Europe, Italy, Travel

Groupon-ing: A Disaster Story.

Ok, so I was obviously on a suicide streak when I decided to plan weekends in Switzerland, Rome, and two Groupon trips back-to-back-to-back. This weekend I ran into a few difficulties, and that’s putting it lightly. Before I tell you how amazing my overall weekend was I would like to dwell on the (now funny) bumps in the road.

So, I bought two Groupons: Saturday I was going to a Christmas Market in Bolzano for €29 and Sunday I was going to the Treno Rosso Bernina Line for €59. Both Groupons left from the Lampugnano bus/metro station in Milan so I decided to save myself some hassle (HA!) and money (HA!) from traveling back and forth from Novara and get a cheap hostel near the station.

Friday: I arrived in Milan around 7 pm I printed out directions from the hostel’s website on how to get there because it was far from Milano Central (the main train station).  I bought a €1.50 metro ticket to the stop where I could take the bus directly to the hostel. I got to the stop to find out the bus line had been moved for that week for some festival, ok, I got back on the metro and went to the new bus stop.

I sit and wait. And wait. And wait. After 40 minutes I gave up. (I later found out there was a temporary strike). Called the hostel, no answer. Tried again, no answer. Ok, well my only option now was to go by foot, not too happy about that since I was a good 40 minutes away from the hostel but I had printed directions. I could do this.

Bought another metro ticket €1.50 (keep track of all these amounts, it will add up) to go a few stops closer to the hostel. I walked out of the underground stop and there was no one around and no lights. Eventually I saw a lady, she walked closer to me and I quickly realized she was not someone I wanted to talk to, especially at night alone, if you catch my drift. I was desperately trying to find a street sign so I could get my butt out of there but of course there weren’t any. I saw a young couple and nearly ran up to them for help, they had no idea how to help me but were shocked at where I was trying to get to…great. They helped me find another couple with a car that lived in the area. This couple said that there is no way I could walk it, it was not safe, and they lived right by and offered me a drive. I said yes, anything to leave that area.

I arrived safe and sound to my hostel. To my surprise, it was open. I was worried from all the unanswered calls I had been making that they didn’t exist. I told the front desk my idea of either taking the bus or walking to Lampugnano the next morning, he said no way. The only sane way was via taxi. Ughhhh expensive! He said it was less than 7 minutes away so it shouldn’t be too much money. I asked him to make a reservation for 6 am Saturday morning since my Groupon bus tour left at 6:30 am. Done.

Saturday: I was up at 5 am and waiting downstairs on the curb with another hostel-mate who was accompanying me to the station, he’s going to take the metro to Milano Centrale. 6:10 came, no taxi. We called up to the hostel and a very sleepy guy answered and we asked him to call another one. 6:20am…nothing. We called him again, I was very angry at this time. He said the taxi guy called and said no one was there when he stopped. Lies. I was standing there freezing. We asked him to call again; the taxi arrived at 6:30. At this point, I knew my bus trip was a lost cause but I already bought a museum ticket for Bolzano so I decided to take the taxi to the Milano Centrale. We split the taxi, so it only cost me €7; at the station I bought a train ticket to Bolzano for €33. I will tell you the awesomeness of Bolzano later. Leaving Bolzano, I was able to get in contact with the bus tour and went back to Milan with them but I misunderstood her directions about where the bus was leaving from and they almost left me, again. I ran. Back in Milan I had to call another taxi, this one cost me €16.

Sunday. Happy to report I made it everywhere on time, but my taxi cost me €20. To put all this money in perspective for you, a one way ticket from Milano Centrale to Novara cost €5.30. I could have gone back and forth 8 times…

Needless to say, the “money-saving” Groupon weekend was a bust.

P.S. On top of all this the hostel smelled like feet, I forgot to pack pants or pjs and the leggings I was wearing I found to have a good-sized hole, and the shower was gross so I didn’t shower all weekend.



  1. This is hilarious…in a scary, that-could’ve-gone-much-worse type of way. I am glad you got through the weekend safely. I’ve heard a lot of groupon horror stories, especially travel destination ones so I always steer clear. Better to spend a few bucks more and not be worried about all the hassles.

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