I was too tired to pack Saturday night and so I had to get it all done and be out of the room by noon. I figured that would be pretty easy to do but in n the end, I got down to the desk to pay the bill about 11:50 am. It took longer than normal because I decided to pack also for the plane ride home, putting all the items in my roll-on bag that I planned to check in at the airport so that I would not have to pack again while watching the Italy-France World Cup final.
After checking out, I had about 2 1/2 hours to kill and then I had to head to the train station to catch my train. I decided to go back to la Mole and the Cinema Museum. I saw this cool car while walking to la Mole...
I really loved the Cinema Museum and lost track of time wandering around, watching clips from different movies. I ate lunch there as well. I had a great pesto pasta for lunch which surprised me as I didn’t expect such good food at a museum café. Fotos from la Mole and the museum are all posted on my "first day in torino" post.
At one point, I realized that I had 30 minutes to catch my train! I did some speed walking back to my hotel which was halfway between the museum and the train station. I grabbed my bags that I left in the storage room at my hotel and then continued speed walking to the train station. I made it with 5 minutes to spare and then of course the train ended up leaving 10 minutes late. When I arrived, I was pretty out of breath. I saw this guy saying goodbye to his girlfriend or wife at one of the entrances onto the train. I played the helpless girl act hoping that he would offer to lift my bag on board. He didn’t get the act but the girl did and told him to help me.
My last destination was an airport hotel – Hotel Villa Malpensa.
The options to get the airport are:
1. Bus from Torino directly to the airport. A two hour ride that leaves at 7 am, 9 am, or 3 pm. I tried to find the bus station a couple of days earlier and only saw on a map that it was pretty far from the train station. My concern was that I only had one choice which was the 3 pm bus and wasn’t sure what I would do if it was full or sold out. Also, because of the taxi strike, I was not sure if the strike would be over on Sunday and since reservations were not possible on the bus, I did not want to get there and then find out that the bus was sold out. I also did not want to spend two hours on a packed bus. Also, I prefer trains as they are roomier, you can walk around, and there are bathrooms on trains. I decided not to choose this way to the airport (but in the end, I think this would have been the best choice as was recommended to me while planning my trip).
2. Take the train to Milan (1 hour 50 mins) and then the 50 min bus to the airport from the Milan train station. Advantages, roomier seats on the train, being able to walk around, a bathroom on the train, and for the bus ride, a much shorter bus ride with buses leaving every 20 or 30 minutes so if one was full, I could wait for the next one.
3. Take the train to Milan, the metro (subway) to a 2nd train station in Milan, and then take this train (Malpensa Express) directly to the airport. Advantages, no bus rides, bathrooms on both trains, more room on trains. Disadvantages as I later found out, craziness getting to & on/off the Metro.
My original choice was number 2 - train to Milan and then the bus to the airport. The train ride to Milan was uneventful. However, when we arrived in Milan, I immediately had to go to the bathroom AFTER getting OFF the train. I don't know why but I didn't even think about using the bathroom on the train. BIG MISTAKE! Once at the train station in Milan, I could not find the bathrooms and even if I did, it is usually pretty impossible to use train bathrooms with all my luggage when traveling alone and Milan is not a place where I would leave a bag outside. Also, the bathrooms are usually pretty impossible.
SO, I changed my mind and decided to take the metro to the other train station in Milan and then take the direct train to the airport so I could use the bathroom on the train instead of being on a bus for almost an hour without a bathroom.
Little did I know the adventure I was about to take. I took out my notes that I wrote on all 3 choices before I left for Italy. I looked for the signs and found the Metro sign. I followed the arrows and a crowd of people and soon found myself at the Metro station. I then realized that I had no idea where I was going…what line to take and which way I was heading! Tons of people were arriving in Milan for the final game of the World Cup. People were running through the subway station wrapped in Italian flags, blaring the horns, singing and chanting. I could see that the older security men that were working at the Metro station getting irritated at all the commotion. This was not good as I needed to find a friendly security guy to help me with directions.
