Thursday, October 22, 2009

Vita a Milano

Difficulties & Simplicities of Milan

The most difficult task here in Milan is finding internet. I was told that there would be internet cafes on every corner. Well, they simply do not exist. I’ve only ever seen two and it’s not free wifi like Starbucks (which also does not exist), it costs money (and quite expensive too). I never realized how much I would really need the internet while abroad. Being that I am abroad by myself I need contact with those from home. In order to solve my problem I bought a wireless internet key from Vodafone. Well, that was the worst decision. Do NOT go to Vodafone for anything (cell phones, SIM cards, internet keys). Vodafone internet keys do not work with Macs (Macs are in Italy, but not one person is knowledgeable enough to help with problems so beware). They do (sometimes) work with PCs but would not refund my 80euro because they blamed the problem on my Mac (although they knew that I had a Mac prior to purchasing the key). So after a month of waiting around and arguing back and forth I gave up. I went to a new company, TIM. Much better. I’ve had no problem with the internet in the past week or so. I definitely recommend going to TIM for your internet needs, especially if you have a Mac. TIM is also cheaper. It costs 69euro for the internet key and 100hours of internet for the first month then you can pick your own plan after that. It is well worth the cost.

On a brighter note, I was pleasantly surprised by the public transportation of Milan. It is very easy to use and economically efficient. I use it everyday and really do not mind. The metro system is called the ATM (Azienda Trasporti Milanesi), not to be confused with our kind of ATM, which is actually called a "bancomat" in Italy. The ATM is clean and very modern for an old, old city. It even has flat screen televisions underground casting the news! (Although that kind of reminds me of Big Brother, so I’m not sure if that is a good thing or not). I think it is much better than the SEPTA (which isn’t hard) and the metro system in Manhattan. Fortunately, it is very easy to navigate having only three metro lines (and of course trolleys and buses). If you need to use the metro system daily and will be in Milan for at least a month I recommend signing up for the metro card. For a student it is only 10euro for the card and 17euro a month of unlimited travel. Although it does take about 15 days to register so I suggest ordering it right away. This can be done at the Duomo stop which can be reached from the M1 or M3. Visit this website for more information and to see a map of the metro system. The taxis, of course, are another source of transportation, but very expensive (more so than in the States). They are extremely clean and nice (it is common for a taxi to be a Mercedes Benz), but it’s really not worth the money unless you really need it at night since the metro does close at midnight.

Well, I hope this information will be of use. Until next time… Ciao!

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