Posted by Andy Steves in on September 15, 2010.
On the train back into downtown, I gave my friends a call and told them to meet me back at the Duomo 30 minutes later. I showed up five minutes early and caught a showing of the azzurro Lambo Polizia car. A few years ago Lamborghini gave the Italian police force a pair of Gallardos. They’ve since been painted the Polizia light blue and decked it out with lights. It’s quite a crime deterrent and draws a crowd. After about 10 minutes, the Carabinieri ducked back inside and the machine growled to life like an angry bear out of hibernation, except sexier. It slowly rolled out of the piazza followed by every eye and camera lens there. I then found my friends on the other side of the piazza and we found some dinner at a delicious choose-your-own-pasta restaurant. On the menu, you choose first the type of pasta, then the quantity, and then the sauce. Not a bad system.
Over dinner I heard the first description of the hostel I had reserved for us. There aren’t many hostels in Milan and the one we found was a bit outside the city but on the main metro line. It was a dorm-like institutional place packed with a mix of international travelers. Later that night, I met a French soccer team populated with girls from all over: Russians, Germans, French, Italian, etc. I talked to them and told them to come out with us to the clubs that night but apparently they had a game the next day. We continued to chat in French until their coach, a big tough-looking guy with tattoos, got a bit weary and told me to “F off” from the next room in French, not knowing I spoke the language. In stead of responding I just relayed to the soccer players there were Bombay G&T’s down the hall if anyone was interested.
That night we went to a club called Club Magenta after pre-gaming with gin and tonics and lime and no ice. While the name is a bit curious, the actual club beat all the ones in Rome. This place cost €20 to get in to and included a drink. A tip on value: when drinks are included, go for a Long Island Iced Tea. You can chill for a few hours sipping on a single drink. And that’s exactly what we did that night. Italian clubs always have a way of making you want to spend more money. There’s the VIP line when you’re outside. Then once you’re inside, there’s the coat check. And in the club you can buy a €150 bottle of vodka to sit at a table. In the nicer clubs that price can reach €250. Or you can really high-roll it and buy several to get into the roped off and raised platform where there’s a 2:1 ratio of model-looking young ladies to 45-year-old men. When all’s said and done though, I always try to remind myself we’re all listening to the same music and drinking the same drinks.
At 3:30 a.m., we decided our eardrums had been abused enough and climbed back out of the place. Through a stupor we walked down the street, took a right, then another right, and ended up where we were. It must have been a triangle shape block. In the end we got into a taxi after being steered away from an illegal one. I’ve never gotten in one but I have heard bad things. On the way home, I got a picture of someone riding a bike with a life-size blowup doll strapped to the rack on the back, which just looked hilarious. Random experiences come out of nowhere when you travel and usually that’s half the fun.
This past weekend, I traveled to Budapest with WSA with a couple of friends from my university abroad, and I couldn't have asked for a better trip! After arriving at the hostel, we met Bogi, our tour guide for the weekend, who was instantly friendly and welcoming. Throughout the weekend, Bogi was an amazing guide! She showed us some great places for shopping and food, as well as the top sights around the city. You could tell she loved her job and never passed up an opportunity to share about her hometown and some of its history. She was so friendly and was sincerely interested in us as individuals and did everything she could do accommodate our priorities for the weekend (whether it was food, shopping, nightlife, sightseeing, etc.) I would highly recommend WSA's guided tours for any student studying abroad who wants to explore more than their university's city!Katrina Alford, Concordia University - Irvine ~ AIFS Richmond, Spring 2015
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