A man dressed in a working overall rushes to the door of the train and wants to jump off while the doors close and the train departs. He did not make it in time to get off. I wonder if he realized too late that he is sitting in the wrong train, but then I see him going to an American woman, handing her ticket back and saying “è partito” (it has departed) with a sorry face. All is clear for me at this point: he wanted to jump off to stamp the ticket for her. In Italy you have to always stamp the train ticket before entering the train. If she had asked me I would have told her that all the stamping machines are broken on this track and I didn’t have the chance to stamp it too.
I keep thinking about this man, trying to help her to the point of risking to lose the train himself. This is part of the Italian hospitality. The American woman is a guest and he is at home here.
This is also why I rarely get to pay for my food when I invite someone for a business lunch or dinner in Italy. Even if I am the one inviting, I still remain the guest.
“In Milan I do not really feel like a guest” – I think while the train takes me away from the city where I lived for around 6 years to bring me to the airport.
View from dirty train window on the train to Milan Malpensa Airport
The city I loved and the city I hated. The city that embraces all the guests but can also be very cruel and give you the sensation of real loneliness.
I think I went away because of this feeling of loneliness. It felt like being with the person you love but who ignores you. I went away to make the point of my life. And it was the best choice ever. Sometimes you need to force yourself to leave the things you love in order to rearrange your relationship. I am not sure you can say this about a place where you live, but that’s how I felt.
I never lost my love for Milan and the enthusiasm to show the city to all visitors that come here with me, because Milan is often not very appealing for the guests coming for the first time without knowing the city. You have to know someone who makes you “live” the city, who explains the spirit to you. I had the luck to be able to show the city to many friends, and they all discovered a new face of the city – they all loved the city like me.
I am here often for work now and I always have mixed feelings when I arrive, but also when I leave like I am doing now. A mix of excitement and sadness.
Ok, maybe this post seems not to have much to do with travel but for me it still has.
It shows the feelings one can have for a city.
It shows how friendly Italians can be in regards to strangers.
And it has a recommendation: go to Milan with someone who knows the city and the Milanese lifestyle – you’ll love it!
Check-uot my pictures for some hidden angles of Milan!