Today was definitely an adventure unexplored by me.
Waking up and lounging around in Lugano for a few hours, saying goodbye to that beautiful place was rough but it had to be done in order to catch my 2:37 p.m. train back to Milan so that I could fly to Liverpool later on at 10:10 p.m. So, ciao and a very big thank you to Margaret, Allie, Lizzie, Jesse and Kevin for such a perfect two days in my upside-down atypical journey across and back again through Europe. Hugs and photos...check. Catch the train...check.
Arriving in Milan at 4:00 p.m. I realized my flight didn't leave for Liverpool for another six hours and decide to go back to the Duomo (Cathedral) and take the stairs to the very top (I would include photos and video but I'm at an internet cafe and not on my laptop so I can't upload anything). The view from the 108 meters (roughly 30 stories) rooftop of the Duomo was breathtaking. From the view across all of Milan to the plaza below, the white marble cathedral had me take in an even higher appreciation for the city.
5:15 p.m. Head back to Milan Centrale (where my bag is resting in a locker and also the location for the shuttle buses that head to the Milan airport(s). I've still got some time to spare so I walk around the plaza and find a pizzeria and grab a smoked ham- gouda cheese sandwich. mmmmmm good. I standup to walk out and realize that it's now only 6:00 p.m. I told my self that I needed to be at the shuttle in time to make the 7:50 leg to the airport. The bus takes 50 min to get to the airport...I know this because I've already taken it 3 times in my life. :)
Ok, so I still have some time to spare so I walk past a chinese restaurant and noticed nobody (not one single person) was eating there and the entire family of owners sat inside and I could tell the kids (teenagers) wished they could be doing ANYTHING else on a Friday night. I decided to eat, again.
After a great chinese meal it is now close to 7:00 p.m. and I decide to just go ahead and be there early to be safe. I grab my bag out of the locker and hop on the 7:30 p.m. bus to Milan-Malpensa (main airport in Milan). Upon arrival, I exit the bus and ask the bus driver if he knows what terminal the RyanAir company flies out of (I was really just trying to speak some more Italian before heading to the UK). He looked at me like he didn't understand...understandable because I really don't speak Italian and my words were probably just not said right...I start to repeat my pathetic Italian phrase again. He stops me mid sentence, "Yes, yes, yes I understand you, but, (I didn't like the "but") RyanAir is at Orie." My brain immediately started searching my abridged Italian vocabulary section trying to recall this word, "Orie."
Now that it's obvious I don't exactly know what he is saying. He tells me, "This is Milan-Malpensa (I nod with a very enthusiastic understanding of such a simple phrase) but RyanAir is at Orie...a different airport."
Many words now were going through my brain but I'm told they are "French" so I figured he wouldn't understand them.
"How far away is that? (I have about an hour to get to the ticket counter)?"
He just shakes his head...we have about a 2-sec staring contest and then he takes me to a taxi driver that speaks even less English than the bus driver but explains to the taxi driver my situation. The taxi driver looks at me and pulls out his calculator and types "180" and says to me as he holds up this pre T-1 calculator, "1-8-0 euros." Now is my cue to start the silly smiling facial expression that implies "I'm stuck in Milan at 8:30 p.m. at least an hour until I can even get back to the city to even start my flight search as well as a bed for the night" The bus driver recognizes that look, "Back to Milan (with a finger gesture to some unknown spot off in the distance)?" I give the most pathetic nod out of reaction of my pathetic situation.
He takes me to another bus driver on his way back to Milan Centrale. He explains my situation and the new bus driver tells me, "No charge, on the bus." It was an order I took immediately. After a "Grazie milo" to the previous bus driver I hop on to the new bus back to Milan...again.
Immediately (10:05 p.m.) after arriving into Milan I head to an internet cafe I saw earlier in the day...get on couchsurfing and tell my host in Liverpool not to pick me up at the airport. Then I messaged my couchsurfing host here in Milan (Claudio) to see if I could stay with him again (I eventually got a response back from him at midnight telling me to come on over...but I didn't receive that til the next morning).
Off to a couple of hostels I saw online. Arrive at the first one, 10:50 p.m.,...no rooms. Second one, 11:10 p.m.,...no rooms. I ask if he can call any in the area and find an open room. He told me he already did that about 20 min previous and there are no more rooms...hooray.
I just start lugging my already heavy bag down some random street, 11:30 p.m., and walk into a hotel...open room!!! Only €50 ($75)!! For summer rates on a Friday night this late in Milan...this was very pleasant news. So, I walked into my "Planes, Trains and Automobile-like hotel" and shoot some video...watch some TV (Jackass was on in Italian...trust me, at this point I needed a chuckle and you don't need to speak Italian to think that show is funny).