We're sitting at Milan airport waiting for our flight to Gatwick after spending the last 2 nights here. With a 2 hour delay just announced I thought I would write about our time here while it is still fresh.
Milan has been fantastic. I am a little sad to be leaving tonight. We arrived at midday on Wednesday from Lugano. It's a train trip I had done twenty years earlier, only in reverse. I was on route from Florence to Zurich and was so impressed by the scenery. I remember scribbling in my guide book the name 'Menaggio' as we sped by vowing to return. It was incredibly beautiful even in the dead of winter, covered in snow. Seeing it in summer was just as impressive.
August in Italy is quiet in the towns as everyone vacates for either the sea or the mountains. This worked in our favour as the city was so easy to navigate without the crowds. The streets were quiet and it felt like Christmas holiday period in Melbourne. Our hotel was situated on Corso Sempione and it was a short walk through Arco Della Pace to Parco Sempione and the Castello Sforzesco.
Our first afternoon we walked along Corso Sempione to the park, through the castle and wove our way through the streets to Brera to meander the pedestrian streets and drool over the apartments. I had tried to book an apartment in Brera which was a slightly over budget but an amazing position and beautifully furnished. I would definitely consider moving
The next morning back on the tram we jumped off at Piazza Cavour and wove our way through the seductive golden triangle! Fortunately (for our wallets) most of the stores were closed for their summer break but we enjoyed window shopping as the Milanese definitely have their visual merchandising figured out. Every high end shop was so simple, oozing style and definitely created a sense of desire! My favorite store being the furniture store, Nilufor. They had the most incredible bookshelf which we later discover was a Franco Albini. We strolled down Corso vittale Emmanuel II watching the buskers and street performers, dodging dodgy salesmen, crowds (the only crowded street in Milan at this time) and polizi patrol cars to emerge at the Duomo. Here I'll make a little confession. We dared, in Italy, for the first time this trip to bribe Z with lunch at McDonald's. The LF and I refrained but all was not lost on this experience. They have the most spectacular view of the Duomo from their first floor 'restaurant'. Duck in for a drink or toilet break (or bribe your child *i'll write a post on this once home) to check out the view. With a gallery bribe up our sleeves we visited Pinacoteca di Brera. The gallery houses a vast collection of Milanese artwork from early renaissance to contemporary works... albeit heavily geared towards the renaissance with a lot of biblical references which was interesting explaining to Z, who was quite horrified by some of the images.
Our last dinner in Milan was not quite as I imagined. I did not even realise I held a vision of how it should be until we were seated and I was desperately trying to rewind the last 15 minutes in order to choose a different outcome. I desperately knew the scene I was sitting in was not meant for me! Instead of being seated at a gorgeous little Osteria in the back streets of Brera sipping a lovely Italian Gewürztraminer and traditional home style Italian fare we had somehow made our way to the 'Lygon Street' strip of Brera, sitting at a restaurant spraying fine mists of water at intervals on the Pommy tourists expiring under the 'extreme' weather, downing large pints of larger while listening to Frank Sinatra, Bonnie Tyler & a bevie of bad 80's tracks. Z had rather loudly insisted on 'this one' and since we had pushed our luck already that day, we buckled. Thankfully once the horror wore off we laughed hysterically and rather enjoyed ourselves. All part of the pitfalls and pleasures of traveling with kids.
On our last day we spent our time at Triennale Di Milano, Milan's brilliant design museum. There were four exhibitions on and they were all beautifully curated, The Syndrome of Influence being a favourite. The building is vast and the detailing beautiful, mosaic floors, huge windows, imposing staircases all set on the edge of Parco Sempione. You definitely need to set aside at a minimum half a day to explore this treasure. We ended our visit with lunch at the cafe in the sculpture garden before heading back for our airport transfer.
Unfortunately, our plane has now been delayed 4 hours so instead of getting in at 8pm it looks like we'll be touching down in the wee hours of the morning. I am exhausted I can only imagine how tired the Z man must feel, poor lad. Luckily we've pre booked a room at Gatwick airport so once we touch down we can roll in to bed, ready for our train trip to Waymouth tomorrow.
Buonenotte a tutti & grazie mille Milan. xx
PS. Sorry about the font issue again. I'm too tired for any more tonight so it will have to do for now.