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Published: August 8th 2016
-Milano, Tuesday 19th - Friday 22nd July
Ciao! From the waters of the Greek islands and white and blue cliff houses, to the city of fashion, well dressed men, and pizza! Milano welcomed us on a sunny Tuesday morning
with 36 degree heat and rich, modern buildings. The city has the third largest economy in the EU, after Paris and Berlin, and is the first largest for a non-capital City. This is majorly portrayed through the architecture, the public spaces, the clothing, the sculptures, the cars, and especially the places 'to be', or more so 'to be seen'. One of the first things I noticed stepping onto the street was the high-end shops and the extremely well dressed people - everyone was so proper and smart, and moving 'with a purpose'. Milan is a very walkable city, with everything quite close together, and it also has a great transport system with trams running all over town, the metro, buses and also public bikes to hire with docking stations everywhere. This made it so easy for us to get around and see more of the rich, intriguing city.
We dropped our bags off at our airbnb and took the tram
into town, passing many parks and fancy streets. We turned the corner just before our stop and looked out the window, seeing for the first time the Duomo de Milano, which felt like music to the ears it was so mesmerising. This amazing feature of Milan is so grand and embracing, it pulls you in, making you want to see more and more of the intricate detail. It's a beautiful piece of artwork and a truly spectacular cathedral - inside and out. After gazing like stunned children for a while, we found a pizzeria where we had delicious, enormous REAL Italian pizza 😊 which was the best pizza we'd had since Roma.
The afternoon was filled with wandering, and taking in our surroundings. We spent a couple of hours at two different parks/ gardens which was lovely, just relaxing in the shade for a bit as we were pretty exhausted from the last two weeks. The public parks in Italy are great, they have lots of little lakes, sculptures, gelato and beer stalls (all you need on a hot day), and water fountains for drinking. The water fountains aren't just usual water fountains, they are very old fashioned,
sculpted into an animal (usually a lion) with a stream of water constantly running out of its mouth where you can fill up your water bottle, and where a lot of homeless people clean themselves. I think it's a really great feature in the city.
We began our second day at Sforzer castle (Castello Sforzesco) which is located in a park near our airbnb. The castle was built from 1360-1499 and housed the Visconti Lords. Entering the grounds to the castle is really fascinating and beautiful as the place is massive and it just seems to continue on in all directions with really impressive architecture, as well as a mote surrounding it. It is now used as a gallery for Michelangelo, and a museum. We spent a couple of hours here touring around using our audio guides which was a great way to learn more about the castle and its history.
We then walked into town and went to the Duomo where we had to line up for 40 minutes in the 35 degree heat to get tickets as it was very busy due to summer holidays. When we finally entered the doors to the cathedral we were
both blown away by its vast size and beautiful decorative features. The inside looks much bigger and taller than you'd expect from the outside. We always love the stained glass in cathedrals and each cathedral is always so different in terms of the colours, patterns and picture they recreate. It stood out so much in the Duomo as the inside stone was quite a dull, weathered colour as it is so old, but the glass reflected its colour through the whole cathedral. We had also bought tickets to climb up the stairs of one of the towers of the Duomo and onto the roof. This was amazing as you could see all the intricate detail of the gothic sculptures which cover the entire cathedral. The outside is all white, which was very bright and glarey on the sunny day we went. We also couldn't stay up there very long because it was about ten times hotter up the top than on the ground, feeling like 50 degrees and we had just run out of water!
Once on the ground and in a less exhausting heat we skulled a couple of bottles of water and got some gelato and beer
in an air conditioned cafe to cool off. We then went to an art gallery just near the Duomo where an exhibition of Esher was being held. Esher did some really fascinating and intricate works which really make you consider what his thoughts were and what the meaning behind the art work really was. We learnt he was a genius and also severely depressed and I think this was shown through his drawings. We thoroughly enjoyed this exhibition as it had an audio guide to explain more about his works which was really helpful and interesting.
Our airbnb host Elena suggest us to go to an area in town called Niliggi which has great bars and restaurants. So we headed out that way and found a really cool bar hidden away, which was quite hip and alternative, with a great vibe. There were heaps of people there, all dressed really well (as opposed to us in travelling clothes), and the music was great. The drinks were quite expensive but when a bartender came around to everyone saying the free buffet is ready so help yourself, we realised why the drinks were a bit more pricey! They do a free
buffet everyday from 5.30 which is such a great idea, there were so many people there because who doesn't want free food, but all these people were also buying lots of drinks, so win win for everyone! The buffet food was actually delicious, all tapas type food with bruschetta, dough balls, grilled peppers, barley salads and lots more. We stayed here for a bit but decided not to have dinner there as we wanted to check out another place too. We found a restaurant down the road which had a great outdoor area and had beer pong tables which we hit up after dinner - I won! 😉 .. it was a really fun night!
The following day and our last day in Milan we had a very chilled day. We went to the Duomo museum and chapel which had a lot of original sculptures from when the Duomo was first built, and a lot of original artworks too. We had a lovely lunch at a small cafe we found after wandering around a bit, and then headed out to our hotel near the airport later in the afternoon to have an early night and plan the rest
of our travels. Our flight out to London was very early the next morning - matt then went on to Edinburgh to spend the weekend with Dingo and I stayed in London to spend the weekend with Jamie - who I had not seen in over a year. Ciao Milano, 'ello London!
It was really cool spending the weekend in London as a tourist as I got to experience it very differently to how I did when we were living there last year. It was great spending time with Jamie and Felicity visiting many different parts of town, having coffee in Camden, pub lunch with Devon in Kensington, attending a lovely London flat bbq out east and eating some delicious street food in Shoreditch.
An early 3am
start on the Monday to get out to the airport and fly to Barcelona to meet Matt for an exciting three days in España 😊
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