:00! Both classes were sold out and we had no choice other than to take the next IC train. I didn't mind not taking a Eurostar train but I also hated the fact we cannot go to SMN station, where it's only few blocks from our hotel. But it was my own fault to not to book ahead of time... =(
It actually turned out to be an amusing experience though. The only trains I ever rode in my life were Thalys from Amsterdam to Paris and similar trains of Asia. My sis (my travel companion) and I were so used to seat configurations of trains like Thalys and thought IC compartments were cool~ ;-) We were in a compartment all by oursleves most of time before arriving at Firenze.
Many people were passing by and looking in as if they wanted seats next to us but never did except for this nice girl around our age. I have to be honest that I did have this very fierce New Yorker look and attitude as the others tried to come in though. Everyone before the girl, I did not like and did not want them to come in. They were all scruffy men who I didn't want to share the compartment with for our over 4 hour trip. While it's true you can't judge a book by its cover, we just didn't feel that comfortable being in that tiny place with those men! Maybe we were just too scared of being in Italy for the first time?
My sis made fun of me for quite some time after for I had a panic attack around few stops after Bologna. -_-); I just glanced at our tickets and noticed this remark that said "via Fidema *Bologna*." While checking up on fares and such on Trenitalia.com before leaving, I did notice some trains were to be changed in Bologna. When I purchased the tickets in Milan, I assumed it was a direct route so I was freaking out at the possibility of missing a chance to change our train! I screamed and said we might be going to a totally different route and we might end up being lost!!! Plus it was pretty dark outside and I was freaking out even more in fear of possibility we might be stuck somewhere with no place to sleep.
However, it turned out it was indeedly a direct route and I didn't have to worry at all. It would have been nicer if the conductor could have assured me of this fact better when I asked him about it but he wasn't. He must thought why in the world I'd kept bothering him to confirm the route and destination repetively but I did have a reason. He didn't seem to care much and just kept waving his hand as to sign me to go away. Again, I worried too much and was too frightened by my first trip to Italy, I guess... Hey, but the conductor was too into his cigarette and just didn't care to hear what I was saying! I was horrified at the possibility of being lost. ;-)
We ate the sandwiches sold on the train and thought these were actually better than the weird combos given in British Airways flight of Rome to London in route back home. For some reason, the guy gave packs of cookies along with sandwiches and drinks. Were they like french fries of McDonald's meal? Or did he just wanted sell the cookies in easier way? I have no idea. -_-); I have a sweet tooth and just gladly ate them. They were called Ringos and kind of like Oreos. I liked them too much and ended up snacking on for the rest of the trip after getting more in a grocery in Florence. I guess they really are like Oreos since I saw them everwhere later.
I worried a bit more later when we got to our station for I didn't know how to get to our hotel from there. Yet it was a quick ride by a cab which wasn't that costly. We actually saved some money by riding in IC train even with the cab ride for the tickets were much lower price than Eurostar. Sis said she'd take Eurostar in the future for its convenience but also said she liked the experience of riding a compartments train. I liked the chance of chatting with an Italian girl of our age, which was only done riding that train. It would be so nice to be sitting with someone like her I thought, but I guess it'd be hard since as I said, others who wanted to come in were all scruffy men. -_-) I'd make sure to get the tickets for Eurostar in my future trips for that reason.
For whatever the reason is, the conductor never seemed to check the tickets. Maybe because he knew we had tickets and didn't bother to check as he saw we were sleeping? Or was it simply again he was just too busy smoking or doing whatever else?