We arranged the tour to Italy through Rick Steves. After weeks of anticipation and taking an informal conversational Italian course at our local community college, we were as ready as we’d ever be. This was our first trip to Europe.
Our flight to Italy was comfortable, though long. SAS service is so much better than any US airline’s. We got fed twice between Chicago and Copenhagen (dinner and breakfast) and got upgraded to business class on the Cophenhagen-Milan leg, where we got fed yet again. Nice warm rolls were served on both flights. On the other hand, United Airlines served us a tiny bag of pretzels from Seattle to Chicago, and passed out a list of other snacks we could purchase. How do foreign airlines do it? We went through two sunsets from Seattle to Milan.
Would you believe it? Emboldened by the conversational Italian class, my first Italian words were to a ticket agent at Malpensa International Airport: “Bon giorno. Vorremo due biglietti per centrale stazione.” I even shocked myself. Later, I was trying to figure out how to feed the ticket in the turnstile when a helpful person showed me.
We arrived in Milan at 9 PM after finding the right subway to the Duomo area from Cadorna station and taking a long time trying to find our hotel. Our hotel (Hotel Speroni) was just off the cathedral plaza. After unloading our things in the hotel room, we went for a short walk around the beautifully lit Duomo before turning in.