and so we made it….. From Orlando, Florida to Milan Italy in just over 9 hours. The flights are pretty much a breeze, well in first class that is. We decided to spend the extra money based on the flip of a coin, the last minute at the airport. Turns out after further review it was a double headed coin, a win win for all.
Once we got from the airport to our new apartment, we were pleasantly surprised as the photos of our place actually matched the apartment. We had to meet with the property manager to go over all the “rules” and there are quite a few. For example EVERYONE here recycles…..everything. There are separate garbage bins ( white, green, yellow, black and brown) for paper, plastics, food items, glass etc. So our question was if you have a half eaten cookie in a paper bag is it paper or food. Anyway, we have decided to put our trash into a plastic grocery bag and just throw it in the communal garbage cans on the street.
Another fun fact is that we each have 6 keys all of which are for the apartment. There are separate keys for the outside door, the inside door, the security gate, the back patio door, the mailbox and a mystery key we have still to discover what it goes to.
Since we are shipping our TV over, which can take up to 2-3 months we are using the one that is provided. We have 150+ channels and the only 1 that is in English is cartoons.
Even with all the quarks we are having a great time. I will say that in the past 24-48 hours I have learned this about Italy and specifically Milano:
1. Finding affordable parking anywhere in Milan is similar to learning how to riding a unicycle on water while juggling. In other words its impossible. We ended up spending around €30 ( or $40) for almost 12 hours. The system here is colored zones. White which is free parking, yellow is resident and blue is paid metered parking. All of which have certain time restrictions and rules which are written Italian so we don’t know exactly what they are. However residents have zones which you have to stick to as well, problem is that we arrived on Friday and need to obtain this sticker from the town hall which isn’t open until Monday. Oh and did I mention the definition by an Italian of correct parallel parking?? It’s when you have hit the car in front of you and behind you, several times.
2. Now lets talk about driving lanes. Yes these are the little lines that are painted in the road. In the US you stay within those lanes/lanes. Here, those lines are merely art and have nothing to do with driving. A two lane main road heading into the city of Milan most of the times is 4 cars deep. Yup and here is the icing on top….. Mopeds. You want to run everyone you see over. They go between cars, pass on the left and right and have no rules what’s so ever. And by the strength in numbers these people have, it almost seems encouraged. Paul and I got sheer enjoyment last night when we saw one take a pretty nasty spill on the rainy roads. Heee heee. Don’t worry he got right back up and continued driving like an ass.
3. Last observation I made is that the Italians who speak english will act like they have no clue what you are talking about. Still haven’t quite figured this one out, but everyone everywhere will listen in on your conversations. It’s like we are a freak of nature with three heads and they want to take it all in. Paul and I have since learned to mumble more and talk faster than normal to remain a mystery. The very last thing I will tell you is that I now know what it feels like to be a minority. Blondes are rare in these parts, blue eyes too and when you throw American in there…. I’m sorta like a mythical creature.
Tomorrow we head to town hall and the post office to apply for our permit to stay…. I’m certain that I will have more exciting stories to share after that experience. Until then ciao!