Interrailing across Europe – Part 5
The Final Journey
After an excellent night’s sleep in Rome, we got up early before saying our goodbyes to Rasmus who was heading to another destination after his stay. We packed up and made the walk to Rome Termini in the heat before settling down for a Burger King for breakfast (healthy and cultured I know) and although I wouldn’t recommend having fast food for breakfast, it was bloody delicious.
There were a variety of different ways to travel to Milan from Rome, one way was to take the slow train (7 hours) that our interrail passed covered, or, there was the direct service straight from Rome to Milan which took 3 hours. It was a bit naughty, but me and Haribo concluded that if we got on the fast train and it set off without been inspected we could cut a huge cut of time of journey. The journey was highly successful, although we got a strange look from the conducter after Haribo said “Me no speak Italiano” when he questioned our ticket wasn’t legitimate. Unluckily for him, there’s not really a chance you can kick us off the train at 280km/h, a bit cheeky but it was worth the risk on our behalf.
Upon our arrival in Milan, we decided the best idea would be to walk to find our hostel. The walk took around 15 minutes and we had booked the cheapest hostel possible that we could find, however, this was probably an error as the rooms were terrible and health and safety was out of the window. The showers were damp and dirty, no noise could be made after 11 o’clock, and my bed (top bunk) had no edge next to an open window with a 50-foot drop. Deadly.
All we could think of at this point was getting out into Milan to make the most of our two days there, fortunately, the tube station was 2 minutes away from the hostel. A pass for two days unlimited travel is 12 euro, which is very much a bargain if you are using the local transport systems on a regular basis. Our journey on the tube took us to Duomo square, where the IL Duomo Cathedral is situated. After seeing the sites in multiple cities in Europe, the Duomo is up there with; The Coliseum and The Berlin Wall. It is magnificent. The square enables thousands at visitors to bask in the sun below the cathedral, and there is plenty of room to take photographs too. Sadly, we didn’t have the time or the money to look inside because we’d overspent in other places, but, if I ever return to Milan it will be on the top of my list of sites to visit. Following our time around the Duomo, we decided to walk on foot around the city. It became apparent that Milan is really the fashion capital of Europe, shops such as; Prada, Gucci, Armani, Boss, and others littered the street besides the wonderfully dressed locals who must have bought into the whole thing. Luckily, Haribo didn’t want me to buy any designer gear, and if I was a male looking to take my partner somewhere I think Milan would be low on my list if she had expensive tastes.
That night we headed back to Duomo for a couple of drinks in the surrounding bars, we met two Dutch guys who worked in Milan regularly. We had no idea where we were going, but we’re laidback guys so we thought it could be fun, so we tagged along to some of the places they visit when they are working here. This district was named the Navigli district, and it had canals that were reminiscent of Venice and Amsterdam. There were variety of extravagant bars and restaurants that ran alongside the canal, and what was great is that it was full of locals from other Milan suburbs. We met three girls who joined us for drinks, and we stayed until the early hours of the morning until we took a bus (which run all night) back to the hostel before getting some much-needed sleep.
Our final day in Milan and our trip overall led us to a stadium tour of the San Siro, home of Internazionale and AC Milan. Being a football fanatic, I couldn’t wait to get my teeth into some of the history of these two great football clubs. Adult entry was a meagre 8 euro’s and children under the age of 12 could enter free which is a great deal for young families.
As you enter the ground, you are taken to the museum where the multiple trophies for both sides are housed. Each team has won; The Scudetto (Italian’s top division), The Coppa Italia (Italian Cup) multiple times, furthermore, a special place is held in the museum for both teams Champions League wins (AC Milan x7 and Internazionale x3). These sporting clubs are giants of the game not just domestically, but internationally as well. The memorabilia of legendary players that have set foot on the pitch of the stadium were the for all to see, living legends such as; Gullit, Ronaldo, Zamarano, Ronaldinho, Zanetti, Maldini and Fachetti.
After taking in the sites of the museum, we then moved towards the changing rooms of either side. Interestingly, the teams have their own changing rooms specifically built for their needs. They vary vastly with AC’s being far more modern than those of their neighbours. Lastly, we took the walk from out of the changing rooms, and through the tunnel to the pitch. This was cool, it gave me an understanding of what the players went through pre-match. Subsequently, we walked towards the pitch towards the 80,000 seats in front of us, I’ve been to many football stadiums and this is the second largest after Wembley, it was huge. I could only imagine what this cauldron would be like during a big European game, and the derby della Madonnina, (the milan derby) the noise must be electric. Fascinatingly, the stadium has three sides that have three tiers and one that only houses two. I asked a guide why this was the case and he informed me that the hippodrome (horse racing track) is on the side where the two-tier stand is, planning permission meant that the structure couldn’t be extended towards the hippodrome and this is the reason one stand has two tiers.
Following our trip to the San-Siro we headed back to the hostel to refresh, it had been a long two and a half weeks on the road but I had made some great memories that would last a lifetime. Europe is a beautiful place with so many amazing sights, and for anyone looking to do it on a budget interrail is something to look at. We bedded down for the night after our beautiful Italian with a glass of wine (how romantic) and then jumped on a train to Milan Malpensa which is around 40km from Milan Central. For anyone looking to travel to and from Milan, this is a transport hub for the carrier Easy-Jet which means cheap flights are available.
For anyone who has read these blogs, I have hoped you enjoyed them. I am heading to Ibiza in September 2017, and the blog will be started as soon as I return. I have the travel bug and I love to party, so Ibiza was a great idea for my next destination. Then, there’s the little deal of Las Vegas and California during July 2018 to see my friends for Independence Day. I’ll be sure to let you know how they both go soon.
Travel Back to Airport
Il Duomo at night.