It all started with a spontaneous e-mail with my resume to TAP Air Portugal in November 2016 and a year and a half later here I am, on my first layover with the company. After going to Geneva and returning to Lisbon, we landed at Milan Malpensa airport, the first time I also did three flights in one day. Due to some traffic in the European airspace, we arrived at the hotel, in the small village of Somma Lombardo, it was almost two in the morning.
After a proper rest and a nice breakfast, I and a fellow crew member left the hotel in the direction of the train station, not worring about the train schedule because the receptionist had told us that a train was departing to Milan, still forty minutes away, every 20 minutes . When we were about to arrive at the station, a train passed, so we soon realized that we were going to have to wait for the next few minutes. We went very confident to the station bar to buy ticket and that’s when the lady who works there gives us the beautiful news that there are only trains every hour, except on Sundays that is one every two hours… it was Sunday…
We had decided that we were going to Milan because the weather forecast was of rain and thunderstorm. For Tatiana, my colleague, it would be the first time in this city, I had thought of going to Lake Maggiore, Stresa and its Borromean Islands. The sky showed no signs of rain so early, and it was hot. There were then two hours left for the train to Milan and one to the train to the lakes. There was also the possibility of going to the next train station, 10km away, where there would be more trains, but at that little end of the world, there were no taxis … We decided to take a risk and go to the lake, not to Stresa, but to Arona, closer.
While we waited in the station there came a gentleman asking if we still wanted to go to the town with the larger station. I told him we had already bought the tickets for the lake. And then he asks us how old we were. “Ah, my friend told me that we would only take you if you were of age” loool
After half an hour of delay and meeting an Irish old couple who waited for the same train, we headed down to Arona, just 25 minutes away from Somma Lombardo. The lake was just a few meters from the station and because it was Sunday, there were many families outside, many children and a huge number of dogs!
Arona is a typical Italian village with the unmistakable architecture of Italy, the warm colors, the stone, and in this case the beautiful lake, Angera on the other bank and the Alps in the background. We walked along the lake when we identified Via Cavour, the pedestrian zone, covered by colorful umbrellas. We fell in love with Piazza del Popolo, a square open to the lake, which reminded us a little of the Terreiro do Paço in Lisbon, although much smaller and “in Italian”. We had lunch there at super acceptable prices and then had an ice cream at Corso Guglielmo Marconi, the city waterfront.
We returned to Somma just in time to escape the expected rain and so it ended my first layover with TAP, early, because the dawn was at 3:40am to bring passengers to Lisbon at 6am.