Kate and Bron's Diary for 2002-10-05

Stayed the night in Milan

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From: "Bron Gondwana" <brong@brong.net>
Date: Sat, 12 Oct 2002 00:10:22 +1000 (EST)
Got up early to grab our packs and get on the early train to Florence.
Turned out it was a weekend and hence there were even more changes than
usual - we wound up changing at Terentola, Florence and Bologna before
reaching Milan. Long boring train rides.

Had to get food in a hurry at Florence - there really isn't anything
cheap near the station, so we spent far too much (EUR 19) on not much
not very good food.

Stopped at Bologna for a while, and I weighed myself on the scales,
both with and without my two packs. I weighed in 30kg heavier with the
packs on! Yikes. At least I have a few things I'll be happy to throw
out in London.

In Milan we checked out the trains to Zurich, then caught the metro to a
station called QT8 (no, really, it's an experimental suburb with lots of
strange architectural stuff going on, and a name to match). The metro
system is really good - coloured lines, maps everywhere, and for each
line there are signs showing which side to exit at each station, and
which lines have connections. There are also little symbols for things
like disabled access, parking, bus or overland rail links, and even the
airport link buses. Very nice - and above that it's free like Melbourne
trams ;) (we did buy tickets though)

The hostel is off the area covered by the Lonely Planet maps, but we
met someone going back to the hostel at the metro station, and just
followed him!

The people at the hostel tried to cheat us, by putting the numbers into
a calculator without showing us the screen, then showing a final number
that was a good 40 euros above the cost it should have been. Luckily we
have a grasp of mathematics and told him 'no way'. Paid the right amount
in the end, but we saw him trying to cheat other people too. That is one
of the two main ways people in Italy (especially) try to cheat you ...
the other is to hand back only part of the change, say change for 10
euros when you've given them 20, and then stand there for a few seconds
hoping you'll just walk away. If you stand there and count your change,
they'll hand over the rest as if they'd always intended to, and were
just looking for the right note. Very sneaky. I've met a few people just
this trip who've had that done to them.

Had a nice dinner at a Trattoria in the area. We were actually looking
for the supermarket, but didn't make it.

I chatted for ages about computer stuff to the people in my room and got
a good night's sleep - Kate wasn't so lucky. Someone came in really late
and woke her up, then another person got up at 6:15am and was very loud.

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