I was sad to leave Cinque Terre.
But I had to, because at the end of my stay there, I only had two days left. I took a train from Cinque Terre to Milan, where I would fly to Paris.
My flight out of Milan was at six in the morning, with a check-in at four. Given that Milan is famous for its hostels that are completely out of the way, I decided that it would be safer for me to sleep in the airport. From Cinque Terre, I arrived in Milan at about ten at night, and I spent the rest of my night reading in McDonalds (McFlurries are universally delicious...Oh, what the heck, I’ll keep talking about it…my favorite kind was their Smarties version. Smarties in Europe are not the same as our chalky, sour Smarties; they’re like M&Ms that, instead of having the chocolate be the focus, the candy coating is. Yum.), and blogging in a 24-hour internet café. (The woman behind the counter may have been a man, but I’m not sure.)
At around midnight, I took a bus to Malpensa Airport. It was a really long bus ride (thank God, again, that I didn’t take a taxi), so I got to take a nap for about an hour. I arrived at Malpensa at about one in the morning. And thus began my night’s stay in an airport.
Luckily I found some cool people to talk to who were, apparently, doing the same thing that I was. I met a Mexican woman about my age who was studying abroad in Madrid. I got to use a little bit of Spanish with her—which made me feel cool—until I found out that she could speak English fluently. We had a really nice talk and took turns watching each others’ bags while the other went to go get a snack from the vending machines or warm up outside. (It was very pleasant outside and freezing in the airport.) She also told me about Madrid, which refueled my desire to see Spain. Jeez, I’m ending my trip to Europe and already planning a new one.
I also met some American travelers who were truly backpacking through Europe. They had been camping all throughout Europe and flying cheaply from place to place. And they had slept in a lot more airports than I had. So I couldn’t really complain, could I?
The plane was on time, and I got on and slept for the one-hour flight to Paris.
It was great to see Paris again. I found that strange. To find something comfortingly familiar and then realize that it’s Paris, for crying out loud, is a really interesting thing. I took the long trip from Charles De Gaulle airport to my hostel in the middle of Paris, and realized that it was the same hostel at which I had stayed my first night after I spent my time with Laurent. I checked in again and put my luggage in the luggage room (which was inconveniently down a twisty old staircase that leads to a humid, musty basement with shrewd wooden shelves made to hold suitcases – I didn’t think I would ever have to use that darn thing again, but I was wrong). Check in was at two in the afternoon, and it was about eight in the morning, so I had some time to kill.
I sat down quietly in a McDonald’s (not because I was taking the cheap way out and avoiding cheap food, but because it was the closest place with WiFi access) and took out my computer. I did some Skyping with my girlfriend and my family over some soda and a French McDonald’s breakfast, which happens to be three different kinds of mini croissants – one plain, one filled with chocolate, and one filled with some sort of jam, which doesn’t even compare to a sausage-egg McMuffin. I also spent some time writing for the blog and posting one of my entries. I spent my time pretty wisely, I think. I also ventured out a bit around the city, found a nice place to sit and read (I was getting dangerously close to finishing the entire Chronicles of Narnia), and relaxed for a few hours.
When 2pm finally came, I went back to my hostel and took a much-needed nap. It was so good. A quiet night’s sleep at two in the afternoon. Waking up for the rest of the day, I knew, would be difficult, but I also knew it would be very cool.
After all, it was July 14th. Bastille Day.
You’ll enjoy the next post.