The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Friday, 20 June 2014

One day in Milan (Italy)

I am finally writing my final post on last summer's European trip! After spending a week in France - both in pretty Paris and beautiful Brittany - and another week in Italy - where we saw the Leaning Tower of Pisa, explored the Cinque Terre region and visited the gorgeous Portofino - we headed to Milan for an overnight stay before boarding our flight back home to Hong Kong. At first I intended us to stay two nights in Milan, but hubby's aunt (who is always travelling) advised that only one night in Milan would be sufficient and that we ought to use that extra night in Cinque Terre instead. I'm glad we heeded her advice, because I found myself wishing we had more time in Cinque Terre even with that extra day.

Arriving at the vast Milano Centrale Station:

Trying to find our way around Milano Centrale Station to catch the Metro line:

The Milano Centrale station is an architectural delight:

We arrived in Milan around 2pm, and after checking into our hotel, we went back out to see Milan's main tourist attraction: the Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral). Though our hotel was a good three Metro stops away from the Duomo, we decided to walk there, as hoofing it is the best way to see and experience a new city (and a good way to work exercise in at the same time!). We would have missed all the following sights if we had taken the Metro or bus. The streets are a mish-mash of old and new, buildings and public vehicles alike.

Taking care of very important business first - gelato! This shop was just around the corner from our hotel near the Porta Romana Metro station, and these two cones of double scoops cost us a grand total of 2&euro! By far the cheapest gelato we've ever had, and so delicious too. Shop name is Carmen e Massimo SNC, on street Corso Lodi No.2:

Stopped by a playground along the way:

A view down one of the side streets full of old buildings:

The old type tram:

And the sleeker-looking modern tram:

Piazza Missori - an old bronze monument of Riccardo Ripamonti (1916) juxtaposed against the backdrop of modern buildings. Also in the background is the ancient brickwall remains of a crypt of a former basilica church:

A closer look at San Giovanni in Conca, a crypt of a former basilica church that dates back to the 4th century:

The fa├žade of the Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral):

Two-thirds of the Duomo's 3500 statues are on the exterior:

One of the world's oldest shopping malls - the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, standing opposite the Duomo. The arcade contains luxury shops selling haute couture, jewellery, books and paintings, and there are also restaurants, cafes and bars:

The arch detail at the entrance to the Galleria facing the Duomo:

Beautiful architecture, designed in 1861:

In the central octagonal space topped with a glass dome:

A statue of Vittorio Emanuele II in the middle of Piazza del Duomo:

It was evening by the time we headed back to the hotel, again on foot. We had a morning flight to catch the next day, so we opted for a simple but delicious focaccia dinner at a bakery we encountered on Corsa di Porta Roma (street name). It had basic facilities for dining in, so we took a moment's rest from walking to fuel up for the night.

A bakery on Corsa di Porta Roma:

An olive focaccia:

A pizza-like focaccia with plenty of vegetable topping:

And another pizza-like focaccia with ham topping:

And thus we have come to the end of our 2013 summer trip to Europe! We have taken four other overseas trip since then, and I still have photos of Japan and Malaysia to blog about, so stay tuned!

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