When I arrived in Milan, I had no idea what to expect. I kept seeing fashion runways in my head. Turns out, there’s more to the city than fashion.
I only stayed in Milan one night, with plans to take the train to Venice first thing the next day. I was really excited to see Venice!
My hotel told me to take the metro to the Duomo. The duomo is the cathedral and it was beautiful. The cathedral faces a big square where there’s lot of people and pigeons. It was a Saturday, so it was super crowded. Then as you walk away from the square there are several pedestrian only roads with lots of shopping and coffee shops.
The coffee shops in Milan are beautiful, with an array of perfectly designed pastries and bustling espresso counters. Luckily, I walked into one where a waiter spoke English. The waiter was the head waiter and he was wearing a very fancy suit for just serving coffee and cookies, but hey it’s Milan! He brought hot chocolate syrup with my cappuccino. It tasted amazing!
I wandered through the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II which is an immense ancient indoor mall basically. It’s a street covered with a lovely arching glass ceiling. I walked past Gucci and Louis Vutton and went on my way to the Sforzesco Castle.
This castle is very large and looks like it’s been through some battles. You can walk freely from courtyard to courtyard and you realize how big the compound is. I can imagine a large army bustling about the courtyards in the past, but of course I have no idea what the real history is.
At the back of the castle, I came upon a beautiful view of the Parco Sempione. This park is very green with walkways going every which way. At the far end of the park I could see the Arco Della Pace, a beautiful archway with the statue of a man in a chariot with four horses on top. It was a beautiful view from the back of the castle, but I was hitting my maximum of walking for my feet.
I headed back to the hotel to rest and refresh. I was hitting a wall, because I had taken the red eye from JFK to Milan and I hadn’t really gone to sleep yet. I took a nap and got up in time to go out for a late dinner and drinks.
I asked the hotel where to go and I ended up in the Navigli District. It’s a cute strip of restaurants and bars with apperativos along a canal. I found a crowded bar with loads of apperativos on the bar. I bellied up to the bar and took in the atmosphere.
The bartenders were amazing, shaking and dancing as they made every cocktail. I stared for I don’t know how long as they made beautiful cocktails, with all fresh squeezed juices as their mixers. After finishing my beer, I asked for a fancy cocktail. The bartender laughed and asked what kind of liquor I like. I said Vodka, but he said he was going to make me a gin cocktail. He said by the time I finished my drink I’d be a gin fan. I laughed and agreed to give it a shot.
He mashed up some mint, squeezed some fresh citrus and I missed a couple ingredients, but next thing I knew I had a big cognac glass with a very tasty gin drink in it. After I finished the drink, I told him that gin is good when he makes it for me. Next, I asked for a red drink, so he made me something kind of pink and served it in a champagne flute. It was frothy and it had a beautiful twist of lemon peel on top. I savored it to the last drop.
Overall, I enjoyed my day in Milan a lot more than I expected. I was very impressed with the cathedral and the nightlife I found. But Venice was calling to me!