Day 1: Thursday 2007-03-08 Oslo - Milano
Afternoon flight to Milano. Staying the night in Milano.
Up at 0750. Breakfast at home. 0900 still waiting for the bus driver to come out. He came with the bus at 0845, and the bus was due leaving 0900 (timetable) but 0903 finally the bus driver arrived. And some more minutes we were on our way. 35 minutes later in our small airport. 1005 and our flight to Oslo began, 1145 in Oslo. Had it been a direct flight it would have just taken 45 minutes the whole flight.
Lunch in Oslo Airport. There was a long queue in the security line. And my luggage was looked into by a very nice and polite person. Then 1500 my flight to Milan started. 1735 we landed. It was not my first time in Malpensa Airport Milan. This time I decided to take a train to Milano Centrale, the main train station in Milan. I wasted a long time in trying to find the train to Milan. In the end I decided to take the bus after all it was cheaper only cost half the money the train cost. And then I was trying to find my way back to where I started when I first decided the train. And naturally I had forgot about looking closely for the right bus line. But in the end although my bus cost Euro 5.50 and the other Euro 5 I think it did not really matter since both buses seem to take the same route (Of course I cannot really be certain of that).
The traffic in Milan was insane. Not like last time, but if was probably because this time it was evening rush hour. Anyway, even if the train cost double prize to the bus it must have been the faster way to Milan. Anyway the bus took almost double time than announced. So the traffic was dense, indeed. Then came my second ordeal... no, not really :-) Finding my hotel... I must have walked round the huge train station building at least twice. Finally I asked a taxi driver who told me where to go. And with the direction pointed out then it was real easy to find my hotel, Hotel Cristallo. 1935 was the time when I was at last in my hotel room. Yes, I know almost 12 hours after wake up it was, but really it did not seem as a really bad day for me. A bit tired, yes, but everything was well. A sort of Dinner in Milan... McDonald's...
A good night sleep, and then...
Day 2: Friday 2007-03-09 Milano - Genova
Train to Genova. In the afternoon Opera.
0730 Breakfast at the hotel. Before taking the train to Genoa I decide to walk in Milan. I asked the hotel desk where to go shopping. I went the whole until I got to a McDonald's and had a snack there. I don't know if I should trust my memory but it was on this day that I got my two blisters, one small blood blister on and one big one... I don't know if it was already in Milan it happened or in Genoa. So in Milan I did not buy anything, I just got myself blisters. It is quite easy to get it when you start the day walking almost 2 hrs (or maybe it was 1 1/2 or...) Anyway, strangely enough, as it was a pure coincidence I took the train that I already had put on my Yahoo Calendar, pure coincidence. And it was in Milano Centrale that I meet the first JCx member on this trip. Me from Norway, and she from Prague. Very nice. Unfortunately we did not get on the same train, I believe she took an earlier train. After all I had not even bought a train ticket when we met. Of course we saw each other again after the opera at the stage door. It is so great meeting friends when on opera travel (of course at other times, too).
Train 11.10-1242. So did I really think I would remember where my hotel was after almost 2 years. Yes, I did. Of course, yet another time I had to ask the most reliable source for where is my hotel, a taxi driver. Real nice, did not try to make me take a taxi to the hotel, is this a typical Italian treat to be this honest ? Anyway 1340 I was my "new", Hotel Helvetia. A really nice hotel with a nice personnel, and a really comfortable bed. The Breakfast room is tiny and it does not have a wide choice in breakfast. (On Sunday it was so crowded that I had to wait and go up and down more times to finally have my breakfast.) The Hotel Helvetia is just in middle of the train station and the Teatro Carlo Felice, approximate 15 minutes each way, This mean that it is almost 30 minutes from Carlo Felice to Piazza Prinzipe. So maybe it was in Genoa really I got my blisters. Well any way, it was in Genoa that I found it a bit painful to walk. It did not help that the roads was not the asphalt road. Genoa is such an old city, asphalt did not exist when these streets was created.
Walking up and down the shopping street, Septembre... I saw FNAC.it. It was really big and kinda confusing trying to find my way there. But I had luck the LA TRAVIATA a Paris DVD was there and I bought it. Finally the opera film was on DVD. It made me feel real lucky to be in Italy and to find this DVD....
And then came the time to get my tickets. Yes, and I was there 1 hour before the opera begins. And I met a couple that lives in Bologna, Bolzano... no, BERGAMO. They were extraordinary nice people but then I find that all JCx members that I have met are truly nice people. I met more people than that so it was from Norway, Germany, Austria, Italy, Japan, Czech Republic, may be more (10 JCx members I think I recognized). And after the opera we were 5 people from different countries trying to find some place not to far away from the opera house where we could eat. It was not possible it was over midnight already... So it became just a cafe and something to drink. But Friendship may help you forget that you are a bit hungry.