Well, the black out blinds worked because I didn’t wake up until 1:00 pm on Saturday afternoon.
(Okay, technically that’s not true. I woke up at 9:00 a.m. because I felt my phone vibrating near my feet. I picked it up to find 5 unread text messages from my friend at LSU, Anthony, begging me to call him. I finally gave in and talked to him for a while. Then I fell back asleep and didn’t wake up until 1.)
When Polly and I were both awake we decided to head back to the park by the castle and spend the afternoon soaking up the sun. We weren’t the only ones with that idea. It was packed! We eventually found an open spot in the grass surrounded by Italians playing volleyball, walking on a elastic band in between trees (which seems to be a popular pastime in Europe), listening to music and just hanging out. After about an hour and a half, we decided that it was gelato time. Again. Because you can’t have too much gelato in Italy, right? Thank God I am not studying abroad in Italy because I’m almost positive that I would need to buy a new pair of pants at the end of the semester.
The Gelato Experience:
We decided that we weren’t even going to bother trying new gelato places because we were in love with Cioccolati Italiani. Except it was different this time. About fifty minutes of difference. On Thursday, we went early afternoon so we only had to wait about 5-10 minutes for our gelato. This time, we went around 5 p.m. and the place was packed. Like little sardines in a can packed. You’re supposed to go up to the cash register, pay for the gelato and then they give you a number. Then, you have to wait until your number is up on the screen to order the gelato. We went up the the cash register and ordered. Our number? 7. The number that was on the screen? 47 (It goes up to 100).
One hour later we finally got our gelato. Still worth it.
The River Experience:
After gelato, I needed to go find a postcard because I’ve been collecting postcards from all the places that I go. While we were searching, we found a postcard with a really pretty picture of a river in Milan. We pulled out our map to try and find it, and searched the metro lines to figure out how to get there. Once we figured it out, we decided to head that direction and eat dinner by the river.
There was only one problem. The river was completely dry. Like there was no water in the river at all. It was just hollowed out concrete. The weirdest thing ever and definitely not as pretty as the postcard. Polly and I couldn’t stop laughing. It was the most bizarre thing ever.
The Dinner Catastrophe:
As we walked along the “river”, we settled upon a restaurant that had a decent menu.
Red Flag #1: We sat down at a table outside but “blonde waitress” (this is what we nicknamed her) made us sit down at a different table, literally three inches from another couple eating. I looked at them and whispered, “Well, looks like we will be joining you this evening.” They didn’t acknowledge that comment. Maybe they didn’t speak English?
Red Flag #2: While we were waiting to order, a man walked up and asked if he could sit down at the table in front of us. The waiter said okay, but then went over to consult the blonde waitress that seated us. She said no, but he could sit at this reject table by the window. The man said no and walked away. Okay, but seriously…who is this blonde woman and why does she care so much where people sit? Doesn’t she know that she just lost business. There are five people at this restaurant and about twenty tables, what is her problem?
Red Flag #3: Their menu read “Food, Wine and Kindness”. If there’s anything that I learned from sitting at their restaurant unacknowledged for half an hour, it’s that they were definitely not serving any kindness.
Red Flag #4: Polly and I sat at the table for thirty minutes without anyone acknowledging us. The blonde woman brought us bread and water and then spent the rest of her evening fixing tables with no customers in them, rearranging tables, or standing in the corner not doing anything. Basically she was doing everything except being our waitress. We got her attention a few times but she kept saying “one minute”. That’s what you’ve said every five minutes for the last half hour, blonde waitress. Please just come take our order! When we FINALLY got another waitress, Polly and I were not in the best mood. We tried to order, but the waitress was being complicated and we couldn’t get what we wanted. Finally, Polly just told her that we were going to pay for the water, but find somewhere else to eat. The waitress looked confused but Polly just told her that we had been sitting there for thirty minutes with no service, and that we would find somewhere else to go. She told us that the kitchen was backed up. There were five people in the restaurant. Including us. How is your kitchen backed up? And even if it is, couldn’t you at least come take our order so that we think that it’s the food taking forever and not just you ignoring us? So we left. And that’s the first time that I’ve ever walked out of a restaurant. But hey, they didn’t make us pay for the water.
The next place we found was amazing and the food was great. So we left happy and full.
The Narrowly Avoided Airport Catastrophe:
After dinner, we made our way back to the apartment because we had a 7 am flight back to Madrid and it was Daylight Savings Time which meant we would be getting an hour less of sleep. However, when we went back to the apartment, we started becoming stressed about how we were going to make it to the airport in time for our flight in the morning. We were going to have to take a tram, metro and a bus, but we didn’t know the times that they started running on Sunday mornings. We looked online and at the stations, but none of them gave us clear times. The last thing we wanted was to miss our flight, so at 10:30 pm we packed up all of our stuff, found a hotel close to the airport and took the metro and then a taxi to get there. We checked in for the night and woke up a little before 6:00 am. The hotel had a free taxi shuttle service that took us right to the terminal! So convenient. We went through security, got breakfast and got on the plane. With no problems! We later found out that we definitely would have missed our flight had we not checked into a hotel. Close one.
Through all of this, we considered our Italian weekend a success. We had a lot of fun, consumed a lot of carbs, got a little tan, and ate a lot of gelato. What more could you want?
Next post: Milan and Verona video!