Left Australia at 11.30am on Sunday for Sydney. 1.30am (Aust time) into Singapore. One hour stopover, then back on a plane at 3.00am (Aust time) and another 13 hours later into Milan. Arrived, 6.30am in the morning.
You should’ve seen how happy Michael was when we stepped off the plane at Milan Airport (Malpensa) and everybody was talking italian, all the signs are in italian, the announcements are in italian, the attitude of everyone was italian. Airport announcements said clearly in italian; then the equivalent in english which I could’nt understand. You could spot the italians a mile off in the crowded airport – colourful clothes, beautiful accessorising, precisely pressed shirts, good quality shoes, lots of bling. He was home.
Then straight to the italian cafe (not the cafe that the Asians and Americans and British go straight to, noooo, we walked way past those), but the one that the italians go to. Everybody so well dressed and chitty chatting in Italian. I ordered our snacks. Italians love coffee and sweets for breakfast. So we had due cappuccini (made my first italian boo-boo: asked for dui cappuccini), brioche marmellata (croissant with jam) and brioche ciccolatata (nutella croissant). In the north of italy, croissants are called brioche. Interesting. (In Roma, they are called cornetto.)
Italian cafes are so professionally run and respected. The way that the italians speak with such respect to the lady behind the til and the lady who makes the coffee, always impresses me. Its a very different way of life, I tell you.
Rented our car. 4-door Audi Giulietta. At first, I thought: “how fancy, what a fabulous way to kick off our holiday.” Until we discovered that the gear stick kept coming off in Michael’s hand and then later on the autostrada, that the cigarette lighter didn’t work (so we could’t charge the GPS). Sooooo, drove Italy’s busiest autostrade, the TorMi (Torino-Milan), 100kms to Torino – with about a hundred bazillion transport trucks each travelling at about 120kms/hr with signs on their arse saying limited to 80kms and roadworks all the way up the centre of the autostrade – with a side trip to Torino Airport back to complain to Maggiore Autonoleggio (car hire).
The guys at Maggiore were sooo polite. There’s no doubt about the italians and their service. They are so willing to help, no matter what the problem is. When Michael was talking to the guys at Maggiore, they were talking so fast, and with my jet lag, I was getting more and more confused and could only understand bits of what they said. I thought they said that there were only smaller cars available there – at Torino Airport – but in the city they would have more to chose from. So I gave up listening and wandered around the car hire car park.
When Michael came to find me, I asked: “So, you’ve got the address where we get our new car in Torino?” No. We had the address of a mechanic that we could possibly fix our car. WTF? I don’t think so. We didn’t spend all this money to visit Italy to then spend two days or more getting a rental car fixed (its summer holidays, some types of service and business people get to stuff when they’re good and ready here). AS IF…..
Never underestimate a tired, pissed off Australian woman. I walked up and down the car hire parking lot at Torino Airport, looking and writing down number plates of cars potentially available to rent from any autonoleggio rental business, and went back inside to the Europecar desk and asked if they had those cars available. Again, I was too tired and confused to understand their italian properly, so I understood that what she was telling us was that there were no cars available for a month. Shit. Then after some further discussion the light bulb went on and I realised she meant that they had some available now. “Right now?”, I asked. Yes. I said, “we’ll take it right now for a month”. So, then we swapped our gear over, walked back to the Maggiore desk, and handed our original car (that we’d rented 2 hours beforehand) back to them. Italians are so good at service. The guys at Maggiore acted pleased that we were handing our car back in. How funny. But, god, what a drama.
We arrived at our hotel in Torino about 2pm this afternoon, Monday 5th Sept. I was so tired and getting confused about straightforward stuff, that I said I was going to sleep. I just couldn’t stay awake. I told (sorry, yes, told…not asked) Michael: “Don’t let me sleep for more than a couple of hours because I won’t be able to sleep tonight if I do.” Off Michael went into the streets of Torino to shop. Well,…..5 hours later I woke up. Refreshed and sort of ready to go. ….but that is why its after midnight here and still I’m up typing this blog 🙂 and Michael is fast asleep.