A June 2003 trip
to Milan by Elginah
Quote: Cheap airfares directed us to Milan and we squeezed in Venice. I'm now addicted to gelati and my feet still ache -- walked ourselves silly. Milan was a bit confusing, but it has a big city attitude with proud, fashion conscious locals. And the food . . . hmm!
Our first meal in Milan was disappointing, but what do you expect from a touristy hang out in the main tourist area? Eat where the locals do and away from the main tourist areas. Buy water in the supermarket and you'll save quite a bit than if you buy from Piazza del Duomo street vendors.
Bring good walking shoes with you, even if the locals seems most comfortable in kitten heels. *grin*
We didn't use the tram, mostly because the underground map was a lot better and English is not a language everyone speaks. We also avoided buses for this reason.
The staff are very friendly and most seemed to speak English - except for the breakfast attendants.
We basically walked through a minor maze to get to our room. Which turned out to be small but comfortable. With the standard bed, desk and chair, cupboard, TV (supposed to be satellite, but mostly Italian and German channels), and minibar.
What was supposed to the open air breakfast area was under construction, but no construction was under way (or keeping us awake).
The indoor breakfast nook was charming, but breakfast itself was something I was not accustomed to. There was quite a lot of sweet pastry to be had, but the coffee was good.
The hotel is back to back with a church which has an hourly and half hourly ring. Very convenient as a wake up call at 7am. Fortunately, it didn't toll all through the night though.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 16, 2003
VIA F FILZI 3
Milan, Italy 20124
We ate here two nights in a row, mostly for its convenience and it's name (Limone just rolls off the tongue). The non-smoking seating area was rather cramped and the waitress kept bumping into my bag when squeezing past to get to another table. It was cramped yet cozy. Simple decor with the entre buffy and fruits dessert being the first things you see. It was full on both nights so we were 'smart' and ate early the second night.
The menu is available in English and was my first encounter with what seemed like a restaurant for Hobbits--you know, firsties, secondies, etc. It seems Italians can consume quite a great deal in one sitting, or at least have the option to do so with a choice of starters, three different main meal categories, and dessert. We refrained the first night.
My first Milanese meal being the Costoletta alla Milanese (veal cutlet, Milan style). A bit dry and chewy but a new experience--it helps to make good use of the lemon on the side. My husband enjoyed a rather bland looking Risotto all Milanese. It was good though.
The restaurant seems to be visited by locals (always a good sign) and foreigners alike. Our second night was in the smoking section--much more space! The waiter was rather flamboyant, gesturing and commenting loudly. We enjoyed a mixed platter starter from the buffet. Can't remember the main meal, but I do remember us getting a mouthful when we went to help ourselves to dessert. I thought the other people were just looking at us because we're foreigners and a mixed couple. It turned out the waiter has the honour of slicing fat pieces of cake for us and covering every patch of white plate with some sweet treat. Hey, we'd served ourselves at the starter buffet!
A great restaurant with a variable meny. It's also a lot bigger than we first thought. There's an inner room (probably for locals with reservations only). The staff were friendly and some English speaking and the food was a good first true Milanese cuisine experience.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 14, 2003
Via F. Filzi number 3
Attraction | "Duomo - Milan"
Construction of this ancient church began in 1386, but not completed until the 19th century - when Napoleon was crowned king of Italy.
We walked around the entire Duomo to get our bearings . . . more like gazed wide eyed and open jawed and somehow managed to move one foot in front of the other. Totally amazing . . . you have to see it to truelly understand. The statues and the spectacularity of the details is truelly astounding. Everything seems to tell a story even the doors. And the whole time, I felt as if I was lower on the 'ladder' of life than the sinners as the bottom sculptures. The doors were kinda creepy -- like the ones in the film The Haunting.
Being inside was a conflicting experience. On the one hand we were intruding on people's place of prayer, on the other I wanted to see all the items described in the DK guide book. There's supposed to be a nail from Jesus' cross on display, but the limited access made it difficult to see properly. The stained glass windows also seem to give me the 'bottom of the ladder' feeling. There's an ancient bapistry that you can pay to enter. It's where St Ambrose baptised St Augustine in AD387 -- just remember that all info's in Italian.
And then the big moment we paid to walk up to the roof. Considering how hot it was during our stay (+30 degrees Celcius most days), the step climbing could have been avoided by taking the (more expensive) lift. If you're only in Milan for one day, or a few hours . . . you HAVE to get up to the roof of the Duomo. It's mandatory. I went camera trigger happy up there. And that was just taking pics of the actual Duomo's roof, let alone the city view!
Just be careful to avoid the pigeon feeders as you cross the piazza to get to the Duomo -- they tend to put the feed in your hands without your consent and then . . . the pigeons come.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on June 21, 2003
Milan Cathedral (Duomo)
Piazza Del Duomo
The Tram Turistico is a restored tram from the 1920s, which rolls around the central districts of Milan making its way past the city's highlights. For EUR10 each we were entertained for 1.5 hours. We would have been even more eager to listen and be entertained had we not woken up at 5am to catch our flights to Milan. That combined with the rhythm of the tram and the day's heat left us both a bit drowsy. *sheepish grin*
Our tram ride started outside the Sforza Castle. The ticket allows you to get on and off at any time all day, along the route of the city's sites. This is as long as the tram is still running and only for the day the ticket is valid for. So, if you're spending a day in Milan, this would be a good option. The subway is cheap (EUR1 for 75 minutes) but this affords you the luxury of not having to buy a guidebook if you're only in Milan for a day.
As we rolled along the different sites (Piazza Castello, Duomo, Colonne St. Lorenzo, Darsena, S, Maria delle Grazie, Via Albricci, Porto Venezia, Piazza iv Novembre, Piazza Repubblica, Manzoni, Piazza della Scala, Ponte Vetero) we each had headphones, with recordings in the language of our choice (English, Japanese, Spanish, German, Italian and French), pointing out the sights and their history.
The only downside seemed to be that sometimes 'right' was actually 'left' - so you may want to memorize pictures beforehand to identify what you should be looking out for, although descriptions are given along with a routing map. Also, the windows were thick and pretty high up, so leaning out the window was the best way to get a good picture. It was a bit of a bumpy ride at times (jerking to a halt) but that's part of maneuvering in Milanese traffic.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 17, 2003
Across the road from the Sforza Castle