Andrew has a nemesis and her name is Milan

By - January 27, 2006 (Updated: November 30, 2014)

Andrew’s been doing a lot of work in Milan lately. He usually spends one or two days a week flying in and back.

For whatever reason, Milan doesn’t like Andrew… or perhaps she likes him so much she wants to keep him. To that I say ‘Damn it bitch, give my hubby back!’

Andrew flew in to Milan on Thursday morning. He was supposed to be back that evening. Milan had other plans. It began to snow.

Now, round about the same time that people were spreading rumors that Canada is blanketed in snow year round and Canadians all live in Igloos and eat whale blubber, someone was also spreading a rumor about Italy. Italy is warm and sunny with billowing palm trees and olive groves and golden beaches. FYI – Canada is warm in summer and Italy is cold in the winter.

So Andrew spent over four hours in a cab last night trying to get to the airport, only to watch his plane leave without him. What was turning out to be the cabby’s best fare ever, was also turning out to be the longest night of Andrew’s life.

He found a hotel and got a few hours sleep. Then he was up at the crack of dawn and back out into the snow. After another harrowing cab ride he arrived at the airport to find it closed.

And there he remains, waiting in the business lounge for the flights to start running again, with nothing but his computer and the clothes on his back. My poor stranded hubby.

So please think happy snow melting thoughts to get Andrew home tonight, so he can escape his nemesis – Milan.

UPDATE: As of 4pm local time, Andrew was back at the Crowne Plaza. His flight and all others were cancelled. The snow continues. He is booked on a flight tomorrow but has little hope of it leaving. He believes he will be stranded in Milan until Sunday… with only a sport coat to protect him from the snow, nothing to read and no clean clothes. He has however, made a friend from Lyon, who is also trying to get home.

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Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. Alison landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about slow and sustainable travel, in Europe and beyond. She loves to discover hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She has visited 45 countries and is currently slow travelling through North America in an RV, with her husband, Andrew, and two well-travelled cats. You can also follow her work on Google+
- 15 hours ago


  1. Comment by Andrew (in Milan)

    Andrew (in Milan) January 27, 2006 at 16:40

    And only dial-up internet access to boot! I haven’t had dialup since the advent of broadband! *whine* Hopefully the snow will stop overnight and they’ll clear the runways… but with like 2 plows I won’t hold my breathe too long.

  2. Comment by Di

    Di January 27, 2006 at 14:29

    ‘Poor Andrew … stuck in Milan’ (wait while I choke with envy and add) ‘stuck in the snow’ … nope, it doesn’t get any easier to say. Tell him to get back to the city and have fun … he could be stuck there for days.
    Poor Alison … Miilan’s a demanding mistress … not that I’d be laughing if my man was stuck there without me. Bloody Milan … there, did I get it right in the end?

  3. Comment by Di

    Di January 27, 2006 at 17:49

    Oh please … I’m so green with envy. Buy a coat and go out and just do things in Italy … I AM SO ENVIOUS.
    Please please please, let us live vicariously through ‘Andrew trapped in Milan’ sob … the only time I was trapped like that was in Fiji for two days … no luggage, no money and fear of credit card use after traveling in America … just before or after one of the coups.
    Milan … wibble wibble from the Kiwi who loves Italy.

  4. Comment by Di

    Di January 27, 2006 at 19:19

    Okay … the situation has been explained to me and I’m truly sorry that Andrew is stranded in the airport hotel area of Milan … that there is no ‘cosy little Italian trattoria’ just round the corner from the hotel he is staying in, and I’m sorry that he doesn’t have a coat, or a book, and that he only has dial-up … things are certainly looking grimmer now I understand the reality of being snowbound in Milan near the airport.

  5. Comment by Helen

    Helen January 27, 2006 at 23:38

    It is hard to imagine the concept of stranded in Milan. However, snow stranding I understand, I just get confused by the word ‘Milan’ in conjunction with ‘snow’.
    However, it should be a lesson to you, snow will follow all Canadians, its some kind of curse. Of course, your Nordic heritage might also have something to do with it.
    Hope you get home soon, or at least stay warm.

