Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Trip to Italy! Day 2, August 29, 2014 - "A Day in Milano!"

Entry way into our AirBNB apartment
We woke up from our "nap" and left the apartment around 6pm and headed in the direction of magnificent Milan Duomo. We stopped into a cafe about halfway, and I grabbed a toasted sandwich and and Marek got a salad. We both had the wine the hostess/waitress talked us into ordering.

Feeling a bit rejuvenated, we set out to finish our 15min walk and got to the Piazza del Duomo as the sun was making its way behind many of the buildings - shining soft light on the beautiful Duomo and and its plaza. It was for moments like this I was thrilled to have an actual camera on board our trip - along with someone who knew how to do more with a camera than point/click (Marek - basically any quality photo you see throughout this trip was taken by her).
Our view when we turned the corner coming into the Plazza

We walked into the Duomo and found ourselves watching Friday night mass. The smell of the incense filling the world's 4th largest church was all a bit overwhelming. The marble features and high gothic style architecture was an easy sign that we were having a moment we will not soon forget.
Interior, more photos at bottom of blog

Leaving the Duomo and walking across the Plaza we entered the Galleria. This was the covered outdoor shopping center that helps Milano gain its "Fashion Capital of the World" label. All the high end names you've heard (and not heard of) were all represented, including a yet to open new Versace location.

Throughout the Galleria lies a decorated marble floor, and on one section of the floor is a bull where it is said by local legend that good luck will go to those who place the heel of the shoe on the bull's testicles and spin around. So, of course we did it (VIDEO: Marek, Me).

That section of floor was worn down to make a crevice about 3-4 inches deep. The tradition we'd heard about from Rick Steeves was real. We had written on our itinerary to accomplish 3 things the first day/night: visit Duomo (we wanted to take the rooftop tour 300' off the ground, but it was too late in the evening for tickets), walk through the Galleria and then visit a district named Navigli.

Before we headed out though, Marek got to play with rabbid birds!
Marek getting diseases from pigeons

We decided this trip to not have international data service. We would only get on our phones to check emails, etc when we would be resting at our hotels when free wifi was available. It was a grand plan, however, I can't tell you how important it is to have Google Maps available at a moments notice. GPS tells you exactly where in the map you are (and with Italy's thousands of tiny streets that is VERY helpful). It also tells you how far of a walk it is or how long a taxi ride would take and even public transit directions and durations from/to any given point. HAVE A DATA PACKAGE. We wondered into a small info/tourist shop and sort of cheated by looking on their map (that was there for us to purchase for $4) and saw that the Navigli District appeared to be about a 20-25 min walk and was just passed where our apartment was. We were not ready to walk that far. We found a taxi waiting and headed south to the Navigli.

Turns out, it was at the bottom of our street (where our AirBNB apartment was). This was great because we knew it was going to be a short walk back to the room. It was about 8:00pm and restaurants were just now starting to open up for dinner. Clearly we were out too early in comparison to the locals, but we were jet-lagged and fighting unconsciousness in the spirit of an adventurous vacation.

We found a pizzeria and ordered beer and a Quattro Formaggi (4 cheese) pizza. The waiter knew we were American and told us he would have the chef cut it into slices instead of the Italian way of just giving us the whole pie with a knife/fork. I wanted to eat with knife/fork like Italians do, but I was too tired to argue, especially knowing I didn't know how to say in Italian what I wanted to and he didn't know English enough to understand my native tongue...sliced pizza I would receive. After pizza, we tried to stick it out a bit later. We REALLY tried. The "life" of Navigli came to be around 9:30pm but we were no longer in the mood to stay out.

My to-go box in the Navigli District

We found a quaint place off to the side to have one last quiet drink before heading back home (don't worry, we were drinking water each day of our trip in between meals). The beer was had and memories were made, but we knew how much a long sleep was needed to get us on the right track to feel more energized and our legs/feet from giving up on us.

More Photos:
Fun with English
True story: We spent hours trying to come up with this guy's name
- since we didn't have internet to just look it up.
R.I.P. Gary Coleman
Duomo Door

Duomo Floor


  1. I definitely savored every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.