We leave on a warm, clear day from Verona to Milan …….. the train is “general” class – not first, second or third …… so we are travelling on a “no” class train …… two hours, 10 stops, no air except what comes in from the window I opened. Kinda like fast bus on tracks … oh, and no toilet.
Don’t get me wrong, we enjoyed trip ….. seeing new places and people ….. it’s just that the heat tends to make me sleepy, missing some of the sights. Same, more so for Gerda.
Well, after all that, we arrived 10 minutes late in Milan. It took a while to figure out where we catch the taxi ….. not exactly intuitive, but travelling adventures are never about logic or being intuitive.
This taxi ride had to be the cheapest and fastest we’ve taken ….. the driver wasn’t stopping for anything …. at least not for people.
When we were safely in our room at Hotel Cavour, we tried to orient ourselves to the maps and our first stop for Day 2. A little more complicated than past cities we’ve visited.
First stop was Castello Sforzesco, where we start our HoHo (Hop-on-Hop-off) bus tours …. there are three included with a told of 36 site stops. One of the quickest ways to find the location of attractions you want to visit. We’ll take the Red tour, then switch to the Blue tour and finally take the Green tour. Each goes to a different part of the city with three stops overlapping, so you don’t have to go to the start point after each tour.
After we oriented ourselves, it became easy to find our way around …… so we located the nearest restaurant with outdoor seating and had a good meal of seafood paella.
We briefly talked with a Canadian couple, sitting behind us, from Edmonton …. they were a part of a tour in Milan for four days. We had CFL as a commonality … they liked the Eskimos and we liked the Riders. Then our food came, so no more conversation and they were gone.
Prior to our meal, as we waited, we had a lot of interaction with Abdul Karem Jabbar ….. no, not Kareem Abdul Jabbar …… this Jabbar was our very funny waiter. He and Gerda hit it off great. See, he doesn’t look anything like Abdul …….. too short! That was the end of Day 1
Incidentally, the TV won’t turn off with the remote, so I had to unplug it …. I’ll let the front desk deal with it on Thursday – Day 2.
Source Milan – Day 2
HoHo day …… the first bus a couple of minutes late, but to be expected with the traffic. As you can see from the following video …. it’s narrow, tight and constant.
So it was a kindofa dull, overcast day ….. good for bus rides …. we catch the Red line starting (of course) from Castello Sforzesco, going past S. Marie delle Grazie (Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of the “Last Supper”), continuing to the Duomo, then past the Fashion district to stop #8 where we got off to walk to stop #3 for the Blue line.
After the Blue line ride, we have a short side trip to the hotel for warmer clothes and then a drink …. back to catch the longest line – the Green line. (As an aside, each circuit of each bus line is called … a race ….. it took us a while to figure what they meant.) Well …. not 10 minutes into the race, and it pours … torrential rain. If you ever rode a HoHo bus you’ll understand our deliemma – the upper level is only partially covered and the bottom level is crowded with people who moved down.
Standing room only …… so the bus races around the (race?) circuit and we get off at the final stop, fortunately the rain turned to just a light drizzle.
Of all the stops, two stand out the most, the Duomo and the Fashion district. So we’re on for a tour of the Duomo and then a walk though the Fashion district on Friday, day 3 of Milan.
Incidentally the TV works properly (it apparently always did) now that the maintenance staff replaced the batteries in the remote.
This statue looks cute to me. Looks like Brian’s butt! I know TMI, but we can enjoy!!
Milan – Day 3
Again – cloudy and overcast ….. off to get tickets for the Duomo. Once we have them, it’s line up time to take the bus to the cathedral.
It takes 15 minutes to get there ….. as we pile off, there’s a wedding photo-shoot going on in the piazza. They seem to pop up anywhere and any time of day. Stunning bride and a fabulous place for a backdrop, if you’re into people gawking and acting like paparazzi (me included).
The bride knew how to play the crowd and strut her stuff ….. and what about those pigeons? …… they play to the crowds too …. for crumbs!
Backdrop for brides, pigeons and people
Our journey today, go to the top of Duomo to see the refurbishment of the cathedral …. 215 ft (66 m) high. The lift (elevator) is on the back (left side) of the cathedral …. accessed through security. The corral line up was 15 minutes for us, followed by a wand search. Remember to keep your ticket to be able to exit when you are finished the tour. The lift ride up holds approximately 10 people. The walkways on the roof are narrow, tight and at times dark.
The security and inconvenience of small spaces is well worth the wait.
Access to lower roof:
Access to the peak of the Duomo roof:
After the roof top tour, we had planned to look inside the Duomo; however when we went to the entrance, the line was backed up through the whole correl que …. they said it was the longest lineup of the year. We didn’t want to wait for the 2-3 hours for entry, so we moved on ……
Gerda went in search of more “game” …… as usual it became another ‘catch and release’ exercise ……. however, she was more successful, about an hour later after we had a lunch not far from the Duomo. There was some catch of the day …. at this rate, we’ll need two new luggage to bring all her catch home.
After lunch and Gerda’s successful shopping foray, we decided to walk back to the hotel. I thought we were about 10 blocks away ….. when I asked the waiter …. wow, was I wrong on the direction. Yes it was about 10 blocks, however I had us starting from six blocks in the wrong direction!
As mentioned earlier, it took us 15 minutes on the bus to get to the Duomo ….. well, it took us 12 minutes to walk back to th starting point. By the time we got to the hotel it was almost 5:00pm. We rested for a while and then headed out for dinner …. and it was raining.
We quickly chose a restaurant and after some waffling decided to eat inside, rather than outside.
Our server, Luca, provided great service with humor. He was serving multiple tables, trying to juggle everyone’s needs. Gerda ordered the chicken meal (yes it was a full chicken – she didn’t know), Brian ordered the pasta lobster meal and a bottle of Amarone wine …… yes, the same wine we had sampled in our Verona wine tour.
The restaurant, Hosteria della Musica (2 Brera, 20121 Milano, Italy) has background music that we just love ….. it sounds like “Dotsero” from Denver, Colorado. They also have a program of live music …… starting next week (September 18) unfortunately we’ll be gone.
A few sidenote (why call them “sidenotes” when they are at the bottom?) ……. the room was okay, by far the cheapest todate ….. there were some great features, some quirky and one that was puzzling & uncomfortable.
Great …… 1. the safe is built into the wall – little chance someone will steal it …. 2. the windows are huge allowing for lots of light and air. 3. there’s lots of storage (although somewhat hidden)
Quirky ….. 1. the electricity is controlled by a metal tab attached to the room key – nothing works until you slide it in ….. 2. the TV remote turns on by pressing #1 (no instructions) …. 3. the elevator only goes to the main floor if you press “T”
Puzzling …… the toilet is right behind the bathroom door – watch for pinched feet
An interesting observation in the Fashion area beside the Duomo, 180 degrees apart are big concrete barrier blocks:
North – protecting the high end stores, they are painted gold ……
In the other direction they are bare, unpainted concrete barriers protecting the entry to …… McDonalds!
The “Ying” & “Yang” of class.
…..…. moved on already to Lucerne …..…..