After Spain, we took an overnight train to Milano, Italy. It's so easy to travel by train - especially when it's direct! We arrived just before noon, the weather was terrific, and we were ready to take a look around.
Is it morning yet??
clockwise: Julia, Joe, Flower, John
Arriving in Italy.
Departing and arriving look very similar, yes?.
Our first stop was a small cafe. It was wonderful to take our time dining - it's quite customary for wait staff to not rush the customer that often Americans interpret it as bad/slow service. We had a prime spot along a roundabout a near a trolley stop.
Flower & John - lunch in Milano
Joe & Marie - lunch in Milano
One of the things I was looking forward to in Italy was the pizza and the shopping. I was not disappointed in either area. The pizza was yummy (though we weren't always certain what we had ordered). Naturally, the pasta was delicious and I don't believe there were ever any leftovers.
If ever in Milano, a must-do is a visit to the Duomo (meaning: large cathedral). This structure is massive huge with an equally huge piazza (plaza) out front. What good is an Italian piazza without a stature of Napolean?
The Duomo - Milano, Italy
John, Marie, Joe, Flower - outside the Duomo, Milan, Italy
Lunch on the piazza w/Duomo as a backdrop - Joe, Flower, Marie
Shopping was all-together a different scene. We found the "Rodeo Drive" of Milan - I didn't feel comfortable walking into some shops, e.g. Prada (310€ per small leather coin purse, whatev). However, I hunted down and located the area of town most Milanese visit when they go shopping. Whew! Wear comfy shoes. There is no American-style mall - the largest shopping area was both sides of the street... for 4km!
Never fear, I found a few things to bring back to Heidelberg, but mostly I was interested in looking and not buying. Window shopping is primarily a safe hobby, while handbag or shoe shopping can become a full contact sport! Just keepin' it real.
Our hotel was awesome and quite affordable. At the same time, we were very happy to head home after two days there... we were in need of our own beds.
Joe, Marie, Flower - on our way to the train station from our hotel in Milan
Spending 6 hours on a train crossing the Alps was fabulous! Totally amazing scenery - and we'd have missed the view if traveling on an airplane. We saw small little hamlets nestled up in a valley, crystal clear lakes, sheep in a meadow, waterfalls, and even a camp ground. Sometimes it is the journey and not the destination. [Insert crazy running-in-flip flops-to-make-the-train-connection-in-Zurich story. You wouldn't believe it if I told you.]
Italy and the Alps with my people is where it's at.