Monday, May 25, 2009

Milano É Como




Since the last update, a lot has happened.

As I have yet to do any actual work at work, I was exhausted from trying too hard. Hence, a 4 day weekend was in order! (Thursday was a public holiday)

To start off an award-winning weekend, our hostel cancelled our booking the night before we left. So we found a new one that wasnt too pricey (Hotel Leonardo deVinci). When we got there, there had been an error in the booking and we apparently didnt have a room at the hotel, so the receptionist who was apparently the owner of the hotel told us that we should go to another place, a bed & breakfast. She told us that she was going to go down to the b&b and make sure it was clean. She said we could leave our bags at the hotel for a couple of hours, then pick them up and take Tram 9 for 10 stops to get to the piazza the b&b was located at. Sound sketchy yet?
Fastforwarding the story, we picked up our bags 2 hours later, took the tram no problem and arrived at the piazza. We couldnt find the place and thought it might be the hotel called by the name of the piazza. The receptionist there nearly had a heart attack from confusion and the woman from the Hotel Leonardo picked us up and took us to some appartment complex. Turns out we were staying at a flat she owned that wasnt being rented out. Hahaha...

It was actually perfect. It was way closer to the center of town, was really roomy, and we wernt limited by a curfew.

In the three days we were in Milano, I managed to learn excuse me, thanks, and English? in Italian. And I still cant say anything without having the stereotypical "OK" hand gesture to back me up. We went shopping and I'm officially Euro for less than it would have cost me to get a pair of sale-priced DC's back in Canada. Thankyou outlet stores! We saw the main cathedral on multiple occasions, once while there was a communist rally, and once when there was come crazy group singing songs about Fanta and one guy was jumping up and down like he had snorted cocaine 2 minutes prior. We also saw the castle and a few sweet cars. I took a picture of a Ferrari and the doorman beside it laughed at me...

One night, we tried to hit up a club. We met some cool people from Tunesia and they guided us in the direction of the clubs. Some spoke french to two of my roomies. Me and my other roomie Chris talked to one guy who learned english from GTA: San Andreas. Needless to say, he only knew how to talk like a gangster and swear. It was hilarious. When we finally got to a club, the bouncer was super friendly despite wanting nothing more than for us to leave. Probably because we were wearing shorts because it was 31 during the day and didnt go below 20-somthing at night. Regardless, he told us "the bar cannot serve you, so you need to find a table. But as you can see, there are no tables available." Pat asked how long we would have to wait for a table. "I cannot tell you how long, could be a very long time". Thats class. Its a good thing we pre-gamed after hitting up an Italian grocery store before we went out, or that walk home would have been soooooo much worse.

On Sunday, we got up wayyyyyy too early and went to a little town 40 km north of Milano, almost at the border with Switzerland. Apparently George Clooney has a house there. I survived on Kaiser buns for the day because I ran out of Euro change and didnt want to break my 50Eu bill. Then I found a Kabap shop and decided it was worth it to break the bill. It was.

We waited around at the lake in Como until 6 so we could catch a train in Switzerland after 7 so it would be free. We got home nice and late, and today at work was a day full of coffee and water breaks.

I wonder what will happen next weekend... Until then,

Ciao,
Steve

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Starting Anew

So I have been here in Switzerland for a week now and things are... different than life was back in Calgary. The first week was pretty mellow and work was very slow-paced. The guys I work with are pretty cool, we went out for beer on tuesday before I headed to Germany with the roomies to do some grocery shopping (it is far cheaper in Germany than it is in Switzerland). Otherwise, the week was fairly uneventful other than the intern mixer Alstom put on at one of the beergardens in old town. Pitchers were cheap and everyone was having a great time. Needless to say, Friday was not the best day of the week, although it was the first day I actually did anything at work.

A huge group of interns went to Interlaken today, which was epic. The train went beside one of the huge lakes, small towns built on the banks and high up the mountains. The alps were huge and absolutely full of snow and the cows had bells on them. It was picturesque to say the least. The main reason we went to Interlaken was to go canyoning. We all wore wet suits and lifejackets and pretty much just trekked down a canyon (aka flowing river). I had to zipline down a cliff-face, float down the river, and jump down waterfalls. Tragically, there were no pictures to be taken because my camera would have been destroyed and they definately wern't worth 40CHF for 45 pictures on the cd.

Next week we are supposed to be getting Thursday off, so I am going to meet my boss Monday and promptly ask him if I can have Friday off as well. I've heard he's a dick, so I'm sure he will be SUPER impressed. But if I can pull it off, we are thinking about going to Rome for a few days and hitting up anywhere else we want to down there. I'm hoping it's early enough in the summer season that there wont be an obscene amount of tourists, although I'm sure there will be plenty enough.