It rained all night in Chur. We boarded the Bernina Express at 8:30 AM and chugged over the Alps into Italy. The views were obscured by low clouds and rain but what we saw was breathtaking.
We detrained in Tirano in time to catch an earlier train to Milan, after barely making ourselves understood and ensuring that the train was going to Milan. An hour into the trip, a conductor checked our passes and informed us that we had first class tickets and were in the second class car. We had wondered about the rather pronounced difference in the appearance and comfort from the Swiss trains and thought that the marked difference between the trains in Switzerland and Italy had to do with the fact that we were in Italy not that we were in the wrong car! We stayed put and arrived in Milan by mid afternoon. It was warm and we were hot and sweaty after our second class trip.
Looking for the car rental place took us onto the cobblestones and our second attempt at butchering Italian as we tried to ask directions. Streets aren’t clearly marked so it took another 30 minutes to find it. But good news when we found it. We got upgraded to a Volvo with GPS that guided us through the narrow Milan streets crowded with scooters and bicycles and, yes, Italian drivers. How we came through unscathed is anybody’s guess. After a few wrong turns and puzzling over Round Abouts we arrived at our Hotel. Parts of Milan are incredibly beautiful and picturesque with narrow streets and old buildings with flower covered balconies but graffiti is everywhere.
It was Linda’s birthday so we visited a small bistro across from the hotel and celebrated, then we dined on pizza at another nearby restaurant. We are in Italy at last.