Coping with a new language, staying with people I did not know and attending school with friends who were much better at French than I was was too trying an experience for me to have written about my experience every day. I wanted to write, but it was all good intentions and nothing more.
On the 13th of June, 2004, though, our adventure actually began – three young Indian girls backpacking through Europe. I will never forget those two weeks. Unbelievable, educational weeks.
We reached Milan at 9 in the morning and did not know where to begin. We did not speak Italian and we needed to find a youth hostel.
We got off the train and walked purposefully down the platform just like all the other people with a destination. There was no other way we could go.
And we reached the end of the platform.
We exchanged glances, looked around, and learned out first Italian words – ufficio informazioni turistiche. Aha.
Where is ufficio informazioni turistiche, please?
“End of this road and right.”
We followed instructions – and found a waiting-room.
Once again, we asked, “Where is ufficio informazioni turistiche, please?”
“Go straight and turn left,” replied the official there – and signalled with his right hand.
We looked on both sides, just to be safe. We discovered a café instead, and went in to ask, again. This time, we began with. “Excuse me, do you speak English?”
“No,” was the response.
We found someone whom we had met on the train, who spoke French, we knew. “Please, could you …?”
This lovely lady and her daughter went out of the way to help us. The lady took out a telephone card and hunted out a number. She called, found a youth hostel for us – and even gave us the telephone card to keep! Three good deeds to strangers. Following Enid Blyton, I must pass them on; I hope I have already done so.
Green Line M2, direction Famagosta: get off at Cadorna.
Change to M1, directiong Molino Dorino: get off at QT8.
Crystal clear sign-boards once we got off the train took us straight to our first youth-hostel. We sighed.
Milano. Welcome to Italy.