Milan - European Fashion Capital

Trip Start Oct 13, 2010
Trip End Jul 11, 2012

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Where I stayed

Flag of Italy  , Lombardy,
Friday, January 14, 2011

This was our first flight ever with Ryanair and for the price we paid I thought it was reasonable, we departed on time and also arrived a bit early which was great. The only annoying thing for any girl is that you need to fit your handbag into the hand luggage as it counts as hand luggage and you only allowed to bring one piece, but I think I am becoming a pro at packing! We arrived late on Friday night to Bergamo airport, which is situated about an hour from the center of Milan city. When we landed we were quick to find a bus that cost only 8€ each return. It was our first trip to Italy and we were both really excited, funnily enough when we got on the bus they were playing Rhianna song, not in Italian, so can't escape it anywhere. We were staying in a
really nice 4 star hotel called Hotel Berna, close to the central station. We went to bed as soon as we arrived so we could get up early to explore Milano the next day.

As we found from our hotel in the morning, Milan was pretty easy to explore by foot, so with map in hand we started heading towards the center of Milan and towards Milan Duomo. We left quite early in the morning and the streets were still very quiet and hardly anyone around, we were blessed with beautiful sunny weather. The walk up was great, we stumbled across cute cobblestone street with all the designer boutique so we got to do some window shopping and see the traditional buildings.

Life in Milan centers around the area of the Duomo, a huge Gothic cathedral, with more than 2,000 statues and over 140 spires, with a large gold Madonna at the top. Constructed in the late 1300's, Milan’s Duomo Cathedral is the world’s largest Gothic cathedral, and has become the premier landscape feature and symbol of Milan. We were very lucky as we visited it on a sunny day, when the light penetrated the windows which created a kaleidoscope of colour throughout the interior of the church, simply unforgettable!

The highlight of Duomo, is the fact that you can climb the roof or take a lift, so Carl and I decided we were feeling fit and took the stairs (knowing we would want to sample local cuisine at lunch). We are so glad we went up...We actually spent longer on the roof than inside the Duomo itself. There are, of course, superb views across Milan but we had not realised the roof area was a wonderful forest of the most amazing Gothic stonework. So many carvings to notice and explore, so many superb gargoyles, so much 'twiddliness'. We were (almost literally) in historical heaven! After visiting Duomo, we headed to Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II which is the 19th century belle époque-style oldest shopping mall in the world. The four-story arcade houses shops, cafes and luxury boutiques including Louis Vuitton, Prada, Gucci; the famous but a bit pricey Ristorante Savini is placed on the second floor. You can find also a McDonalds that seemed a bit out of place here.

There is a special atmosphere due to the glass ceiling and the mosaic floor. The symbols on the mosaic floor represent the capitals of the Kingdom of Italy in various periods: Milan, Turin, Florence and Rome.

Milan is one of the fashion and shopping capitals of Europe, and we just so happened to arrive amid the flurry of fabulous January Sales! So shop we did... There were incredible bargains to be had everywhere, even up to 70% off Guess, Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci!! After we had literally shopped till we dropped, cause we couldn't carry any more, it was time to seek out dinner.

After a quick stop at the hotel to drop off our shopping booty, we got ready and jumped in a cab out to Cagnola, a suburb just outside the centre of Milan in search of "L'Immagine Ristorante Bistrot" a local bistro, which had rave reviews and was rated number one on TripAdvisor at the time. We were not disappointed! When we got there, the place was absolutely packed with people, the tables were setup so close that you were practically rubbing shoulders with the table next to you. popular little place indeed. To start with we had an antipasto platter of Milano Salami, bocconcini and tomato with yummy bread and an amazing red wine. We were feeling pretty full after that and then our main's arrived. I had the local specialty of a Milanese Risotto while Carl had the Milan style Veal. Both dishes were incredibly mouthwateringly tasty and went perfectly with another bottle of red!In short, it was an amazing night, we had ended up
spending about 3 hours eating, drinking and chatting to our new friends who were sitting at the table next to us. An Italian guy named Antonio and a Bulgarian girl, Ruxandra. A lovely couple who were super nice and offered us a lift back to our Hotel!

Not bad for 72 hours in Milano, Bella Italia!
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