As it’s coming to the end of the year I thought I really should catch up on the blogs I should have written! This is the oldest one about our trip to Milan. I was lucky enough to win flights from Ireland West Trad. we could pick any destination from Ireland West Knock airport (except Paris because it wasn’t a direct flight). I’ve always wanted to go to Italy so we picked there. The flights may have been free but we had to pay for accommodation (which wasn’t cheap), also as it was Ryanair we flew with they say Milan but it’s an hour away.
It was great to be able to fly from Knock, it’s such a handy airport for us as it’s only 40 minutes away. I know people complain about having to pay €12 to leave the country from there but it’s a lot cheaper than having to travel to Dublin and usually stay overnight somewhere. Now if only they could sort out their car parking charges I’d be happy 😉
After arriving at Bergamo airport we got a coach to Milan Central Station. The central station (above) is beautiful but unfortunately there are a lot of beggars there and of course us with our cases attracted the wrong kind of attention so we quickly moved (we were being followed) so we saw a McDonalds and headed there. Of course that got me really worried about us getting mugged and I was stressed so it didn’t start the holiday very well at all. We managed to find the metro station we needed and after getting lost a bit we found our hotel. I was very relieved that we got there in one piece.
The hotel we stayed in was quite nice. It’s a bit odd having cake for breakfast…but I’m not going to complain 😉 the worst thing was the noise. We were right above a busy bus/tram line and it seemed to run for most of the night. When it did finally stop we could hear party goers and sirens. So certainly not a relaxing break.
We enjoyed looking around the Duomo and even went up on the roof to get a look over Milan. Again it was expensive and even to take photos inside the Duomo it cost extra. I almost got stung outside there when I was feeding pigeons with bread and a man put bird seed on my hand and asked for €15!! So you do really need your wits about you. To be honest it’s put me off going back to Italy again and it’s a shame because it was a place I always wanted to visit.
As it’s Milan we expected and got lots of designer shops. This shopping centre is just across from the Duomo, it seems like some people chose fashion as their religion. As for me I’m not a shopper but I couldn’t help but be impressed by this beautiful building.
I suppose my favourite day was when we went to the Parco Sempione. It is a beautiful park and it was a really hot day when we went there. We were able to sit on the benches and try the gelato (which was lovely).
We also went to visit an aquarium that was located in the park and it was cool in there 🙂
Another day we spent shopping although on that day it poured with rain, so it was just like being in Ireland! After being rained on we found a lovely place for lunch and they spoke English!! which was great because we’d really been struggling with our phrasebook and ended up getting all kinds of food!!
This place was lovely though and very well priced as well. All went well until we had to use the toilet:
Reblogged this on Lost in The World Map.
I’m half-Italian so you know where I’m coming from : Have had a couple days here and there on tours to visit and Milan was one stop. I can’t complain about a single thing right now about any travels I’ve taken EXCEPT for a hotel in Queens on a trip back from Milan (and the fact the airline had to fly back to the states to get a part before we could belatedly leave Milan). I even enjoy getting lost. It’s good to know you can go non-stop from Knock to Milan. Can you fly into Knock from the states, do you know? Thanks for sharing the photos.
I usually enjoy getting lost but not when I feel uncomfortable in a place.
Knock doesn’t fly to the states but Dublin airport is only around 2 and a half hours from here, I think Shannon is closer still.
You stopped off in QUEENS, Judy? Was it when I was still living there? How great it would’ve been had we met up there. Not sure if you can fly to and from the US from Knock. Will check the next time I need to drive the hubby there for one of his business trips.
Looks beautiful. I wouldn’t judge on just the one visit to the one place though. I loved Siena and Trieste, but felt as you did about Milan when I went to Venice. I would have to say Italy is worth another shot and would recommend Siena/Pisa with a visit to Florence or Trieste and train to Verona with a dip into Venice. Rome is difficult to pigeonhole and can be tricky, etc.
Yes you are right, I shouldn’t base it on one visit. I think the fact I was so stressed at the start really didn’t help. In hindsight I think we should have headed for the lakes, it probably would have been much more my kind of place.
