Friday, April 24, 2009

Nerys's Milanese Pet Hates - Part 2

Ok, so this's more of an Italian pet hate, but seeing as I'm living in Milan.....

Pedestrian crossings.

The white stripes on the road aren't just there for decoration you know!!!

Though in Italy you could well just think that.....

Would it hurt so much just to stop when there's someone on a crossing, actually in the middle of the road?? It didn't happen this morning, and it never does most mornings. And having to walk to work every day it's really getting annoying now. It's bloody dangerous! Unless a crossing actually has lights indicating when it's safe to cross, I don't trust it one bit. I try as often as I can to follow someone else, safety in numbers, plus the Italians are used to it! Nearly getting run over is not what you need first thing in the morning when you're not quite awake!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

6 month anniversary!

6 months ago yesterday I first arrived in Italy! I only realised this morning!! It was the evening of the 22nd of October when I arrived at Malpensa, a journey of around 10 hours altogether from home to the airport. I stayed with one of my friends (who is an absolute star, one of the nicest people you could ever meet!) for a couple of weeks before moving to Milan on the 4th of November.

I've been doing a lot (well, maybe not a lot, seeing as I've been at work!) of reflecting about my time here during the day. It's over 4 months since I've been home, so this's the longest stint I've been anywhere away from home, and I haven't got any plans to go home as yet (that sounds awful, but as far as summer's concerned, let's just say things are a bit up in the air at the moment.....). It feels like a bit of an achievement, even though I was never intending to go back home permanantly before the end of the 6 months or anything! I've still got no idea when I will go home permanantly, I'm not much of a planner anyway, but who knows how things will be like even a few weeks down the line? I'm loving living in Milan, sometimes it's still such a novelty. Piazza Duomo still fascinates me, the Duomo's beautiful, even the piazza itself is amazing, I can't put my finger on it. But all the tourists congregating there, especially now as there are more of them, it just adds to how special a place Milan is. People come from all over the world, and it's amazing walking around the centre (or not so centre sometimes) hearing all these different languages, understanding some tourists who are talking about how amazing the city is and where they should go.

It's still strange to think of Milan as being where I'm currently living. It's almost like how it was when I was living on campus at uni, living in a bubble. Most days I feel like I could be anywhere in Italy, there's not much around where I live or work that identifies the area as being part of Milan (though what would identify the area as Milan I don't know...), it's only really when I go into the centre that it properly feels like Milan. I'm still getting used to living in a city, amusingly enough the only time I'd ever lived in a town before coming here was when I was studying in Urbino, and that was a small town of 6,000 odd, up in the hills! So yeah, living in the city is definitely still a novelty! I can just hop on the metro to go to the shops, I can be in the centre in like half an hour. I don't drive, and at home I had to rely on lifts from other people even to get me to the nearest bus stop! So the freedom of being able to get around on my own is brilliant! And as skanky as my metro line is (the green...) I still love the underground, it's just so easy to get around the city! Well, to where I usually need to go anyway!

I need to get out of the city more though, just it's not easy working full-time. There are still so many places I want to go to, hell, I haven't even been to Venice yet!! *hangs head in shame* But I guess there's still plenty of time for that!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Easter Weekend

Yes, I know it's taken me a few days to get round to it :P

For Easter my mam came over to spend a few days, so it meant that I well and truly had my tourist hat on! We spent most of our time in Milan, before I came to Milan in November we'd only ever spent a day here; so we spent some time in & around the centre, and on Corso Buenos Aires. On Saturday we went up to Arona, which is on the south of Lake Maggiore. The train journey was quite fun, going from Centrale meant changing at Novara (around 40 minutes to the east of Milan), and cos our train was 5 minutes late leaving Centrale (who knows why, that train starts at Centrale!) it was a mad dash to catch our connection to Arona! Never again!! But Arona's nice, it was lovely to get out of the city a bit. I'd been to Lake Como before, last summer, but I'd never been to any of the other lakes. It's quite a small little town, with some nice (& expensive!) shops, a few gelaterie & restaurants. Luckily the train journey home was better, we got the cross-Alpine train back to Milan, no rickety old trains & no changes!

The centre of Milan was full of tourists over the weekend! I barely heard any Italian when we were in giro on Sunday and Monday! The weather was lovely too, it was proper British summer type weather! For lunch on Sunday we had the mother of all pizzas, in a place on Via Dante (I forget the name...) never seen pizzas so big!! Needless to say, we were well & truly defeated by the monster pizzas!

As for today, the weather's miserable, what happened to the 20+ degrees & gorgeous sunshine???

Monday, April 6, 2009

Earthquake

Firstly, I'm absolutely fine (not that I've had all that many people asking me, maybe their Italian geography is better than I think!!), we didn't feel a thing up here in Milan. I haven't seen anything on the tv about it yet, but I will do when I get home; but I always have the radio on when I'm getting ready to go to work, and I had RDS on for most of the time this morning. All they were talking about was the earthquake that happened in L'Aquila, it was really strange. The breakfast show on RDS is usually pretty rowdy, telephone jokes & the usual sort of banter you'd get on British breakfast radio, but this morning there was no trace of that, it was quite chilling really, really made me realise the gravity of the situation. Even though we didn't feel a thing up here, and I've lived through a small earthquake before (the Midlands one last year, though that was nothing, at like 1 in the morning it proper freaked me out!!), it scares me a bit, living in a country where earthquakes like this happen. My thoughts go out to everyone affected by the earthquake.