Gelato helps. Seriously.
22.06.2013 - 23.06.2013
Okay.....if you've read my (Part 1) post, you would know that I was basically NOT happy with how things were going with my great ITALY weekend escapade. Actually, at that time, I was really scared. Big Italian lady shouting at me? Checked. All the other people in the train staring at me? Checked. Feeling REALLY embarrassed about the entire situation? Double checked!
So with a heavy heart, we stepped out onto Milan. As this was just a quickie trip, the plan was to go around Milan during the day, and continue our trip over to Venice to stay for the night.
Funnily enough, the first thing I noticed about Italy was the vending machine selling books. Somehow, it seemed hilariously weird to see books inside instead of the usual junk food or can drinks.
The Duomo was HUGE. It practically dwarfed all the other churches I've went to previously in Switzerland. And the stained-glass windows were incredibly beautiful. However, the entire area was overcrowded. Chinese have a saying "ren san ren hai", which literally translate to "people mountain, people sea". That phrase fits in perfectly here. Tourism was definitely at its peak here.
We randomly stepped into a gelateria near Duomo which appeared to be popular with customers. And we were not dissapointed - the gelato I had was the most incredible that I had tasted in my entire life. I had not have any gelato that good since! Our good mood was restored and we started to enjoy Milan more.
McDonalds was also cheap in Italy!!! After nearly a month in Switzerland, both W and I were practically salivating at having cheap fast food. I know this is a huge insult to Italian cuisine, but in my opinion, with the amount of people everywhere, it is impossible to have a relaxing meal al fresco style as I had previously fantasized about.
There were actually alot more of Milan that I would like to see, but unfortunately, W doesn't share much of my interests. After the Duomo, we simply stroll along here and there (totally not my style as I really wanted to go Biblioteca Ambrosiana and the Cimitero Monumentale). Take this as a lesson learned - your partner in crime for travelling MUST be of the same type of person as you. Otherwise, travel solo!
There were plenty of "performers" around trying to earn a living...And plenty of africans trying to horde their imitations of LV and Gucci on us.
It was early evening as we moved on to Venice. Canals, gondolas, carnival masks. It was a sight to behold.
W was getting really hungry, so we started wandering around the many alleys searching for food. When we finally decided on one (again, based on the amount of customers), I must say I was disappointed. Considering the price, the food tasted only average. Also, This was when "rude italians (part 2)" started all over again. After our dinner, we kept calling the waiter to bring the bill, but somehow all of the waiters were ignoring us. Not wanting again to make the wrong move again as per in the train previously, we went to the cashier counter to pay. And this is when the waiter got pretty arrogant with us - After seeing that we paid the exact amount as per the bill, he informed us that we have to tip.
Now, I'm not against tipping, or anything as such - for example, I know we're suppose to tip in US restaurants - but the waiters at this restaurant did NOT deserve a tip, Their service to us that evening were extremely bad and we were ignored most of the time. I had already read online that ignoring customers is quite normal and therefore, I did not expect a good service, but the tipping request is basically a scam by the waiters. We were not obligated to tip, especially when there was already a service charge included in the bill. However, again, I did not want a repetition of the train incident, and feeling very much cheated by that time but not wanting to make a scene, both W and I searched for our smallest change - which unfortunately turned out to be 5 EURO.
What a sucky dinner that turned out to be!
Venice was beautiful in the evening, and it just so happened to be a full moon night, therefore, it makes the yellow lights around the alleys even more enticing. We got lost again but finally found our way back to our hostel after an hour or so but regretfully, I got cheated again by the hostel owner - he informed me that the rooms are all full and I have to bunk with a stranger on the queen size bed. However, this stranger was smart enough to hop into the bed and took up the middle portion by the time i returned to my room. In the end, I had to sleep in a pull out cot while that stranger enjoyed the big bed by herself.
And so ends my first unpleasant night in Europe.