Oh…my…stars, Val! The urinals! In Milan! I had the same ‘experience’! We still laugh about it all these years later (but I assure you, I wasn’t laughing at the time – ugh).
I loved most of the little bit of (mostly northern) Italy that we visited. Bergamo and Milan and Verona were all okay (except for the Milan urinal experience!), but I have to say that Venice definitely did. I fell in love with Venezia the way most people fall in love with Paris (and I loved Paris).
I had an ‘interesting’ experience in Venice too, within minutes of arriving there. Some 20-something petty thief was walking alongside side me and all the other tourists, and all of a sudden, I felt a hand way too close to my right side/hip, where my over-the-shoulder satchel was hanging. He was, of course, feeling around for a wallet or a camera. As soon as I realised what he was doing/about to do, and that it wasn’t my hubby giving me a little ‘love squeeze,’ I looked at this fella (he was quite good looking and well-dressed, not like a beggar at all), and – I don’t know what came over me, but I actually looked at him straight in the face and – I swear to you this is the god’s honest truth – I smacked his hand – HARD! – as he was trying to get my camera out of my bag!
Normally, that would’ve completely not only freaked me out, but would’ve ruined the entire holiday. But for some reason I cannot explain or even understand, I was not at all intimidated or afraid of this guy, and it all happened within 5 or 10 seconds, at the most. I just instantly reacted. When the guy, clearly embarrassed (his face took on the appearance of a naughty schoolboy who’d just been caught and chastised, lol!), qand ran away into the crowd, completely out of sight within seconds of this happening.
When I told the hubby what had just happened, he not only couldn’t believe it, but then he got really upset and cross with me for doing what I did – for all I knew, this guy could’ve had a knife…or worse! To this day, I still have no clue what possessed me to be so ‘brave’ as to not only not be afraid at all, but to actually smack the guy!
But for all that (and this happened at the very beginning of our four days in Venice), I loved Venice. I loved every bit of it. Next time you go to Italy (I hope you will return there one day), Venice is wonderful, as were the two islands off Venice – Burano and Murano, and also, as you mentioned, the Lakes. If we ever get a chance to go again, it’ll be Venice again definitely, but also Florence and Rome, and yes, Trieste, too.
Uh – oh. Now look what’s happened – I want to read ‘Eat Pray Love’ and order some pizza and pasta and some wine! 🙂
Sorry for rabbitting on so long…but the photos (and especially the last one, of the urinal – in Milan of all places!) just took me down memory lane. Thanks for sharing the photos and your experiences with us, Val.
You were very lucky that man didn’t hurt you June. I’m glad it didn’t put you off your trip. I was very put off the crowd that were following us when we arrived in Milan, it just made me wary about the whole place.
As for the urinal Lucy was saying she wasn’t going to use it but in the end she had to, I think she was trying to be some kind of spiderman and just sort of dangle over it!! You’d think in this day and age they’d be a thing of the past.
Yep, Lucy and I had the exact same reaction as well as exact same experience with the urinal. It was in a lovely little cafe, too. But, like Lucy, I had no choice in the matter, and what had to be done…had to be done. Ugh.
I know…I know…it was very, very foolish of me to smack that thief’s hand out of my bag like I did. In all honesty, I don’t know what possessed me to react that way. I guess maybe it was because I was so enchanted with Venice from the moment we arrived and was in such a great mood, coupled with the fact that we were surrounded by so many hordes of people (mostly tourists) alongside us in every direction, that I didn’t feel as vulnerable as I would’ve felt if it was at night, on a lonely, empty street. And also, the sun was shining, and the thief didn’t look grungy or dangerous, but quite handsome and very smartly dressed – he didn’t look like a pickpocket (whatever a pickpocket is supposed to look like…). My husband, understandably and justifiably so, was very, very cross with me for the rest of that day,. I don’t blame him, though – it was an extremely irresponsible thing to do, but it was just a spontaneous response.
I hope you will return to Italy one day, though. It’s truly a beautiful country – and I’ve only visited just the northern part of it.