After our wonderful 4 days in Florence, we moved on to Milan. As before, we took the train, which was both efficient and pleasant. (I make that comment because after many years of commuting to London on English trains, you learn not to expect either efficiency or pleasantness, much less cleanliness!)
I had been to Milan once before, meeting Kenton there after his business meetings finished. That time, we stayed at the best hotel in town (expenses!) and ate at one of the most impressive restaurants in the city.
It’s a way of traveling that we no longer do, and don’t really miss. Sure, it was great to make the bucks “back in the life”, and to spend more freely. But that kind of life exacts a heavy price – working incredibly long hours, traveling every week, and seldom seeing each other. Over the long haul, it’s just not worth it. Now? We live on a budget and travel accordingly, and have just as much fun as ever!
We stayed at what was supposed to be a 4 star hotel in Milan. Kenton explained that hotels in Milan are a real problem. There aren’t enough rooms for the need most of the time, and that results in hotels that are overprice and short on service. This one was no exception.
No matter. We walked and walked and walked, as per usual. We saw the Milan Duomo (imposing and gothic), La Scala, and the Navili canals (just our luck, they’d been emptied!).
We had a lovely conversation with a Canadian shoe designer and her partner, there for a big shoe trade show. (I had to salivate just at the thought of seeing all those shoes!)
Milan is the headquarters for many of the big designers, so the big names are all well represented. Just as interesting, there are many small, more exclusive designers there – but this was not a shopping trip for us, so it was very much “look but don’t touch”! We walked along the via Monte Napoleone, where we saw many people taking pictures of the designs, which they will take home and copy for the markets and high streets. I admire that.
We did not have particularly great food. Milan is not particularly known for its food, and I see why. There were not the wealth of neighborhood trattorias that we had come to expect, so we had to work hard to find a decent place to eat.
The architecture also did not have the interest of Florence and other Italian cities, mainly because it was heavily bombed during the second world war. They have rebuilt, of course, but the huge, imposing buildings don’t have the grace of earlier times.
At the end of the two days, we were ready to travel home, but what an incredible holiday – relaxing with great food and time well spent in one of our favorite countries!