Sleepless in Milan

MilanI felt a little bit lost this morning without having a coffee maker (or a water kettle) in the room. Last night I barely made it back in time to catch the last metro out of the Duomo stop back home to where I was staying in the north part of the city (tiny room, but the nicest folks at the front desk) – So yeah, it was a bit late – but was well worth the conversations that I had with my business associates.

So getting home later than usual, I was more nervous that I would sleep in past 6am local – delaying my prep for my presentation later in the day. The issue was that I ended up catching that jet lag that was apparently lying dormant in my system. I woke up at 3:30 am and was not able to get back to sleep – tossing and turning til around 5…and then saying ‘Screw it’ and getting up to prep for the day.

Fast forward to my meeting (and morning presentations) – I end up at the location at around 7 am, have taken the metro with all of my bags, checked out that morning. As the crisp, wet air was a wonderful remedy for my lack of sleep (and lack of caffeine) it dawned on me that the center would not open until at least 8:30… The cold, wet damp air quickly turned into an irritant.

I made my way, bag in hand down the main street – looking for somewhere to park for a few. Of course the giant arches of McDonalds screams out to me – but at the same time, I know that I would not forgive myself by wasting my last morning in Milan in a American chain restaurant (for clarity, this McDonalds had a very nice coffee and morning pastry area not found in the US).

Dragging my bag up from the street and into a brightly lit café, I started to inspect the number of amazing looking pastries in the case in front of me. I wish that my wife were here, as she would really appreciate this. I on the other hand, really only wanted to obtain a dose of caffeine that I was so dearly missing.

At this time, most everyone in the place knew that I was an outsider. Even though I was dressed to the nines in a black suit, tie, and all of the trimmings as any good looking Milano – I do appear a bit on the taller, heftier (pudgy) ‘Germanic’ side – and well, …well– it was most likely the way that I was looking completely lost in such a Italian traditional espresso house that gave me away. “Espresso, black – Gratzie” I say like a moron… The old barista grunted, and then basically dragged me to the standing counter (I was aiming for the seats where I saw a bunch of women sitting) to a group of older men. Within a minute I had one of the best espressos that I have had in a long time. This was something that I wanted to savor – Yet I did know that this was not a ‘3rd place’ experience –as the real culture is to drink and move along – which I did.

As I had much time to kill , I made my way down the street hitting coffee bar, after coffee bar getting my caffeine fix under control.

The presentation and meeting went well and I’m quite happy that I took the Milan morning coffee (espresso) tour, as it got me over the hump, yet I am completely fading here slumping in my seat waiting for the flight to Amsterdam – just hope that I stay awake to board.


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