Day 15 – Venice > train ride to Milan > sight seeing around Milan > dinner at Brera
Mr Map woke up early in the morning to check out the Rialto market when I was still sleeping. Local markets are always great for photo taking. I heard the seafood at the market is very fresh but we weren’t able to try it as we didn’t have a kitchen to use at our hotel. If you are staying in an apartment with a kitchen and if you can cook, get your fresh ingredients in the market. Otherwise, just go to a restaurants with good reviews for dinner.
We had a lot of food at the breakfast buffet before checking out and got ready for the 2.5hrs train ride to Milan.
The train ride to Milan – a mystery left for me & Mr Map
The train ride was quite comfortable but Mr Map was worried about our 2 big suitcases at the back of our carriage and constantly checking on it. I was more relaxed after traveling for 2 weeks without any nasty encounters or any pick pocket attempts, whilst Mr Map seems to be on high alert at all times. He would sit down hugging his bag for the whole train ride, and I would look at him in bemusement. My attitude would soon change.
There were more passengers getting on and off the train than our previous rides, I’m not sure whether it was because it was the time of our train ride, or whether Milan to Venice is just a very busy route. After a few stops there was a Chinese couple who boarded who were seated separately due to their seat allocation, I guess any spare two seats next to each other were taken by people boarding at Venice. The woman, who was sitting next to me, was fiddling with her phone throughout the train ride and the guy had fallen asleep. Usually I would also use my phone, but I had run out of data.
About 2-3 stops before arriving at Milan, a stylish young man sitting next to Mr Map spoke to the Chinese woman in a language that we didn’t understand (I assume it was Italian) and pointed to the overhead compartment before he left. We didn’t pay attention to this guy because we had no idea what he was saying.
When the train arrived in Milan, the Chinese woman found out that she lost her bag in the overhead compartment which was above her seat, though not directly above. She was almost crying and said she had all her tax refund receipts in this bag. Her male companion and another Chinese man started trying to sort out what they should do next. They were still searching on the train when we left. It was our first time and the only time in Italy that we encountered any pick pockets, or should I say pick luggage.
We had several debates over the next few days whether the stylish young man was actually the one who took her bag or if he was trying to point out to the girl someone who was taking her bag. The truth will forever remain a mystery. We just hope the girl had lost little and had insurance coverage. We just learnt a valuable lesson never to lower your alertness whilst travelling. Always keep your valuables with you at all times.
Our bathroom & the view of our room
We took the subway from Milan Centrale station to Duomo and finally reached our hotel UNA Maison Milano. There is no doubt that it this was our best accommodation during our trip in Italy, though also the most expensive. The room had a very modern decor, spacious and with all the amenities you need. We paid around €240 per night for the room only rate (breakfast not included and no free wifi). It was slightly more expensive for our room in Venice but a lot nicer. Upon arrival, we were offered a welcome drink (coffee/tea/water) in our room and there were some snacks at the lobby for hotel guests. The location of the hotel is perfect for shopping and it is directly opposite, the Duomo.
Address: Via Mazzini, 4 Milan, Italy
Features: prime location, stylish and spacious room, good value for money, close to Duomo metro station
Ranking: #7 of 430 hotels in Milan from Tripadvisor
Duomo Di Milano
We went to see the Duomo di Milano right after we checked-in. It is the most iconic landmark of Milan. The Duomo is a Gothic style cathedral with 135 spires showcase 3200 statues and took nearly 6 centuries to complete. It is the 5th largest church in the world.
We bought the ticket to go up to the top of Duomo di Milano and it took about 200 something steps up. It was not too bad after all the training from climbing up the St Peter’s Basilica and Pisa tower. Alternatively, you can take the elevator which costs about €13 (climbing up on foot cost €8 per person as of Jun 2015). Just make sure you are not wearing any high heels to go up as the roof is on a slight incline and the steps are very small. It is well worth to get to the top as you can take a closer look at the architecture, and is quite impressive.
Duomo di Milano
How to get there: http://www.duomomilano.it/en/map/
We went to another famous landmark of Milan, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, after visiting the Duomo. It is one of the oldest shopping arcades with many luxury retailers nowadays.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
On the ground of the central octagonal, there are four mosaics portraying the Coat of Arms of the three Capitals of the Kingdom of Italy (Turin, Florence and Rome) and the fourth being Milan’s. Legend has it that if a person spins around 3 times with a heel on the testicles of the bull from Turin Coat of Arms this will bring good luck.
Peck – the ultimate food mecca
We were done with the sight seeing for the day and ready to go to the ultimate food mecca, Peck. Both me and Mr Map love to eat and we were getting more and more picky after being spoilt with all the good food in Italy. You can find a great variety of food, and the food seems to be very high quality and not your regular supermarket quality.
Their gelato is very tasty! Especially the Earl Grey tea flavour.
Opening Hours: Mon – 15:30 to 21:00; Tue to Fri – 10:00 to 21:00; Sat – 09:00 to 20:00; Sun – 10:00 to 17:00
Address: via Spadari 9, 20123 Milan
We walked around the city for a while and walked over to the restaurant, Osteria di Brera, recommened by one of the young hotel front desk officer.
The veal ordered by Mr Map was quite good but it was nothing compared with my truffle pasta 🙂 Whilst we usually share mains, I have no doubt that he took more than his fair share of my pasta. Maybe we should order one dish each?
The chocolate mousse
Osteria Di Brera
Opening Hours: 12:00-00:00
Address: Via Fiori Chiari, 8, 20121 Milano
Website: http://www.osteriadibrera.it (Italian official site) / http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187849-d1782937-Reviews-L_Osteria_di_Brera-Milan_Lombardy.html (tripadvisor)
As our trip in Italy was almost coming to the end, our schedule seems to be more relax than before. Milan is mainly about shopping and it seems that the sites (with the exception of Duomo), aren’t as well known as those in Rome and Florence. I have to admit the area around Duomo is perfect for shopping. You can find all the luxury retail brands around Duomo, and we had purposely planned Milan to be our last stop as we could fill up our suitcases
and empty our wallet before flying out. We had a great 1st day in Milan and we were more excited about our visit to the last supper the next day!
Useful travel app in Italy
On an additional note, I found an app called Triposo from itunes which is very handy for travelling in Italy. I found the destination information without carrying our heavy lonely planet guidebook around and doens’t leach your internet data! I highly recommended to download this app before your trip in Italy.
Are you going to Milan? What is your to-do list in Milan? If you enjoy reading my blog, feel free to follow me on twitter @MinionTravel to get the latest update. Thanks for reading 🙂