|Thursday 17th May 2007 was Ascension Day in
Germany and a public holiday. It was the perfect opportunity for us to
take the Friday off and making it a long weekend. The plan this time, was
to drive to the Italian fashion capital of Milan and return to Germany via
the medieval Italian city of Verona.
As Italy is not connected to Germany, we
would pass through a thin strip of land in Austria, this will be a three
country visit over the long weekend. We planned to spend 2 nights in Milan
and 1 in Verona followed by 2 nights in the Austrian Alps for a bit of a
At the commencement of the drive, the
Navigation system calculated a route taking 450 km, taking some 5½ hours
to Milan. However, by selecting the "Use Motorways" and "Dynamic
Route" option, we were presented with a new route taking 563km but taking
1 hour off our original route. The result was a trip that would
only take 4½ hours, passing through the Austrian city of Innsbruck.
While the Navigation system performed well
for us in Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic, it didn't perform
well in Italy and in particular, Milan.
Munich to Milan is 560km using Motorways
Italians greet you with a “Boungiorno” if you
happen to be looking their way while the younger ones offer a friendly smile in
return. Australia being the country with the largest population of Italians
outside Italy ensures that we were used to the Italian way of life. We
therefore found that in Milan, things were pretty much normal, as the
culture was suited to our own. In general, we found the
Italians very friendly which makes this trip a real fun one.
Right outside the Milan Town Hall,
is a statue of Leonardo da Vinci.
|We stayed in a business hotel just outside of
Milan, but is 200m away from Porto Mare subway station called
Metro. Taking into account that we've braved the Toyko subway system,
the Milan Metro is a piece of cake. After checking in, our first stop of was visit the world famous
Cathedral of Milan, known as the Duomo, pictured at the top of this page.
The Duomo took 500 years to be completed and is quite a spectacular
sight, the imposing white coloured structure is decorated with over
5,300 statues placed all around the many spires of the building. Inside,
was of equal magnificence with a myriad of murals and art covered
stain glass windows, magnificently sculptured altars and other decorations.
Being late, we missed out on the elevator trip to the top of the Duomo as we
understand that it offers a spectacular view of the city of Milan. Piazza del
Duomo, the large square which the Duomo is, is also the home to many other
structures. One of which is a rather large arch...
This imposing arch is the entrance to
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, reputed to be the world's oldest shopping mall.
Apart from the large number of restorante (Restaurants) and tratorrias
(kinda like a bistro), a McDonalds and an autogrill, there are a variety of
stores to be found such as Louis Vuitton, Prada etc. What is an autogrill,
you ask? Well, the first time I saw autogrill was on the motorway in Italy.
It is essentially a highway diner “square” with several businesses operating
with it – the one at the Piazza del Duomo had Burger King (aka Hungry Jacks
in Australia), a restaurant and a snack bar.
We also visited the Basilica di Sant' Ambrogio
via subway. It is the is the oldest
church in Milan and whilst not as famous as the Duomo Milan, is the
prettiest, at least from the inside as there’s nothing to write home about
from the outside. The remains of the patron St. Ambrose still lies within the church
and is for the viewing public below the main altar.
Our strategy for this short trip was to take
an Open top tour bus to see the city, identifying where we would like to
stop for a closer look. Unfortunately, we were only able to take 1 out
of the 2 routes offered by the Open top bus, due to time constraints.
|As many would know, along with Paris since
the 1980’s Milan has been a fashion capital of the world. Therefore, it goes
without saying that we should spend time at Milan's shopping districts made
famous by brand names such as Armani, Prada, Gucci, Dolce &
Gabana, Salvatore Ferragno & Miu Miu to name a few.
The short stay in Milan gave us a very good impression of what the city
was like and an idea of what we have missed, enough reason to say that
this is also a city we would like to return sometime soon. It also
gave us newfound eagerness to visit Venice and Florence as we understood
that compared to Milan, these cities are prettier. but for the moment,
the journey for us continues to Lake Garda
and then Verona.
Souvenir Hunters in Mian