We woke up early in Barcelona and made our way to the airport to fly to Milan. So we walked to the bus stop, rode the bus to the airport, and flew to Italy. Then we took a bus to the city and rode the metro to our hotel. Lots of travel! Luckily, everything went smoothly.
Our Milan hotel is lovely, and fortunately we were able to check in right away. As soon as we were settled, we went out in search of food. We hadn’t had a proper meal all day and it was already 2pm. We quickly realized that we were too late for food—unbeknownst to us, the Italians were observing a sort of siesta. Or at least regulated times for serving meals. The cafes and bars we passed were only serving drinks. We feared that our first Italian meal was going to be McDonald’s (ugh) until we spotted a cute little “cafeteria.” We entered and asked if they spoke English. Alas, they replied that no, they spoke Italian. Ha! They said it with a bit of humor. That’s when we experienced our first bit of Italian kindness. A random customer who was on his way out offered to translate for us. With his help, we found out that they would allow us to order food, even though it was obvious that it wasn’t meal time. We had chicken Milanesa served with a side of spinach, carrots, roasted potatoes, and fresh bread. The home-cooked meal was just what we needed! After thanking them profusely, we started our adventure.
On our way to the Duomo cathedral, we passed through the shopping district. Boy was I impressed! The street was lined on either side with every shoe and clothing designer you could think of. Not to mention all those “chain” stores we’re used to at home. It was surreal though, to see the Italian places like Armani and Dolce & Gabbana and realize that they were at home here in Italy. We saw one suit ensemble advertised for nearly 2,000 euros. Wowzer!
At the Duomo we paid to walk up the 150 steps to the rooftop. From there we had a beautiful view of the city, as well as an amazing view of the cathedral and its architecture! I do believe that I was able to appreciate the gothic designs far better because I was so much closer to them, rather than squinting at them from below. It was hot in the sun, but that aside, I could have wandered around up there for hours!
We finished the day off with pizza, beer, and a night-cap of limoncello. This is where we experienced our second bit of Italian generosity. The waiter treated us to our limoncellos for free! We had asked about them (ie: when it was appropriate to drink them—after your meal in case you’re curious). We explained that it would be our first taste and that we would definitely order them after our meal. When he brought the check, he pointed out that they were on the house. So cool!
It had started raining just as we were finishing our meal. We hurried back towards our hotel, walking close to the sides of the buildings to try and stay dry. The rain wasn’t coming down too hard, but it was surprisingly cold. Luckily for me, the gelato-place on the corner was still open, and it happened to be the perfect place to hide from the rain. We sat on a bench in front of the shop and savored our treats while B regaled me with tales from his past. What a wonderful day!
Total steps: 15,878
We had already seen everything we wanted yesterday, so today we took our time getting ready in the morning and casually strolled around the city. We visited a public park, walked past the Scala Theater, wandered through the Sforsesco Castle and tried our best to hide in the shade. We had pasta for lunch at a cafe and dinner again at the same place we ate the night before. Our favorite waiter was there again, and like before, treated us like royalty. If you're ever in Milan, visit the Olimpico Bar! We again visited the dessert shop on the corner, but this time we shared a cannoli. Mmmm! Tomorrow morning we'll be up bright and early to catch a train to Florence.
Total steps: 14,610