Sunday, October 2, 2016

Viva Italia! Our Italian Trip - Milan

We had an amazing time in Italy, and this trip, while a bit of a whirlwind, showed us how much there was to love and enjoy about Europe.

I flew from Hong Kong to Frankfurt in possibly the biggest plane I have ever been on - a full double decker!  The Frankfurt airport smelled predictably like sausages and schnitzel.  From there, I took a quick flight to Milan.

Michael and I met in Milan for one day, then headed to Lake Como (only a one hour drive from Milan).  Fortuitously, we were in Milan for one of the biggest fashion events of the year, Milan Fashion Week.  Not knowing this while I was at the airport, I kept gawking at the impossibly skinny, fashionable young women tripping through the arrivals hall in their towering heels, skinny jeans, cool graphic tops, and cropped leather jackets.

From the airport I took a shuttle to the Milan train station, and then from there took the subway a few stops to the airbnb apartment I had rented for one night.  This is the train station.

When I emerged from the underground, I emerged blindingly to this sight: the Duomo.  It was a pretty spectacular welcome to Milan.
From there, I walked a few blocks to the apartment.  
The trams in Milan are delightful, but they share the same road as the cars, the people, the cyclists and the scooters.  This is a very, very stressful city for driving.  Michael thinks he is a very good driver and has driven all over the world in the likes of Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Thailand, South Africa... and while I thought Milan was definitely the #1 most confusing, stressful and frustrating place to drive, he claims it wasn't that bad.  Whatever.
This is the lane we stayed on, just off of a main artery in the heart of the Milan city center.
This is the apartment we stayed in.
This is the courtyard for the apartment.  Beautiful, right?  This was a good airbnb experience.
This is the lane on which I had lunch.
I went to a cute little cafe right next to the apartment.  It was cozy and hip and reminded me of an establishment one would find in the East Village or Brooklyn.  I took a seat directly facing a bright courtyard.
I ordered a huge salad, filled to the brim with fresh greens, ripe tomatoes, sundries tomatoes, salty and briny olives, tender pieces of turkey and fresh tuna.  It looked like nothing special, but oh my goodness it was heavenly.  Salt, pepper, olive oil and balsamic pepper was brought to my table with flourish, along with a big bread basket full of the most delectable, chewy, crusty sourdough.  With a bottle of sparkling mineral water and a much needed espresso, the bill came to 12 Euros.  This is an incredible bargain compared to Hong Kong.
Marveling at my delightful meal, I headed out for a stroll.  It was an utterly beautiful day in Milan.  I walked again toward the Duomo.  My only complaint about the square is the number of pigeons that fly all around.  Blech.

I loved walking around the Galleria Vittorio in Milan.   I came dangerously close to convincing myself that I absolutely needed the latest floral dress from Gucci and a clutch from Celine and a big leather satchel from YSL, but thankfully talked myself off the ledge.  This city... it's dangerous.

I loved this old school storefront and the old fashioned interior.  It sold just one thing - hats.

Bread... yum.
An absolute must in Italy - I unabashedly had gelato wherever I went and whenever I felt like it.
This is the opera house, La Scala.  I would have loved to see the interior, but it was closed during the day.  It doesn't look impressive from the outside, but everyone says it is the most beautiful, plush interior, like a gilt jewel box and a tiered wedding cake and a red velvet dress all rolled into one.
I love Europe for its ample parks and benches and random statues.
I also love how every building in Milan is ornate and looks very important.  Seriously, every building.

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