It always takes the shove of a visiting friend to get me to actually see the sights around Lombardy, and get me out of my snail’s pace routine of lazy life on the Lake. I had the pleasure of one of my best girlfriends visiting me from Manila, and so off we went, south of the lake, to the dazzling, city of Milan. –Tourists for a day!
We took a midday bus to Colico train station, then rode for nearly two hours, before reaching Milan’s central station. I had been promising Karsten a train ride for weeks, so he was bubbling with excitement.
It was still another inner-city ride on the underground Metro, with four stops to the Duomo, where we decided to start our exploration of the city streets. We did have a map in hand, but no particular plan or destination.
Coming from our tiny town in Lake Como, the first sights of Milano were as grand for my two-year-old as they were for me. For a moment, my previously tranquil state of mind (as tranquil as can be with a 2-year-old on a 3-hour-journey) gets a little lost, as I find myself suddenly in a mass of fashionable people, crowded trams, speeding trains, all in the glamorous side of modern-day Italy.
I had seen it before, when I was pregnant with Karsten three years ago—but the Dome or Duomo, with its gothic ivory spires, still shone radiantly under the sun, capturing the essence of Milan and all its glory.
Deciding to not even try to wait through the lines to get to Leonardo’s Last Supper, we hit the streets for a long, long stroll. By 2 o’clock, Karsten was sagging with tiredness, and I carried him down a few blocks before hunger pains took over, and we decided on a café/bar near the Dome. Thinking the expense of lunch could only be high because of the positioning, and maybe the taste of food would make up for the prices, we settled.
Never, never settle!
I ended up paying €5.50 for the WORST cappuccino I have ever tasted in two years of living in Italy—watery, thin…disgusting for that amount of money.
Now that I am back from the Golden Square, I wish I had read Lonely Planet’s practical advice on Budget or Blow-Out, here. It just makes sense to do your research before heading out into an overwhelming city like Milan.
We eventually found Torino road, and spent a couple hours wandering the shops—Saldi, Saldi everywhere! I spied a favorite pair of summer shoes (shoes make me happy, can’t help it!)and was so tempted to purchase them, but knowing we will be travelling again, more shoes meant more luggage. And, a scolding from my husband!
So we window-shopped for a couple more hours, watched a street musician on his sweet violin, stopped to look at every clock tower (my son’s favorite pastime), and chatted the giddy way only two girlfriends can when no man is around.
By sundown, we took the two-hour train home, just Karsten and I…and waved our friend Ida Noelle goodbye—she was off, journeying solo to more adventures around Europe, and we hoped our paths would cross again, in some random corner of the world.