Italy was different. Italy was breathtaking, Italy was mind boggling, a place that gave me so much to think. Train rides provide one of the best therapeutic experiences. They give you ample time to give thought to the things you’ve long wanted to ponder on, and the architectures there gave me a sense of what I wanted. I don’t think I am exaggerating, but out of all the places I’ve been to, I wouldn’t mind settling in Italy.
Arriving at Malpenso Airport, we decided to get mobile data, then finding at a coffee place in the airport whilst waiting for our train. #tip1: get data, you’re gonna need it if you’re travelling without a guide. Google maps is your best friend throughout the trip. You can get it at places such as Tim. Getting coffee and pastries there was basically watch-and-learn. You select your pastry, pay for it and order your coffee at the same time, then move forward to the counter with your receipt in hand to wait for your coffee. You could say it’s like Starbucks.
#tip2: you should know typically, coffee in Italy is an Espresso. So if you are from America, don’t expect to have your tall Starbucks cup coffee, that would be known as “Americano” in Italy.
Excitement kicks in when it’s time to board the train, and #tip3: if you already got data, don’t get all excited and start accessing your social media platforms. Plug in some music, look out of the train’s window and admire. Perhaps you can prepare to take a few shots. Trust me it’ll be worth it.
We used Google maps (told ya it was important) to get to our hotel to leave our luggage and then found a place off the streets for lunch.
First stop, Golden Triangle.
We took a metro and you can easily get a ticket at EURO1.50 at any of the many kiosks available at the station. #tip4: if you look around, you can find a small booth that sells the tickets which are already printed out. You just have to pay EURO1.50 per ticket to the person. It is an area selling lots of designer goods and you can take a train to Montenapoleone to get there.
My rating: 7/10
The next day we found ourselves in Duomo di Milano. It is the 5th largest cathedral in the world and took about 6 centuries to complete. You can take a train to the station Duomo.
Upon arriving at Duomo station just follow the directions out, any will lead you out to where the cathedral is. If you’re blessed enough, you’ll walk right out of an exit that brings you straight to the square of the cathedral and leave you in awe as you walk up the stairs and the Duomo slowly comes in sight.
#tip5: many, many people there would hold these sort of “friendship bracelets” and tell you they are just going to give you one just to be nice. DO NOT take it.
I let them put it on me out of kindness, boy did I regret.They’d put the bracelet on you and after snipping the excess off (they used a nail clipper to snip mine), they would demand for money. It is all just a trick. Do not fall for it. Reject them as nicely as you can and then walk away. They usually won’t pester you TOO much.
My rating: 10/10
We didn’t go into the cathedral as there was a queue, but if you wish, the charge for it would be around EURO2.00 and expires after 72 hours.
Right beside the Duomo is the one of the world’s oldest shopping malls, Galleria Vittoro Emanuele. It is opened 24/7 as it is an open concept mall, however, the shops close rather early like most of the other shops in Italy at around 7-8pm.
My rating: 10/10
It is a place where you’d find yourself admiring the architecture more than anything. The place is beautiful and never have I seen any mall like this before. The restaurants located at the side gives you a chance to immerse yourself into life in Italy where many restaurants have tables and chairs located outside the restaurant for you to enjoy your meal at and well, the shops there? They are just a plus.
We pretty much spent the entire day there and later on got gelato from a place called Venchi. I rate the gelato there a 9/10 and their chocolate sorbet is pretty much one of the best I’ve ever had while their mango sorbet is basically THE BEST I’ve ever had.
before your eyes cross because of this lengthy post, I’ll stop right here. Stay tuned for Milan part 2.
don’t forget to always do something insane to stay sane, whilst staying kind and grateful