Milano - Fa Fa Fa Fa Fashion.....

Trip Start Mar 03, 2005
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Trip End Mar 04, 2006


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Flag of Italy  ,
Wednesday, January 4, 2006

I left Firenze in the morning to another sunny day. The train ride from Santa Maria Novella to Milano Centrale is around 3 hours. I almost needed the sunglasses early on, but just out of Bologna a pea soup fog set in. From Parma northwards, the fields and pastures are covered with a decent snow coverage. The further north you go, the colder it gets.

My hotel in Milano is around the train station area, a necessity given I have to catch a bus from the train station to go to the airport at 4.30am in the morning to catch my flight to Spain. Ugh!

The hotel informs me of the places to see in Milan, and points out that it is a great time to be here - the post Christmas sales are on. My motto of "I shop like a girl" may come into play here. They tell me that it is not all high end fashion here - there is more than Prada, D&G and Armani in Milano. There is stuff that is affordable.

I wandered the streets to Viale Buenos Aires, the hub of the non-stupidly expensive shopping area of Milan. Shop to shop, the bargains don't seem to be around. Neither are the crowds. I for one don't think it is a decent post-Christmas sale unless there is the chance of a horrific injury from a pushy Nanna fighting you for the discounted goods. Around 30% off is the going rate on specials, but the "special" price is usually still the "too bloody high" price for my liking.

In the late afternoon I made the trek out of the centre of Milan to, you guessed it, the Fitness First Milano branch. Buff city here in Milano - if you don't have a tan then you don't stand a chance. The Sunbed gets a decent run at the Gym. Alas I could not understand the Italian instructions, so I remain lily white, as any sun that I received in the early days of November in Egypt has well and truly now gone.

I jumped aboard a tram to make my way back into Milano Centro. Milan has old yellow rattlers, similar to the old green rattlers that graced Melbourne's tram tracks for decades. They are old school, and very charasmatic I find. I jumped off at the Milano Duomo, which is the hub of Milan's older buildings, and did some night photography of the area. Alas, the Duomo is getting itself a major league face lift at the moment, with scaffolding everywhere. After all, it is from Milan. They will probably roll in a giant sunbed for it at some stage.

Back into the centre of town in the morning for a closer look, I started off with the innards of the Duomo. This one is an absolute gem on the inside, with beautiful windows and paintings adorning the walls. Outside it is a mass of gothic carvings and statues, stretching to the sky.

Next door is Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, which is a large historical shopping passegiata. Here lies shops for Prada, D&G, Rolex, and unusually McDonalds. Through to the other side is the world's most famous opera venue, La Scala. For a limited time each day, the doors are opened to the public, for a fee. I wandered in for a look, as the chances of me having the time, and the cash to see an opera here is minimal. It truly is grand, with six levels of "superboxes" (pardon the Sports Stadium description) covered in red velvet and gold.

Heading up Via Dante brings you to Castello Sforzesco, which was once the city fortress. Now it holds a museum of furniture, scultptures and the odd Michelangelo. Snow still lies within the grounds of the Castello and surrounding parks.

After a wander of the streets, I was back on the tram... the number 19 up Viale Magenta to the Gym. I must get my money's worth out of it, even though it isn't costing me a cent.

Italians from outside of Milano tend to bag this town a little. Most don't like it or its people. Perhaps it is the in-your-face focus on what you MUST wear (dahhhrling), or the slight grittiness to the place, that makes other Italians reluctant to say they like Milano. I actually liked its slight exhubirence, though 2 days is hardly enough time to truly get a feel for the fashion capital of Europe, allegedly.

My final Italian meal - mounds of bread and oil, a large Insalata Mista, an enormous plate of Spaghetti alla Matriciana, and a final Caffe Macchiato. While I remain a kilo or two down, yet not in too bad shape due to some regular gyming, I do seem to have a slight Italian tyre around the waist. I suspect its a Pirelli, caused by Fusilli.

Tomorrow I return to Spain briefly, before heading into Morocco. I wasn't coming to this country on this jaunt. Somehow I have stayed 6 weeks over two visits. Italy is right up there with my favourites in the world. It is true that I adore the place. Italia - it is impossible to deny that there is a little bit of her that will remain in my heart wherever I may go.

And in my stomache as well.
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