One of the things that I like about Italy is its trains; fast and reliable. I caught one of the Freccisarossa trains from Venice to Milano and I must say it is like travelling at the speed of a plane but without all the inconveniences. We were speeding along at around 400 km/h yet I had free wifi, plenty of leg room, power to charge my laptop and phone, complimentary coffee and snacks; all for the low price of around 40 euro. Quite a comfortable 2 hour ride, I decided I would also take the train when I made my way down to Firenze (Florence) and Roma later on.
Now Milano is what a real Italian city should feel like, there are tourists around but there are much more locals and people going about their daily business. Ostello Bello is the hostel I was staying at, it is apparently one of the best in Europe; I would very much gladly stay there again as I regret I only have one night there before moving on to Lake Como.
I had a nice cold large beer served on check in, there’s a great atmosphere in the lobby where backpackers mix with the locals as it is also a very cheap and popular place to drink. They also have a piano in the lobby and some guitars downstairs, perfect for relaxing or making friends. Later on it was time for a little sightseeing, its doesn’t take too long to get anywhere with the metro and most things are within walking distance of my hostel.
Another reason my hostel was so good – free dinner! It was also pretty decent with a nice buffet of pasta, salads and meat. I had dinner that night with my roommates, all of whom were German school leavers who were spending their break before starting University travelling around Europe. To my surprise they all spoke perfect english! By this I do not mean that they did not have an accent but they spoke as if they had learned it all through school – which they later told me they did, and that it is part of the national curriculum to learn English.
I answer as many questions as I can about life in Australia to which they are very excited and surprised to hear that I do not in fact have a pet kangaroo! I ask them all about their plans in University; one is to become a doctor like his father, another a musician, another an engineer – these are all really quite smart kids! They tell me that most of their peers are off partying and getting drunk at places like Ios, Mykonos, Split and Ibiza – the great party destinations of Europe doing the European equivalent of ‘Schoolies’. Kudos to these kids for choosing the much better option in my opinion.
The rest of the night we spent drinking with the locals and watching the FIFA World Cup semi final of Argentina v. the Netherlands. Like the other Netherlands game I had watched it was still 0-0 at the end of extra time and Argentina prevailed in the penalty shoot out, much to the dismay of the Italians at the bar who I believe they have some sort of rivalry with.