We circled the area a few times, hoping the police had decided they were no longer interested in whatever shady character the man in the torn coat and sunglasses might have been. We decided he was an international drug lord / pimp and carried on. Who even wears sunglasses at night? It’s not 1980 anymore.
‘Oh shit’. The lid was lifted out of the hole revealing some stairs which led into the darkness. our local friends spoke in concerning sounding and hurried Italian. ‘There’s a sensor on this gate. We never saw it before’. It certainly didn’t look new, and we agreed that since they had been here before with little consequence we should continue on and not worry too much about anybody coming to greet us on our way out. As we made our way down the stairs, lifting the door back into place behind us I wondered what could even be in the hole in the first place which would make someone put an alarm sensor on the entrance. The Italians had not hidden the facts, this was an uninteresting empty cavern just under the streets that we were visiting to both kill time and just to see this interesting little corner of the city.
They weren’t wrong. It was fairly boring. Aside from being interesting to see, and making us question what the fuck it even was, there wasn’t much on offer here. We had come to Milan primarily with the idea of traversing some of the cities incredible looking and decorative drains and sewer systems, and this was something to see while we were wating for the road we needed to quiet down. I found a staircase which led downwards in a corner. I assumed they led to a lower level which would be similar, and so I shouted over and asked the locals. They stared back perplexed. They hadn’t seen it before on any previous visits.
As we walked down we were greeted with the sight of tracks – that explained why there was a sensor on the entrance to a boring empty space. Instead of worrying about the police, who would undoubtedly be in the tunnels and at the entrance by now had they been alerted to our presence we pressed ahead and found a cool junction and started to walk. After about 10 minutes of walking we came to a station and approached with caution. Being in the tunnels is once thing, and has it’s risks but stations are often a different animal. I’d years later toss that sort of caution aside and plow through multiple stations in a night in Barcelona, but in the early days of my forays into metro systems caution was king.
We stood by the entrance to the station silently listening for any movement which would signal that we’d been spotted. ‘I work here!’ one of our crew whispered, laughing. He didn’t even care about the consequences of being caught in his place of employment. Perhaps he’d have been our green card out of there. After some time stood around and waiting for something bad to happen we decided that nobody was watching and sat on the platform to have a smoke. I ventured over to the vending machine on the platform and got myself a coke and a twix and we sat back down chatting and smoking.
Maybe it was compounded repeats of this sort of behavior in other metro systems throughout Europe coupled with regular behavior that would make my mum scorn in my home city that gave me the confidence to take the photos you can see on this site. Whatever it was, I can’t help but sit and laugh when I think about the places I’ve fallen asleep, had lunch or got drunk under the city. It certainly beats wasting my money chasing empty women and drinking until I puke in nightclubs and bars on the surface.