In the last post I said adventure was to follow. Well that adventure began on our train ride to Paris.

Our original plans were to take the train to Milan, get off in Milan & then catch our overnight train to Paris.

We should've noticed something wasn't right when the kiosk wouldn't print our tickets at the train station. We should have noticed when a woman had the same assigned seat as one from our party.  We should have noticed when, at another stop, someone else had a seat in our cluster of chairs as well.

When the conductor came by, the boy who had the same ticket as ours, notified him of the double booking. The train conductor took all of our tickets & carefully examined them. Then after sometime he turned to us and said, "You guys are on the train a day early."

Adrenaline instantly got my heart racing. How would we catch our next train? How did I overlook this in all my planning? And then, of coarse, I felt stupid for taking the seats of two other passengers. 

Then the conductor informed us that our tickets were non-refundable and that we would have to purchase new tickets. And if that weren't enough, he added- "And tickets purchased aboard the train cost more than if bought at the station or online." To be exact- 400 euros (interpreted- $533).

A mix of emotions overtook me- fear, sadness, guilt, self loathing, anger, and lastly- nausea. And then my tears began to flow freely.

Needless to say, we didn't catch our night train to Paris.  We would have to find a place to stay in Milan.

Prior to searching for a hotel, we did try to find the Thello train ticket office, but to no avail.  During this time I really needed to go the bathroom. When I saw that they charged a euro, I was determined to hold it.  But I eventually caved & dad generously provided 2 euros to pay the way for mom & me.  With that we decided that we were going to take full advantage of our euro & at least get some fun pictures out of the experience.
Finding a hotel in Milan at midnight was another adventure! I wish I'd thought to take at least a cell phone picture of us tromping around the streets of Milan! But just try to picture this- It's dark and the streets are quiet.  Only the moonlight & a few lonely streetlights fill the darkness.  The only sign of life are a few homeless men tucked in for the night on their slabs of cardboard.  But then suddenly the silence is broken by clomping footsteps, the sound of wheels over cobblestone, chattering teeth, whining children, loud voices & occasional laughter.  Did we wake these vagabonds?  If we did, what a sight we must have been to behold!  A family of 6- stroller & 5 suitcases in tote, roaming the empty streets of Milan on this cold winter's night...at midnight mind you!

Alas we find a hotel a few blocks from the train station!  But of coarse we couldn't just pick the first hotel...or the second...or third that we found. We had to shop around for the best deal! Dad & Chad split up & hit different hotels to compare prices & what each had to offer.

Finally we found one- Hotel Bernina.  Yay!  I'm cold, tired & have really got to use the bathroom again!

I didn't sleep that night. I was just sick about the whole ordeal.  I racked myself over the coals for my stupidity & mistake.

The next day it was Chad & my father-in-law that helped me get over most of the negative feelings I had so that I could actually enjoy Milan. 

Over breakfast my father-in-law said, "Look Michelle, you live in Bolivar, MO. Right now you're in the fashion capital of the world. When will you get to go back to Milan again? Money is money. So what if it sets you back. Enjoy Milan. You'll never get a chance like this again." Thanks dad. I admit that spending money after that train ride was a little more bitter sweet, but he ultimately helped me move forward. 

I also have to give credit to Chad. Not once did he get upset at me or make me feel stupid for such a stupid oversight. I'm so thankful for such a patient husband!

The next morning we set out to see what Milan had to offer.  Liam loved this choo-choo fruit cake thingy that dad found.
True story- Chad & dad were waiting for me & mom outside of a Zara. Chad was crouched down near dad. (Keep in mind that Chad hasn't shaved for days and has a beard that is in the straggly stage). A man carrying some bags approached Chad & trust a bag towards him & said something like (remember language barrier) 'Do you want this?'. Chad was confused and said, "Um, how much does it cost?" The man didn't respond. He just looked confused. Maybe it was Chad's english. Maybe it was Chad's offer to pay. Either way, the man made an awkward and very embarrassed exit.

Who knows what the man with the bags intended or wanted, but we like to say that our Chad was mistaken for a beggar.  

We thought it was totally appropriate to take a picture by this sign that I found tucked away in a little cranny on the street.
The store displays there were gorgeous! Dolce & Gabbana always had really fun windows.
Duomo Cathedral
This cathedral had even more embalmed popes than St. Peter's Basilica.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II- the world's oldest shopping mall (according to wikipedia that is). Also, very posh shopping. Mom & me made our way into Prada just for the fun of it. There was nothing in there that we could afford, but we did get to sample the Prada perfumes.
...must remember that hot chocolate is not the same thing that we have in the states. But I wasn't gonna complain. It's chocolate!
Pistachio Cannolis were on my list of foods to try in Italy. I almost missed this one, but luckily found them for sale at the train station. I got some on our way out of Italy.

As a side note- when Chad & me went over the details of our trip, we both agreed that Milan was actually one of our favorite cities.  Funny how tragedy can be turned to triumph.


  1. What a pretty city! I would have felt bad, too, but maybe it was meant to be...where else would they mistake Chad for a bum?

  2. I love reading these stories and seeing the photos! (I really, really want to go to Italy.) What a great adventure you had! It's always nice to look back with a new perspective on a difficult time to see the blessing from it!