After a quick flight [with gorgeous views] over the Alps, we landed in Milan, Italy. It was late by the time we got to our hotel, and I was just so happy to get situated after being in transit for over 17 productive hours.
It was nice to call the Westin Palace our home for the next couple of days. They allotted us with a pretty nifty suite. When you walked into the suite, it felt like you went back in time. It truly felt like some sort of palace with the crystal chandeliers, gold fixtures and doorknobs, and marble walls and floors. The details were incredible!
When you walked into the suite, the hallway consisted of mirrors that opened up with tons of closet space [perfect for all that Milan shopping!].
If you walked further in, here’s what it looked like:
…and when you’re running on minimal sleep, you start turning fancy decorative chairs into “harp chairs”, haha!
We even had a private terrace on our floor that we could lounge in if we wanted. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to take advantage of the aperitivo here. It had pretty views of the city though.
After showering and unpacking, we met up with a good high school friend, Claud [aka Dino], who lives in Milan. Thank goodness Dino lives in Milan; we were taught how to use their public transportation [in my opinion, it's surprisingly easier than the NYC subway, which I find pretty easy to use]. After a short train ride, we reached Piazza del Duomo, where we had late night dinner at Obikà. Yes, to Italian food!
The view from the restaurant had a pretty awesome view of the Duomo!
I loved the livelihood and culture of the people in Milan! At this point, it was close to midnight [if not past it] and people were still out eating, drinking, and just having a blast. After dinner, we roamed around the square and took pictures.
Not too long after, I was ready to hit the sheets.
**One of the best sleeps I have ever had. Ever.**
It’s amazing what sleep does for one’s body. I slept like a log that night. After being in transit for so long, it felt so nice to sleep for longer than 8 hours straight.
First thing on the day’s agenda, food! Down to the lobby for continental breakfast was our first task.
Then, off to meet up with Dino at the Piazza del Duomo for a fun-filled day.
We hit up the Duomo di Milano first. Can you believe that it took over six centuries to build this Gothic cathedral?! I can. It’s made of marble, and apparently it’s the fifth largest cathedral in the world. Absolutely incredible!
Here’s some snapshots from the inside:
We then waited in a long line to take the elevator up to the top of the Duomo. The wait was well worth it, especially if you get these kinds of views:
We had way too much fun entertaining ourselves up at the top of the Duomo.
We maneuvered our way down the many flights of Duomo stairs [because we didn't want to wait in the horrendously long elevator line], and off to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II we went.
It is one of the world’s oldest shopping malls, and we all know how I feel about shopping. My eyes lit up like it was Christmas morning when I walked through these arcades. The glass ceiling arches are made of glass panels and iron, and the floor is a beautiful mosaic tiling. Not only is it beautiful, it is home to fashion’s finest [Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Borsalino just to name a few]. There’s a reason why Milano is deemed a fashion capitol of the world!
Also within the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, there’s this famous Milanese tradition that involves a picture of a bull on the mosaic floor. Rumor has it that if you step on the bull’s testacles with one foot and make a full turn while you wish something, your wish will come true [or you'll visit Milan again in the future]. Odd, I know, but I did it anyway. My wish hasn’t come true quite yet, but maybe one day it will.
After spinning on the bull’s balls [still can't get over how funny that sounds], Dino continued to tour us around the city. We kept the SLR in hand, snapping random photos of the things we saw.
We walked until we got to Castello Sforzesco. A real castle?! Awesomeness! Living in California, there’s not too many real castles for me to visit, so seeing this one was a treat!
Not too far from the grounds of the castle, there’s a really pretty view of the park and Arco della Pace in the distance. I really love this arch because it reminds me of my favorite spot in NYC, Washington Square Park.
For lunch, we ate chicken cotoletta sandwiches and had delicious Italian coffee. Mmm! I don’t have proof of this delicious lunch because I devoured it before I snapped a picture of it, haha! Afterwards, we walked to get dessert. Yup, we went to get gelato. Now that, I have a picture:
After fueling up and resting our feet, off we went. Dino guided us towards the Santa Maria delle Grazie. Located in this church is Leonardo da Vinci’s famous fresco, The Last Supper.
The architecture and the artwork inside the church were phenomenal. Here are photos from the inside:
…and some outside shots:
After scoping out the Santa Maria delle Grazie, we headed towards the Navigli District. I absolutely loved how it was a local spot; it felt like we were getting the full Milanese experience. The shops and restaurants lined both sides of the canals, and I could have spent all day people watching here [or shopping for shoes, which I did].
At night time, this is the place to be if you’re looking for a night out. Let’s just say that I don’t have any pictures from when we went to get aperitivo [or dinner], nor do I remember even getting from the bar to Dino’s cave. I do, however, remember going to dinner.
I’m blaming it on the delicious cocktail drink[s] I had.
It’s unfortunate I don’t have any pictures of my authentic Italian dinner; it was hands down the best gnocchi I have ever eaten.
The following morning, we went back to peruse the Piazza del Duomo [and get another bite of gelato] before we headed back to the airport.
On our way back to Zurich, the views of Milan from the sky were incredible.
…but flying over the Alps was even more breathtaking. It’s crazy how ginormous these mountain ranges really are. I think it’s pretty neat that we actually saw the Matterhorn from the sky.
That concludes our trip to Europe. It was definitely one crazy, long weekend, but I’m glad we did it. The way I see it is summed up in Augustine of Hippo’s quote:
The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.
Hopefully, it won’t be too long before our next trip out there.
PS: I have more trips to share. Stay tuned for more blog updates!