Thursday, February 19, 2015

#391 Milan

We left for Milan September 19.  I don’t remember ever having that little legroom on a plane!  It was so uncomfortable.  I also had some kind of box under the seat in front of me that took up valuable foot space.  Luckily I sat on the aisle so could stretch one leg out.  Not a fun trip.  In case you're wondering, the flight was eight hours.  

We arrived at the Milan Grand Central Station around 8 a.m. September 20, and after asking around we finally found the Hotel Gonzaga.  We dropped off our luggage and took a subway to the center of town.  As we emerged from the subway, there in front of us was the massive Duomo.  My mouth dropped open.  What a first sight to see emerging from below the street! 

We walked around the piazza and had pizza and gelato for lunch.  We soon became accustomed to the people selling bracelets and bird seed around the piazza.  One man came up to Julie, took her hand, and put bird seed in it.  Here came the pigeons!  (She was NOT happy.)  Then he wanted his money for the photo.  Be careful!  

Around 2 p.m. we headed back to the hotel to get our bags and check in.  We had not slept since the day before (I may have dozed off on the plane but not for long).  We unpacked and rested for a short time, then headed back out for dinner.  We snagged a table at the Café Duomo, right across the street from the Duomo.  A fabulous dinner view!  I had bruschetta and risotto.  They do not bring you your bill – you have to ask for it.  They are more about the leisurely dinner.  We did enjoy sitting there and watching the Milan evening go by. 

We got back to the room around 8:30 p.m. and went straight to bed.  Even with the long trip and time difference, I actually didn’t feel too bad.  I was ready for some sleep though.  Our hotel was clean and comfortable, but our room was right next to the front desk and eating area.  Julie didn’t sleep well because the front desk TV was on all night.  I bring an eye mask and earplugs when I travel, so I didn’t hear it.  Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.  We are in Italy! 

The next morning we ate breakfast at the hotel (the best spread of our trip).  Lots of pastries, ham, cheese, fruit, hard-boiled eggs, juice.  Yum!  We took the subway again to the town center and found the travel agency for our tour of Milan.  When I went online to buy Last Supper, they were sold out.  Luckily I found a tour that included the Last Supper.  The tour guide was very good and I enjoyed hearing more about the city.  We hit the Castillo Sforzesco (a castle) and the Teatro alla Scalla (world-renowned opera house).  

Teatro alla Scalla

We walked through the Galleria with many high-end shops (PradaYSLVersace).  In the center of the Galleria is a mosaic of Torino's bull.  You are supposed to put your heel on the bull's testicles (there is an indent in the tile) and spin around three times for good luck.  When in Milan...

Our next stop was the Duomo.  We were given 20 minutes inside the Duomo.  With it being Sunday, there was a service going on so we had to be quiet, but it was cool to see it “in action.”  

Our last stop with the group was to see the Last Supper.  You are only in there 15 minutes.  No photos are allowed, so I took one of the print in the hallway.  It is unbelievable!  We looked at it close up and far away.  Again, very interesting to hear all the information from the tour guide.  Julie and I kept looking at each other saying, “This is the Last Supper!”  “We are in Italy!” 

Last Supper print

After lunch we walked up tons of stairs to the Duomo roof.  As Julie said, “This is a lawsuit waiting to happen.”  It’s fairly open and not much restriction. 

We walked back to the castle to see the La Pieta Rondanini – Mary with the dead Jesus.  This was Michelangelo’s last sculpture before he died. 

After this we walked a ways to see the Arch de Triumph of Italy. 

Lots of walking today!  Julie’s fit bit said we walked 27,558 steps.  (Yesterday was 20,000.)  We were on the go from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

We met a mom and daughter on the tour today from Australia.  They were on a five-week trip to London and Italy.  They saved their money for four years!  The daughter works at a hospital and took unpaid leave for this trip.  How special for them! 

Another fun part of our time in Milan was that it was Fashion Week.  We saw lots of model-type girls strutting around.  One street had some red carpets and some other things going on.  While in the fashion capital of the world I felt very unfashionable.  EVERYONE wore skinny jeans.  Even the kids!  Wait – I did see one woman in flared jeans (besides me) but everyone else wore skinny jeans.  And cuffed skinny jeans. 

As I mentioned in my previous post, I try hard to not look like a tourist when I travel.  But when you travel such a long way, you kind of have to look like a tourist.  You can’t bring everything.  You can’t bring your favorite bag.  There’s no room for the riding boots.  You have to be practical.  It was difficult for me to not wear my best in this city, but I soon got over it

When planning the trip I didn’t have a big desire to go to Milan, other than maybe flying in.  Julie wanted to go so I agreed.  I am very glad we saw it.  I don’t need to go back, but we saw some cool things, most importantly, the Last Supper. 

On to Venice! 


  1. Exhaustive and interesting report. As Milanese I'm happy you enjoyed my city, even you missed the Navigli area and the Brera district. Sorry for the inconveniences you went through. Good pics too. Arrivederci!


  2. I'm 6'10" and felt even more out of place in Italy than in the States as I found the people there to be shorter than at home and yes even more staring. Did you?

    1. I didn't really feel that out of place. Or that the natives seemed shorter. Maybe I was just in awe of being there that I didn't notice. I do find that in other countries I don't get the attention that I do in the States.