Our first stop when we arrived in Italy was Milan.
The train station in Milan is absolutely beautiful.
Getting around Milan is not too bad. There are public transit options such as the subway or bus, and there are also taxis. We took the subway to the neighborhood where the hotel was located and walked the rest of the way.
I will say that the amount of walking we did with luggage was only made possible by the fact that we traveled carry-on only for this trip. I wore an Osprey Farpoint 80 and highly recommend it for any type of trip. It holds a TON of stuff and an outside pack zips away for easy under-the-seat storage for your essentials on planes and trains.
We stayed in the Milan Suite Hotel. It is not centrally located, but there is a bus stop right next to the hotel that will have you in the city center in <20 minutes. As someone who travels quite a bit, I am much more likely to save money on my accommodation by staying somewhere farther away and using public transit. You rarely spend time in your hotel in big cities, anyway, so staying somewhere that is 10 minutes away by transit is an easy way to ensure more money for things like gelato and wine.
We arrived in the city center and saw our first duomo (cathedral) of the trip. There were people everywhere because the duomo and the Galleria shopping area are huge tourist attractions in Milan.
We both found store we liked – books for me and the Ruggeri clothing store for Brock.
And of course, the first thing we ate in Italy was gelato from the little shop at the entrance to the Galleria.
The line for this gelato stand is VERY long. You need to walk up, order, pay, and then KEEP the receipt in order to get your gelato. Make sure you stand in the correct line! There were a couple of people who did not know they needed a ticket to get their gelato and they had to get out of line and start over.
The gelato looked like flowers on top of the cone, and of course, I got a macron (mah-kron) for mine because they are one of my favorite desserts. Brock’s gelato did not last long enough for me to get a pretty photo…
After eating our pre-dinner gelato, Brock and I went to dinner at L’Immagine Bistrot, a cute restaurant down the street from our hotel. We wanted to eat before going to watch the Juventus/Milan match at a nearby pub.
The lasagna was the best I ever tasted. I probably will never be able to recreate it.
The gnocchi was good, but I was not a fan of the sauce. It was more like gravy, in the traditional northern Italian style.
At the end of our meal, the server brought out this set of things. We had seen them at other tables, and figured it was extra. Turns out, it was complimentary with the meal. When she set it all down, Brock looked at me like, “Okay international traveler person, time to tell me what’s going on here.”
I knew that limoncello was the stereotypical after-dinner drink for Italian meals, but the liquid in the carafe was not the right color. Limoncello is typically quite yellow, and this was definitely orange. I poured us each small shot in the glass provided, we toasted, and drank it down in one gulp.
Have you ever tasted cantaloupe? Or any other type of melon? This tasted like liquid melon.
It was “melon-cello.”
Did I mention I dislike the taste of cantaloupe? I try them every summer to see if my taste buds are different. This year, I do not need to do that. I still don’t like them.
Naturally, we both made funny faces and tried to conceal our mutual distaste for the flavor, but it was still hilarious. The German couple next to us did not watch what we did, so when they both tried it, I had to stifle a giggle.
After finishing dinner, we took the bus down to a pub to watch the rest of the football (soccer) match. It was PACKED. Most of them were Juventus fans, and between my broken Italian, a bit of English, and Brock’s love of soccer, we had a wonderful time.
The guys in the pub took to Brock immediately when he said, “Forza Juve” which is part of the team chant. And when I explained to everyone that he used to play soccer in the U.S., the immediately started offering for us to join them at the next match.
So not only did we have the tourist experience in Milan, we also spent time among locals and really enjoyed ourselves. No matter where you are in Italy, I highly recommend taking in a football match either at the pub or if you can afford it, in the stadium.
The next post will have a TON of pictures and will likely be split into multiple parts because it’s all about Lake Como.