I asked 2 different security guys and both quickly pointed while speaking rapidly. They both pointed towards the flights of stairs – but there were 2 different flights - one was for the train headed to one end of the line and the second was for the train headed the opposite way. I still was not completely sure which way to go but took a chance and lugged my bag down the closest steep flight of stairs hoping that I would not then have to lug it back up the flight of stairs and then down a second flight of stairs if I chose the wrong stairway.
When I got to the bottom, I saw a huge crowd of people waiting for the next train to arrive. I asked someone if this train went to the Cadorna Train station and was relieved to find out that I was on the correct side of the tracks. My new worry was how I was going to make it onto the train with this huge crowd of people and my bags. My eyes met this other girl that was also waiting with a roll-on suitcase and I felt like kindred spirits with her. The train arrived after about 5 minutes and I could see through the windows that the train was packed! We both pushed our way onto the train and staked out spots by the poles to hang on. The train was packed and HOT! I still had not gone to the bathroom at this point. The thought of pickpockets also went through my head as this was the perfect place. I held all my things with deathgrips as the train took off. I counted the 5 stops until we reached the Cadorna stop and then maneuvered my way off the train. Now I had to figure out where to go next. The signs were not great at first but eventually they appeared and I found the 2nd train station.
Last summer, I took the Malpensa Express train when leaving from Lake Como and remembered that it was a pretty quick trip. I did not realize that the last time I took the train, the connection point where I boarded the train was halfway to the airport. This time, I was at the beginning of the line and the train was going to take almost an hour to get to the airport. It also cost twice as much but in the end with the metro ticket and the 2 train tickets it only cost 1 euro more than it would have cost if I took the bus from Torino and that was without the cost of a taxi to the bus station, but it did end up taking about an hour or so longer to get to the airport. After buying my ticket and getting on the train, I sat patiently until the train took off and then immediately headed for the toilet!
I arrived at the airport, called the hotel for my shuttle ride and headed towards the pick up spot. I remembered my way from the year before from the train station to the spot where the shuttles pick up customers to transfer to the hotel and only had to wait a couple of minutes until the shuttle arrived.
The hotel was pretty close to the airport. I checked in, asked what time the restaurant served dinner, and then went up to my room and took a long shower. I ate early so that I could watch the big game. Although I was still “in Italy”, it was probably the most unexciting place to be as there was no big celebration since except for the few hotel staff, all the customers were tourists and so the passion for the final match was not there. I ate a VERY expensive dinner…ok food but definitely a rip off as there is no other choice. The waiter poured me a small glass of water before I had a chance to ask for a large bottle and so I ended up paying 5 euros alone for the water! After dinner, I went back up to my room to watch the game. I was happy with the hotel and my room was quite comfortable (only complaint was the ripoff dinner).
As everyone knows by now, Italy won the world cup!!
Also, the historic Zidane headbutt occurred. If you haven't heard the Zidane headbutt song, Coup de Boule ... click HERE to read more on the song and click HERE to hear the entire song.
Even though I was in a quiet hotel room, it was still exciting watching Italy win, watching the team celebrate on TV, and also watching some of the celebrations on the Italian news stations. Katia and I sent each other a few SMS' during the game and about an hour after the game ended, Katia called so I could hear all the people screaming and horns blaring through her phone as her town continued to erupt in celebration.
Monday…my flight home.
After a quick breakfast, I took the shuttle back to the airport. Everything went pretty smooth. All the Italian workers looked pretty tired after a long night of celebration. I congratulated the passport control guy about the big win and he smiled (of course after he okayed me going through). I also congratulated the girl at the Continental ticket counter and she smiled. My bag weighed 19 kilograms which is about 41 pounds. She congratulated me for the weight of my bag. My plane took off on time. One of the flight attendants was wearing this cute Italian scarf/hat. He had us all sing the italian chant that was sung at all the games. I am not sure if he was Italian or American but he was definitely pretty excited about the win. Both plane rides and my connection in Newark all went smoothly.
And now I am back to work and back to reality…..a great trip and more wonderful memories to cherish!