  6. Comment by Andrew (in Milan)

    Andrew (in Milan) January 28, 2006 at 14:05

    Well, I’m back at the airport, waiting for yet another flight. This one I’ve been told is ‘open’ and ‘looks like it will be leaving’, but that I should keep my eye on the flight board. Hrm.
    Now, I do understand that Milan is a ‘fashion’ capital, and it seems silly that I’m stranded with only the clothes on my back, but in Milan we had 40cm of snow… and if you’ve ever seen an italian driving in the snow you’d do like I did… stay put. There’s no point in risking your life on those roads just to get into the center where all the stores were closed anyway, because no one could get out of their driveways.
    It was funny at the hotel this morning, because the concierge had only an ice scraper, one small metal shovel, and _half_ of a plastic shovel with which he was tasked to try to dig out the guest’s cars! The poor man looked like he was going to pass out; some cars had snow piled up to the handles between them… and of course the temperature went up and it’s raining slightly, so the snow is heavy and sticky. Ironically, the news says that they didn’t get _any_ snow in the mountains.
    As for the airport, it is a mad chaos. I arrived this morning at 10am to checkin for my flight that is supposed to leave at 12h20. I was 3rd in line at the checkin. Great! And the flight was leaving. Even better! I get to the counter and happily hand over all the various pieces of paper that document my 2 days of misery. I’m told I need to have a physical ticket.
    Me: “A ticket? I’ve never received a physical ticket! I’ve never had a chance to check in! Every bloody flight I’ve tried to get on has been cancelled!”
    Agent: “You’ll have to go to the ticketing counter.”
    Me: “Where is that?”
    Agent: “Over there.” *gestures*
    Me: “That huge bloody line????”
    Agent: “Yes, sorry”
    Me: Arrrrghhhhhh
    So, I go stand in the ticket line. As I said, my flight is at 12h20, and at 12h00 I’m still at least an hour from the ticket counter. People are cutting in line, and there is a lot of screaming in Italian, French, English, Dutch, Hindi, and sign language. At this point I know I’m not going to make the flight, so I call the AlItalia call center… 6 times. Eventually I get someone to answer who was able to change me to the 15h15 flight. *whew*
    Finally, I get to the counter. Excellent!
    Me: “I need a ticket for the 15h15 flight. I’ve rebooked my earlier flight.”
    Agent: “I can’t do that.”
    Me: “uh?”
    Agent: “I’ll print out your original ticket, then you have to go to the checkin to get an updated ticket.”
    Me: “?”
    Agent: “Here you go.”
    Me: “?”
    So, I’m not done yet. I look at the board for the 15h15 flight… check-in area 3 or 4. Ok, off to check-in area 3 or 4. Guess what? AlItalia has *everybody* checking in at 3 and 4… the line up at the checkin makes the ticket counter line look like a dream. There are 36 check-in desks and there have got to be ten thousand people trying to go through those desks. I’m thinking at this point that there is absolutely no way I’m getting through this today.
    I happened to notice on my way to check-in area 3 or 4, that the check-in desks for my 12h20 flight are still open with a small line up. Well. Never hurts to try.
    I went up to the remaining agent at the check-in desks and put on my best “quiet, respectful, pitiful canadian” routine.
    Me: “I’m supposed to be on the 12h20 flight”
    Agent: “It’s gone”
    Me: “I realize that, but I think I’ve been moved to the 15h15 flight”
    Agent: “That’s at check-in 3 and 4”
    Me: *puppy dog eyes*
    Agent: “Do you have baggage?”
    Me: “No, I just want to get home to my family”
    Agent: “Ok, give me a minute and then I’ll check you in”
    YES! *small dance* 15 minutes later I have a ticket! And she says that the flight is ‘open’ and might even leave. Woo! Off to security. Surprisingly, there is no line up at security… apparently they’re all in the line ups at the ticket counter and check-in desks.
    So, now I’m sitting around waiting for my flight and hoping that it will indeed take off. Thanks to everyone for their thoughts and best wishes. Hopefully I’ll be back home sometime today. Unless of course it snows.

  7. Comment by Di

    Di January 28, 2006 at 13:23

    I’m sorry, but on reading Helen’s comment I roared with laughter … so Andrew, what do you have to say in your defense … hmmmm? The Italians only have two snow plows because the Canadian curse rarely lands in their city and, it would seem that you are entirely to blame for the blanket of snow over Italy.
    Moral of the story – Canadians should always pack a winter coat when traveling in winter EVEN if they are only going on a day trip 😉
    I’ll make sure you get nice wine next time we have you to dinner, and I’ll explain in detail why I was so blinded by envy over your Milan trip.

  8. Comment by Di

    Di January 28, 2006 at 17:23

    Ahhh the demand to live vicariously in Italy is met … kill the fatted pig, Alison. Your man is surely coming home!!!

  9. Comment by The American

    The American February 6, 2006 at 14:20

    You know, I missed this drama while I was away. : (
    I will say, that I partially relate to Andrew’s sad story, as I was once stranded in Mexico City due to a huge snow storm in NYC.
    I was all by myself, I had 30 dollars, and foolishly left all of my credit cards at home in an effort to curb spending. What a sad mistake.
    I placed a $75 dollar collect phone call to my parents, they could do nothing for me, they were stuck in the storm, and could not get to the western union.
    So, the prognosis was a 24 hour delay.
    Somehow, my friend knew a guy who lived in Mexico City, and he came and picked me up. I stayed at his grand mother’s house, and ate home cooking.
    BUT the moral of my story is, always travel with a foreign language book, money, a credit card, and a phone book.
    Andrew, I feel your pain. At least you had dial up and were able to blog your up to date Milan status for the masses that were routing for you all over the world : )

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