Thursday, January 12, 2017

Milan, Italy - Day 9

So sad to have to leave Venice after such a short amount of time. We were approaching the end of our trip and we had one city left: Milan. I have never been before and it's the fashion capital of the world. I was planning on doing some damage, for sure.

We packed and headed down to get breakfast at the Ca' D'Oro Hotel. This place had chocolate croissants, bread, cheese and prosciutto. I was still feeling ill so I had to have some orange juice with my meal. Notice the Nutella packets? Yum!


A porter was going to cost us quite a bit so we took our chances getting onto a water taxi. The device to pay didn't accept cards and I didn't have enough Euros. Sorry, Venice, I had no way to pay for our rides. And there was no one there to help us. I swear we weren't trying to be 'those tourists.' We were cautious getting onto the boat with our heavy luggage and found a spot close to the entrance. The sun was shining and I wished we could have stayed just one more day.





We boarded our train and I wanted to sleep. Court continued to read her naughty book on her phone. Her radar was off on that train ride because there were three young Ciao Bellos in our car and one sat next to Court. Oblivious. While I'm being a creeper.



I actually didn't sleep the entire ride and I took in the countryside view from my window seat. It seems like such a simple life out there. A train stop was in Verona, where the love affair of Romeo and Juliet took place. My father honored my request of sending me a post card from Verona when I was in high school. I'm pretty sure I still have it in a box.



We were pulling into Milan and I couldn't believe my eyes. In the distance there were skyscrapers. The tall buildings were duomos you can see from afar. I was unsure whether or not I was going to like this city. But I was there. The train station was pretty cool. The loading areas were covered by high, arched structures. This is the kind of train station I envisioned in Europe.



We made our way to the taxi line and was taken to our hotel. On the way there, the skyscrapers reached the clouds, logo were on its sides and even an apartment building looked like it was trying to pull off being a tree like those cell phone towers here in the States. Weird.



We reached our hotel and a farmers market was happening on our street. It was pretty busy with many vendors selling fruits, veggies, clothes and dolls. We checked into the Una Hotel Scandinavia and it was definitely a nicer hotel. They had the largest elevators of all of the hotels we stayed in and the front desk was manned by more than one person.

Our room was great with a large closet, fancy bathroom, a large mirror, comfy beds that actually had room to be two beds, and the best wi-fi we've had all trip. AND they had a real gym! Oh yes, we were going to take part of that!





We freshened up, took advantage of the awesome wi-fi and headed out to explore. We used Yelp to find some local grub. We first stopped at a sports bar, sat at the bar and the bartendress seemed like we were a pain because I couldn't understand her Italian very well. I looked at the menu and it seemed like it was stuff I could get at home: deep-fried finger foods. I'm in Milan and it's our last city on our trip. I want to be wowed.

We stopped in a few other spots and I was just being picky. We ended seeing a sign for a small spot that had some deals like our first meal in Rome. They also had a long list of pizzas and calzones. Sold!

We were sat at a table for four and were served by our first heavy-set Italian man. Smiling and helpful, he brought us our beverages. I had the Calzoni Farcito with tomato, mozzarella, ricotta cheese, baked ham, mushrooms and artichokes. Court had a pizza. It was ginormous! And very filling. I couldn't eat the crust but made it a point to eat all the insides.







Next, we headed out towards to Galleria Vittorinio Emanuel. We walked for quite some time and it was definitely a busy city. There were plenty of cars parked on the streets, cars passing by and people on bicycles. We eventually came across some modern restaurants and not just Italian cuisines. We found ourselves at the Arco della Pace, the Arch of Peace. It was meant to control an important road in Milan. Passed the Arch was a huge park with playgrounds, skate parks, basketball courts, a little creek and several people. It was common to see lovebirds sitting on the benches with the woman sitting on the lap of her love. We came across an area where there were tents set up. The city was preparing for an event the next day.

Passed this area was a wall of a fortress, Castello Sforzesco. It was built in the 15th century for the Duke of Milan. It now houses several museums. It is amazing how these structures have maintained themselves over the years. Imagine what it was like in its day. The grounds were extensive.

Just passed the other entrance was a circular fountain and a metro station entrance. Continue on this route and you will find yourself shopping, and large beer glasses, street performers and several opportunities to buy a selfie stick. I knew the Galleria was close by. I was ready to shop!

The Galleria Vittorio is just beautiful. Not for the designer items it houses but the structure is stunning. I have never seen a rotunda glass structure above me like that. I was awesome to finally see this in person. It was also exciting to know that I was going to splurge a little bit here.

After a few stops at Prada and Louis Vuitton, I narrowed down my selections to Giorgio Armani and Gucci handbags. I considered getting a pair of shoes but the handbags will last longer. I first spotted the red, alligator print Giorgio Armani bag. The salesman said that there were only seven left in stores in all of Europe. The other one I wanted was the bee embroidered, brown Gucci handbag. I wanted a classic print but with a little personality. The handbag was also a European exclusive, which means it was distributed to other continents.

Decisions, decisions. So I bought both!

I have never purchased anything that expensive for myself that wasn't a car. My Gia Michael Kors handbag that I purchased at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas was $800 and my Jimmy Choos were also $800. But I deserve it, it was my money and I allowed myself this one time to splurge. The rest of my earnings will go to that goal by 40, real estate on Maui.

We also stopped at Marchesi for a snack. It was located on the second floor of the Galleria and it was bright, baby blue and well decorated with many of their goodies on display. It was interesting on how you order. You order beverages and some items at the counter, they give you a ticket and you go to the cashier to pay for it. I bought myself a little custard topped with fruit, cannolis and chocolates to bring back home since I left the ones I bought at The Florian in Venice at the bar. Doh! These were delicious. I bought a big box of chocolates. I heard that the box I selected was 19 euros. Oh, cheap! And then in the middle of the lady behind the counter boxing and tying a beautiful ribbon on my box, I then understood it was a 90 euro box of chocolates! They better like those damn chocolates!

We were then ready to head back to the hotel. I was carrying three bags worth thousands of US dollars. Just like Florence, we were unsuccessful in getting a taxi. Oh, how we missed Uber. We ended up walking all the way back to the hotel in the dark and through that huge park. My load was not light and I held it close to me just in case. Thank goodness we made it back to our hotel safely, with 'my pretties' safe in a closet.

A rest was much needed and then it was time to eat again. Again, Yelp was our savior. We found a spot and headed that way. It was close by. After the walk we had that day, I wasn't trying to go very far. We were sat at a table for two and there was one server working for a small dining room. He had a good amount of customers and we were in no hurry but then we saw the deals they were offering. I had the seafood pasta and salmon and Court had the risotto and pork chop I believe. We started off with a piece of bruschetta and a glass of wine. I went with the white and I really didn't like it so it was not drunk. The food wasn't great but the service was friendly.

Guests at the long table next to us was getting louder and celebrating a woman's birthday. Grandpa started a conversation with us and his cute grandsons across the table were smiling and making their apologies for his very friendly behavior. We greeted, did the cheek to cheek kiss and he went in for a kiss! Grandpa!!! Oh, Italian men. It never gets old to them.

And then we headed back to our comfy room before our last day in Italy.

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