And So Much For Milan

There is, of course, much more to Milan than neato castles and overdecorated churches and statues of old-time thugs.

Even in the shadow of the past, modern life hustles on.

Milan is a very lively, energetic city, where people move it or lose it.

Quite an attractive city, too, at least in some areas.

Ah yes, a city of many fine sights....

And there were all sorts of interesting-looking things and places that we didn't have time to check out. No doubt we missed a great deal.

That evening we had dinner at a small restaurant near the hotel. Phyllis, ever the optimist, tried again to get a pizza, and got something even stranger than last time, though she said it wasn't bad. I ordered linguini with seafood; really I wasn't feeling much like eating anything. The filthy air had me coughing and hacking and sneezing, and my stomach didn't feel too great either.

The food was really delicious, though, and I was managing to put away a reasonable portion, when a well-dressed Italian woman, maybe in her thirties or so, suddenly materialized beside our table and began shrieking abuse at us. Her English was so heavily accented I couldn't understand what she was on about; but since we hadn't been doing anything but sit there and have dinner, and since I'd never seen her before, and since she didn't look like a science fiction critic, I could only conclude that our offense lay simply in being Americans. It was such a novel experience that we were more bemused than angry; it was the first time I had encountered that sort of thing anywhere in Europe. She stormed out, leaving the waiters shrugging apologetically at us; they appeared to be as baffled as we were.

A sour note on which to leave this city, where people on the whole had been very amiable and polite; still, as we reminded each other on the way back to the hotel, you can run into crazy shitheads anywhere.

All the same, I couldn't say I felt any great regret to be leaving Milan, or any particular interest in returning. Italy, yes, I'd like to see more of the country - I have a feeling there are other places I'd like better - but not Milan. It's a very lovely place in many ways, but not really my kind of town. Too fast-paced, too expensive, and you can't breathe.

In the morning we shouldered our packs for the last time and caught the bus out to the airport.