The breakfast room that morning was littered with Australian teenage girls, a handful of weary female chaperones, and one sexy (by default) adult male. Richard said it was an Aussie version of *The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.*
We packed up and lolled around the room. We went down to the desk to check out, our car was coming at 11:45. Richard sat at the computer and did some work, I went out in search of lunch. I walked down the street and got two ham and cheese paninis and a bag of chips. It was still only 11:25 when I got back to the hotel, so I went back out, walked further, and found a cute little supermarket. I bought Richard a bag of pistachios and the two of us a box of German cookies. I didn’t see any Italian cookies worth eating, and though the Oreos were cheapest of all, it didn’t feel right to be eating Oreos in Italy. I guess it felt OK eating German cookies.
Simone showed up, our adorable driver from a couple of days before. He was touched that we gave him such a big tip and was just a little shy when I asked to take his picture. Richard thought he looked like an Italian Seth Green.
We got to the train station at about 12:15 for a 1:00 train. We went to a coffee bar. Richard ordered a double something - - I didn’t know what that was, but ordered the same. Turns out it was a double espresso. Richard wisely asked the guy to add a little milk to mine. I was shocked at how little liquid is in that big coffee mug. The smallest size you can get at Starbucks is about ten times bigger! But really, the Italian version is just enough. We sat, had our coffee, had a nice little relaxed time.
I took this random picture at the coffee bar:
But I didn't realize until I got back home that there's so much going on in this photo. From lower left to upper right - - you have a little girl hunched over her smart phone:
Mickey Mouse turning his back:
And Richard chatting up the barista:
I was in search of a silly souvenir to bring to my coworker who was covering for me. We went downstairs and I found a small food store, where I bought a bag of pasta shaped like Italian monuments. Perfect.
We went back upstairs to watch our train come up on the big board. We were a little worried that so many trains were late. The train to Turin had been sitting on the track for 70 minutes. That’s rather alarming. Our 1:00 train was delayed 5 minutes, then 10, then 15 - - but then it pulled in at 1:20 and we were off and away before 1:30. That’s not so bad.
Remember how we were sitting cheek to cheek on our train to Rome? Well, even though we had the same seats, this train had a different configuration and we were sitting facing each other. Best of all, there was no one in the seats next to us so we could sprawl out and be real hogs. I got caught up in my trip journal, we ate our lunch, we talked a little, we read. It was lovely.
We got to Central Station in Milan at around 4:30. We walked to the Marconi and checked in. I don’t know what happened this time, but our room was MUCH swankier. Too bad we were in it for only one night, and hardly spending any time there that night. Still, it was a treat being in the presence of so much swank.
We took the train to meet Richard’s friends Barbara and Stefano for dinner. Barbara showed up first, hugs and kisses all around. Another of Richard’s biggest fans, the world is teeming with them! We met up with her husband Stefano a bit later and the four of us walked along the canal. Who knew they had one?
Barbara took us to an AirBnb that she sells, it was lovely, very special and quiet. We might stay there on our next visit to Milan. We walked over to their car, Richard talking with Barbara so naturally I was talking with Stefano. He apologized that his English isn’t very good, and said he was having an especially hard time because he’d had colleagues in town from Paris and had been speaking French all week at work. So I offered to speak in French, which was much easier for both of us! And such a treat for me. Richard got grumpy when I started to translate - - he said, “You know, I speak French, too."
Their apartment is in a cute, quiet suburb of Milan. Lovely little place, very sweet. Barbara gave us a tour and then left the three of us while she got dinner together. Stefano is a big movie fan and expert, so we had a great time talking.
Dinner was fantastic.
We started with two kinds of nibbles: sardines on crostini and salami and cream cheese pinwheels. The first course was a lovely fat type of pasta, I don’t remember what was in the sauce. Maybe green beans? Delicious, whatever it was. The main course was slices of roasted veal with sautéed endive. Also delicious. And a glorious tiramisu for dessert. It was in a big dish, and Stefano joked that they’d be eating the rest of the tiramisu for breakfast the next day. Also for lunch and dinner.
Barbara and Stefano were kind enough to drive us all the way back to our hotel, very generous of them. Hugs and kisses all around, we’ll be sure and look them up the next time we’re in Milan.
We went to bed around 11:45 and set our alarm for 6:15, to be downstairs at 7 for our car to the airport.