Hastings Battleaxe visits Milan.
This is the first of two posts about our holiday to Milan and Lake Maggiore. We spent three days in Milan - I think that was enough.....
|The Duomo, Mil|
Caught the Airport Bus to Milan Central Station - quite easy, and our hotel was very near there.
|Hotel Berna- nothing fancy to look at.|
It was quite cheap by expensive Milan standards, but our every wish and comfort was thought of, and catered for. The staff were pleasant and helpful. Our room was quiet, with efficient (quiet) air conditioning and an amazingly comfortable bed. The soft-drink mini-bar was free. There was a kettle, tea, coffee, milk and biscuits. The bathroom was large, modern and well-equipped. Downstairs there was a lounge area with free tea, coffee, croissants, free to use PCs with printers, a bar with an amazing free early evening nibbles buffet that was so substantial that one night we didn't eat any dinner. And the breakfast buffet! Wow! Everything! I disgraced myself by having cereal and fresh fruit followed by thick hot chocolate with fresh croissants to dip into it.... If that was not enough, literally next door to the hotel was a reasonably priced friendly little restaurant.
On the first evening we took a walk round the immediate area - Milan is huge, and rather a grey city. Much of it is modern, but plenty of old buildings.
|Street by the hotel.|
The first cafe we encountered was, would you believe, a cat cafe.... The Crazy Cat Cafe....One of those places where the kitties are free to roam round the customers. Am always a bit suspicious of such things but this one was very spacious and the cats had plenty of space to escape the customers' attentions, including a whole network of aerial walkways. The cats looked very cheerful and well cared for, the customers mostly young and hip.
|Queue for the ticket office|
The best thing was was a supposed nail from the True Cross (that cross must have had more nails in than B &Q) which is kept in a little cabinet high up in the roof of the choir. Apparently once a year the Bishop of Milan is hoisted up there on a special cradle, to fetch the nail out and hold I t aloft. Rather him than me - it was terrifyingly high.
|There's the nail - up there in the middle....|
Next, we wandered through the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, and stopped for a coffee in probably the most expensive pavement cafe in Europe. The galleries are very impressive, some of the passers-by more so, and the prices more impressive still. A bit later, real masochists, we stopped at yet another pavement cafe for lunch... The coffee stop cost 15 euros (£15 quid these days). Lunch.... 55 euros for a very modest repast.
Then, on to La Scala. I had toyed with the idea of getting tickets, but went off it when I realised that to get a seat where you could actually see anything - stalls or the front row of a box, would be mind-numbingly expensive. However, our visit to the theatre did include a good look at the famous auditorium from one of the boxes. For me, that was one of the highlights of the trip....
The next day we wandered round the fashion district. We saw some nice old buildings en route.
Then, the next day, it was time to get the train to Stresa, on Lake Maggiore. Milan Central Station is not for the faint-hearted. Huge, heaving, vaguely fascist in architectural style.... But we managed - on to the next.....
Well, we saw some interesting things but it is not an easy city to get to know - and it is not like other Italian cities we have visited. Public transport seemed excellent - but it is so big.... Would we want to go back - no. Sadly, not even for the lovely hotel!