Over the Alps we go!!

Trip Start Mar 06, 2011
Trip End Apr 29, 2011

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Flag of Italy  , Lombardy,
Saturday, March 26, 2011

It's been 20 days since we left Australia for our holidays, which means we're getting close to the halfway point, it's be amazing how fast the time has flown.  We pack our things and farewell the friendly staff from our hotel in Lutry, then jump onto the freeway heading towards the Swiss/Italian Alps.  In the next five days we plan to see all the places we missed out on when we lived here, the first being Milan in Italy and it's surrounding lakes, then back to Switzerland,  to see Lugano, Lucerne and then finally Zurich. It's a beautiful drive over the Swiss Alps, only can be risky if there is snow around as we once found out in 2006, so we decide to take the safe route and take the St Bernard Tunnel.   On the way up the alps, we turn on our GPS to get ready for directions to Milan and notice it keeps turning off, after a closer look we notice that the TOM TOM is not charging. We try to connect the charger a little firmer and connection point disappears at the bottom of the GPS device.  This is not good, I have no maps and have to make my way to the middle of Milan's one way streets, this is going to be a fun day.  As we enter the St Bernard tunnel, we cross the Swiss/Italian Border without dramas and start the descend on the Italian side and decide to stop for lunch in a small town called Aosta at around 12:30pm.  As we walk around the heart of the centre, we notice it's very quiet for a Saturday and most of the shops are closed.  After a closer look, we realise the locals are having their siesta (nap time) and most things will reopen at 2:30pm.  We stumble onto an area of Aosta surrounded by Roman ruins and decide to have lunch in a nearby restaurant.  After a fantastic lunch, we head back out on the freeway, we get to the Milan outskirts without any issues, but once we hit the city centre we get in trouble, getting caught out on the one way streets and struggle to find our way to our hotel.  We eventually make it to our hotel with some local help and getting lost is not always a bad thing, we got glimpses of this beautiful city and places we would like to see.  It's now 7pm and the kids are starving, we ask Marco from the hotel, to recommend a good restaurant,  he said to stay away from the restaurants on the main strip near the cathederal Duomo, as they are generally targeted towards tourists, high prices and poor quality food.  He recommended a couple of his favourites off the beaten track.  We decide to go to restaurant Santa Lucia, it is truly amazing, the quality and freshness of our dishes are of high standard and everything is freshly made.  As we walk back to the hotel, we can see the 400 year old Cathedral shining in bright lights ahead of us, the architecture is beautiful.  I can't wait to explore this city.
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