I just got back from a four-day trip to Milan in Italy with friends. Milan is a city mainly for shopping. There’s really nothing much to see or do other than check out the shops, eat delicious Italian dishes, people-watch, and swipe your Visa card to the max. Fusing food and fashion for four days wasn’t too shabby so I couldn’t complain. Me and my friends were happy campers here.
Hail, hail, the gang’s all here! Four pairs of itchy feet again at last.
Peekaboo. There’s Floe and me on Jane’s sunnies as well as the view of Piazza della Scala.
Travelling is more fun because of these pretty three. This is our third time going abroad together. First was Paris followed by Amsterdam. Where to next?
Shopping in Milan is insane! There are blocks, streets, kilometers of shops all over the city. This street called Corso Vittorio Emmanuel II leading to the Duomo is home to both high-end and affordable clothing brands.
Quadrilatero della Moda is probably what makes Milan the fashion capital of the world. This massive area offers haute couture, designer bags and shoes, and just everything that spells E.X.P.E.N.S.I.V.E. Some shops here don’t even bother to put price tags on items for sale because it is expected that once you come to buy, you must be loaded enough not to care so much about the price.
If you don’t want to burn some hard-earned cash, you can still enjoy this place like we did. Grab a gelato and walk through these streets to window-shop and people-watch.
Dresses, gladiator sandals, tattered shorts, layered accessories, and yes, sunnies. These are your basic must-haves especially in Italy where the sun is relentless in summer. Forget about what’s in and just wear what’s comfortable. Fashion only works when you don’t look constipated in your clothes.
Do eat at Ristorante Pane e Tulipane. It’s near the Central Bus/Train Station just a few blocks away from the fashion district. Floe and I ate there twice, thrice for Lillian and Jane. We were very satisfied with the food and service. Just remember to ask how big your food is because there were four ladies I know who went there starving and didn’t listen when the waiter tried to tell them to just order two dishes to share. Turned out the dishes they insisted on getting were humongous and these ladies ended up stuffed up to their throats.
If you eat ice cream or order coffee at Cafe Dell’ Opera near La Scala, be warned that your bill will come with an ambiance fee and a service charge which is quite a rip off since the ambiance was more expensive than my caffè macchiato. *Cue Erap yelling at the waiter “Ambiance? I did not order ambiance!”
I have eaten the worst spaghetti here in Milan, at Ristorante Papa Francesco very near the Duomo. It was soggy, if you can believe it. In Italy, it’s criminal to overcook your pasta so I wonder if the cook was experiencing a bad break up or nursing a bad hangover that time. Sigh. Fifteen euros down the drain. I should have turned down the serving and ordered something else.
Do buy a gelato from Grom even if you have to queue up for several minutes. You won’t be sorry, trust me.
Facing the Duomo, to your left on top of “Motta” signage is Autogrill. For about €12 you can already have a delicious dinner of baked salmon with potatoes, fresh fruits and vegetables and a bottle of water. This comes with a view of the piazza. Not bad.
Italy is a country where I love watching and listening to the locals. They are well-dressed and smell so fresh, like they just stepped out of a shower. When they talk, they sound so passionate and my, how they love their gelato like the girl below.
The glass and iron dome of Galleria Vittorio Emanuel II. This gallery is timeless in its beauty and elegance.
On the floor in the center of this gallery is a painted bull, also the symbol of Milan. Legend says that if you step and turn your heel around on the bull’s balls, you’ll be guaranteed a year of good luck. Did I say bull twice? Make it thrice then. 🙂
Following the street outside the gallery will lead you back to the very busy Corso Vittorio Emanuel II where people eat, shop, dance, earn a living, and everything else at the same time.
In the heart of Milan stands the Duomo. Tourists and pigeons flock here day in and out.
Top to bottom:
- The Duomo in its glory.
- The square facing the Cathedral.
- Newlyweds getting photographed.
- People queuing to go inside the cathedral. (Take note that you’re required to dress appropriately for going inside – no sleeveless, legs should be covered. If wearing a dress, it should be below the knees).
- Floe next to a huge billboard. I love this photo. I don’t know why but it reminds me of Breakfast at Tiffany’s era.
- The spires and pinnacles of the Duomo.
- Sightseeing can be done the fastest way through Hop off/Hop on buses. Tickets are for €25/ 48 hours.
- Tickets for “The Last Supper” are available at the HoHo buses only on Wednesdays and Fridays.
- Climbing the top of the Duomo can be done either through the lift for €12/ person or taking the stairs for €7. We took the lift but if you’re used to doing a lot of cardio, better take the stairs. It’s not a long climb, only about 2-3 floors. Saves you €5 plus you burn unwanted calories from yummy Italian pizza or pasta.
- Hotel Stazione gives me mixed feelings. Pros: right in the center, cheaper than other accommodations in the area, clean and helpful staff. Cons: breakfast is meh, no coffee/tea maker in the room, and nobody knows what’s on top of Room 209, why it’s too noisy from 6am up.
- Shuttle ride from Malpensa airport to Milan Central Station and back is for €16.
- Milan is for shopping and nothing much in between. If you want to commune with nature, take the train to Lake Como, which we did, for about €10 round trip.
I wonder where these feet will take us next. I’m sure it will be fun again wherever it will be. So here’s to Milan for giving us a wonderful experience and here’s to the joy of travelling with friends. Cheers!