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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Swiss Adventure and Back to Italy

After waking up in Jena for the last time in a while, I hoped onto the train on Jena Paradies to go south for my first time ever.  I had never been in Bavaria, and was excited.  I went through Nuremburg and then got off at Augsburg.  I got on a Regional Train to Buchloe and from there jumped onto a Euro City Express to Zurich.  I had to sit by people on the last train, but on the other two I had my own area.  I was listening to "The Mammoth Hunters" by Jean M. Auel.  I started the series a long time ago and have decided to finish it, so I got the audio books.  (I'm in Venice now four days later and have listened to it for every train ride the entire time and at night for a while and am still not finished, they're long books).  I got off the train at Zurich Hauptbahnhof and after some initial confusion (I got out in the back of the station instead of the front) I made my way to the Hostel Biber.

I took out some Swiss Francs, they are pretty cool looking.  I walked along the river and didn't have any trouble finding my way to the hostel.  After settling in, I took to exploring the city.  I saw the cathedrals, the Zurich See and the shops (Hermes, Tommy, Armani, etc).

I decided that Zurich was not the place I wanted to spend my time, so I chose to leave in the morning the next day instead of the afternoon.  Travelling alone was boring, so I went to eat some pizza and then off to bed.

The next morning I used what I think will be the last of my German until probably April at the information counter and got the needed reservations to travel in Italy.  Boarded the train and got to sit by myself the entire ride to Milan.  The Swiss Alps were beautiful and I even tried to take some pictures through the window even through there is a reflection.

Upon arriving in Milan, my directional skills were put to a real test as I had to find the hostel that was not near the train station.  I got my metro 2-day pass (a must for the big city and the distance our hotel was from the sites) and began my Milanese adventure.  I found it without too much trouble and settled into the room.  This was our first time having a room to ourselves and I was excited to not have to worry about constant security.  I locked up the room after deciding I didn't need the day bag for my travels today and went to explore Milan.

I got off at the Duomo stop on the metro and was amazed with my first view of the awesome Milanese Duomo, it is one of the biggest in the world and its exterior was breath-taking.

I refrained from going inside though, wanting to save it for when I went there with Braden the next day.  Thankfully, I found a nice cheap place to eat and sat down looking at my guide book and deciding what to do alone and what to wait for to do with Braden.  I chose to pick my way through the streets to the fashion district and locate all the major attractions I planned to bring him to, but not visit them.

The fashion district was so cool, and I was passed by a Bently with very tinted windows...I am imagining it was Donatella Versace, because it stopped in front of her shop.  It was so cool seeing these designers flagship stores where they actually live, work, and sell their goods.

I then walked over to the Castel Sfrenzco and looked at it before getting back on the metro and going back to the hotel for a nap.  After that, I went back to the Milano Centrale ("Chentrale") Station to meet Braden off of his train from Basel.  He was a site for sore eyes after having been alone for four days and it was really great to see him.  We went to a McDonalds for some quick cheap food and headed back to the hotel to get some rest and prepare for tackling Milan the next day, his first time ever in Italy.

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