Sep 10, 2012

Milan, Italy

(Milan Duomo)
My very first taste of Italy was its second largest city, Milan.  We had taken the train in from Switzerland, unprepared to find Milan so.... big.

We labored over a new map and finally located the car rental - Hertz - several blocks away, blocks traversed pulling heavy suitcases on wheels, only to find that Hertz had closed earlier being that it was a Saturday.  We are usually much more prepared than that, but we were off our game this trip.

After several unsuccessful phone calls for the car, we grabbed a taxi to our destination, a high rise apartment complex near the Udine metro station.  Nice location, safe and easy to get around.

We stayed just one night in Milan in the apartment of a stranger we found through Airbnb.  He was wonderful.  He armed us with a key to the place, a map and advice on public transportation and city hot spots where the cool kids hang.  If you go to Milan, I strongly recommend you stay with Paolo.  His bio. His place.  Staying with a local in a foreign country offers a lot more than a hotel.  It is a much more authentic visit.

Milan, after dark, is beautiful, a complete transformation from the Milan of the daylight, which is a harsh, stoic, stern Milan, taking its role as the main hub of the Italian stock market quite seriously.  But Milan at night?  Bedazzling, playful, an extrovert, always teasing, inviting.

We took the metro to the Piazza del Duomo and admired the piazza and church......
 We sat on the steps and acted natural... local... Italian.  Locals met, coming from work, chatting, laughing, catching up and making evening plans.

From the Duomo, we walked towards Three Rivers, a trendy area of street vendors, shops and cafes.  We bargained with the vendors, admired the sparkling lights and sat down at a cafe' with live music featuring an Italian singer singing in the English language, which we later found to be the norm in most of Europe.

We had dessert
practiced our Italian
enjoyed the noise of the city.

We got our car the next day, a Panda, which everybody over there has, but ours?  Ours was

Previous posts on Italy:
First night in Rome, Bicycle Protest at the Colliseum
Florence and the Drive from Venice
Pizza Joint in Rome
Ancient Rome
Art in Rome, a Dali Exhibit

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