We left Hotel Palym early next morning to board TGV train departing from Paris Gare de Lyon to Milan Centrale (7:42am – 2:50pm). That’s a total of 7 hours ride as the train will be passing through Switzerland before reaching Italy. I think the ideal scenario was to reduce journey time by stopping over in one of the Swiss cities, but we didn’t have that many days for this trip. I will definitely be back to check out the Swiss wonders.
The scenic view along the way makes the journey less boring, plus the ride was very comfortable. Food served on the train was not too bad but definitely overpriced.
And finally, we arrived at Milan, Italy’s economic powerhouse and a major transportation hub in Europe. A bustling modern city which is among the forerunners in the world of fashion, the understated ‘Made in Italy’ labels are known for their quality. Numerous stylish fashion boutiques by local brands filled up the shopping arena, I’m talking about Armani, Bottega, Dolce & Gabbana, Ferragamo, Fendi, Gucci, Prada, Tod’s, Valentino, Versace, Zegna and many others which I have not heard before.
Hmm…is that the reason why Italians have great fashion taste and dress sense? I wonder.
The magnificent Milan Duomo
Milan Duomo is just 4 stops away from Centrale FS Metro station on M3 Line (Yellow), and the station to alight is a no-brainer – Duomo station. Right out from the metro exit is Piazza del Duomo where the Duomo stands magnificently. FYI: Duomo simply means cathedral and Piazza mean square in Italy. The Gothic cathedral took almost six centuries to complete and its builders’ efforts paid off handsomely, for it looks absolutely stunning.
Three things populate the main square, naming the tourists, pigeons and vendors/ scammers. The first two isn’t much of a problem, we moved among the crowds while hoping the pigeons will not drop us any surprise while taking flight above our heads.
But the third is a nuisance for the vendors/ scammers kept on pestering, wanting to pass us either the free rice grains to feed the pigeons or friendship bands which they claimed to be a free gift to tourists. Both claims are crap as they will demand ‘donation’ once any tourist took the bait. One scammer threw a friendship band to me but I just let it fall and heard him cursing while we walked away.
Milan Duomo continues to impress us on the interior, from its high ceiling down to the nice marble floor. Not forgetting the brilliant artworks, sculptures and the stained glass.
But since the cathedral is famous for its spires, we made our way to the roof to see them up-close. The ticket office is outside and on the right of the Duomo. Indeed, the amazing spires didn’t fail to impress us and I strongly recommend paying the extra for the roof walk.
What a bull in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Next to the Duomo is the equally stunning-looking shopping mall filled with luxury stores and restaurants. Seems like a nice place to spend a lazy afternoon and people watch while sipping a warm cup of coffee.
But the main attraction happens to be the floor mosaic of a bull inside the mall. There’s a saying that if you place your right heel on the animal’s genital area marked by a hole, spin around anticlockwise inside the emblem for three times, will bring good luck to you.
Not sure how much truth to that claim but let me know if anyone has experienced enormous good luck with this weird practice!
Oh ya, the food we had in Milan was good too!
STAY: Hotel New York in Milan review
Hotel New York location is excellent since it’s literally across the street from both Milan Centrale and Centrale FS Metro. But that may be the only plus point I can think of. The room we had looks old, gloomy and could do with a facelift. Internet access is chargeable and breakfast choices are limited.
The rule of depositing our room keys with the reception whenever we leave the hotel is just weird. The stay was ok because of its location but will not stay here again if we are back in Milan.