I went to Cremona! Cremona, which is about 1 and a half hours outside of Milan by train, is not only the birthplace of the violin but it also has the tallest brick tower in all of Europe!(here it is!)I guess I should start from the beginning of this story(try to follow me here... this might get confusing.)
So in Cremona, there are these Rotary Youth Exchange students. They are in a different district, so when they came to Milano, Grace, Kylee and I took them around our home turf and showed them all of our new favorite places in the city (Which includes our favorite pizzeria, favorite gelataria (ice cream store), and all the big touristy sights, i.e. the Duomo, the naviglia, ect.)
They wanted to return the favor (or maybe we convinced them that they wanted too) so on 11/15/08(Saturday) Grace (another american exchange student who goes to my school and is very nice) and me left to take a train down to Cremona (Kylee was busy). We left around 4pm, and after finally getting on the right train we sat down for what we thought was going to be an easy, uneventful train trip. Our tickets said da(from)MILANO CENTRALE a(to) CREMONA, via(street) CODOGNO.
Now there were no englsih translations, and plus the printing was really small, and the names of the places were really big so about an hour into our trip we stopped at a station called CODOGNO, and Grace and I, assuming that it was our stop after a quick glance to our tickets and seeing the word CODOGNO, jumped off the train. Turns out that CODOGNO is not CREMONA (Codogno was the name of the street in Cremona where the train station was) and we had just gotten off our train about an hour early. We realized this as we watched our train pull out of the station and turned to man and asked(in Italian) "Is this Cremona?" he said, "No, this is Codogno." Me and Grace turned to each other and decided that we should go find another train that would take us to Cremona. So we wander around the station for about 5 minutes looking for the information booth, which we finally we find, and ask the man there which train we should take. He points out the window to a train that is stopped right outside, so we immediately run off and try to get on it. We somehow end up on the other side of the tracks, run back, ask two more people how to get to the train, turn around and look at the information boothman. He is pointing again out the window, but then we realize something! He is not pointing at the train, but at the door that is RIGHT next to him!
So Grace and I, feeling exceptionally smart, get on the train, which happens to be very, very creepy becaues we had to be the only people on it, and it was dark outside (it gets dark at like 5 here). No one got on the train, no one got off the train, and this continued for a good 45 min as we were taken into the Italian countryside. Neither Grace nor I had money on our cell phones (so we couldn't call anyone) so we began to worry quite a bit as we kept going on and the stop for Cremona wasn't showing up. We finally pulled into the Cremona stop, got out, and waited for the Cremonaians to come and pick us up. Which they did in due time, and then we went to chill for a little bit at Margot's house while we were waiting for the everybody to show up. (There are 4 exchange students in Cremona: Margot, Elise, Henry and Brandon.) After everyone showed up we went to go eat dinner (we had this things that are very similar to quesidillas, but they were a specialty of Cremona) and then we went to Brandon's house. After that we went to the center of Cremona and spent the rest of the night there.
(Center in Cremona --->)
Cremona is a great city-it is big enough to have a lot of people, but small enough that the exchange students can actually go out at night there without having their host parents worry that they are going to get kidnapped, sold in to slavery and never being heard from ever again (as it is in Milan.) So on Saturday nights all the kids go to the center of the city to meet up with everyone else. After I went back to Elise's house to sleep and Grace went to Margot's house.
The next morning we went back to the center, where we met up with Margot and Grace. Together we climbed the big brick tower (the tallest in Europe), which had ALOT of stairs, but the view was totally worth it when we finally did make it to the top. We climbed back down, ate some lunch, ate some gelato and then caught the train back home. Our return trip was uneventful, thankfully, so we got back to Milan just fine.
If you would like to see pictures of Cremona, here's the link: