It all started last year! That sentence is there for more drama than anything, really 😉
So, I thought of going to Italy last May. And I booked the tickets on a Thursday evening. And I looked up a few cities that would be a part of my week long plan that Friday and bookmarked the places on Google Maps. Then my husband came that evening and said he was casually speaking to a few friends and they said that the visa interview dates might not be available at the Italian consulate right away.
And then I looked up the Italian consulate website and realized that the earliest interview dates available were about a fortnight after my trip ended. Saddened, (more worried that I’d have to pay the cancellation fees because it was past 24 hours), I called the Chase Preferred Card services to ask if I could cancel it without any fees. I had made the booking through them the previous evening, for some reason. Even though the rep insisted that I could book it online.
Coming back to that call, the rep whom I was speaking to, regarding cancelling put me on hold for a few minutes and then told me that I could cancel them in the next two-three minutes without incurring the fees. I excitedly told her to go ahead. She was wanting to ask me some question or something and I was like, just do it 🙂
And she happily did. Some googling told me that booking through the Chase preferred services gave me that extra few hours to cancel. I’d bought the tickets around 6:45 the previous evening and this call was past 11 PM this evening! Booking online would probably have meant paying extra to cancel.
Friends suggested just going to another consulate to get the visa, but for some reason, I wasn’t sold on that.
Anyway, glad that things turned out fine. And it ended up being a short Scandinavia trip that time.
Fast forward to this year, I was looking up fares to Italy for at least three weeks, seeing prices go up and down and then up and up, thinking I unnecessarily delayed. And then, on a Friday evening, I saw what looked like a great price on Emirates and booked the round trip to and from Milan.
And then, some more planning began on looking things up and having an ambitious plan in mind. And so many thoughts. Since it’s a round trip from Milan, should I just do the Northern Italy, and French Riviera? Or all of Italy (by all, I mean as much as I could in two weeks).
A colleague of mine suggested to stick to Florence, Rome and Venice and save the rest for later. When I told her that I was planning to do Milan, Rome, Florence, Venice, Cinque Terre, Amalfi Coast all in these two weeks, she thought I was crazy! 🙂 Especially with a toddler in tow.
But I still decided to do all of that anyway! And yes, it was a little ambitious and in hindsight would’ve changed a thing or two, but still done those. And thanks to my colleague, I added Capri, which I would probably not have, otherwise.
So my flight landed in Milan past noon, and by the time we got to the city center and the Airbnb accommodation (read about it here – Hotels & Accommodations: Argentina B&B Milan – nycbonviveur), it was past 2 PM. Add to it some check in time and freshening up, it was almost 3 I’d say, by the time we were out on our way.
Reading that the duomo closes by 5, we decided to save it for the second day. What am I doing, spending a second day in Milan, you say? Well, I decided to take it easy, for the husband. Who, being the pessimist that he is, said I did it for me, not him.
It was difficult to explain to him that had it been for me, I would’ve done the duomo today, most definitely and spent the next day in Lake Como and Bergamo!
Anyhoo, this day, we just walked. And walked. Then walked by the Montenapoleone neighbourhood which looked all pish-posh. A stop was warranted at Pasticceria Confetteria Cova for some coffee, wine and pastries. Then walked some more. All the way from our accommodation to Navigli. And I must say, the pictures didn’t impress me, but I was glad I came here anyway. It was bustling on this Saturday evening and had a nice vibe to it.
Had I not had this extra day in Milan, I probably wouldn’t have come here. So we strolled around a bit and went for dinner El Brellin.
On our way back, we did stop for some gelato at a little shop by there and then took the public transport to our accommodation.
Easy day, right? The plan was to start early to go to Bergamo next morning and come back by noon at the latest. But not having booked the train tickets meant I couldn’t rush and push my husband enough! That meant having to take the 9 AM train to Bergamo. The half day spent there was well worth it – the views from Castello di San Vigilio were quite amazing. They say the views are fairytale-esque if you go there early enough, to catch the fog and all. But this wasn’t bad. It wasn’t a clear day, but the views were great.
And it’s an easy bus ride from across the station to the funicular that gets you to the castle. We took the bus, went up the funicular, came down the funicular and took the bus back to the city center, in all of 75 mintues – the validity duration for one ticket. Not bad, eh. Of course, if you have more time, spend some more of that around the Castello.
Had we had tickets, we would’ve probably made it back to Milan by noon, but we didn’t and had to wait an hour. That meant grabbing a little bite at Chips House – Amsterdam’s Fried Food.
Back to Milano Centrale, and then a subway (metro) to Duomo! It was grand. We got a look of it as soon as we exited the metro. We then headed to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, which is a must-see, if not a must-shop. Enjoyed some gelato, swung around on the bull’s balls, which is meant to bring you good luck. Admired the huge shopping complex and the frescoes some more before heading to the Duomo.
Of Gothic architecture, the Milano Duomo is second in size to St. Peter’s Basilica in Italy, and third in the world. Largest, being Seville’s. So glad to have seen these three recently, between last November and this April. So yes, it was grand from the outside, simple from the inside, and a nice stay area from up on the top. This was the easiest to climb, having elevator almost all the way up.
After we came down, we spent some time down there, debating where to go for an early dinner. And then, while walking, we lost each other. The hubster was with the child and his phone’s batter died. And he being the argumentative and angry him, decided that setting up a rule in case we lost each other in the future was not necessary. His thought was we should rather find each other than waiting for each other at the last place we both knew we were at (like where we last stopped or last spoke to each other – say 10 minutes before and all). And he being the angry he, wanted to head to the accommodation. At 5:30 PM. Without having dinner!
Not wanting him to spoil my day, I strolled around some bit, before deciding on dining at Cocopazzo.
And with that, I wrapped my day in Milan before taking the train back to the accommodation.
On the day of our return flight to New York, we had a few of hours to spend. But I guess we were too tired and just wanted to be home. We just walked from the Centrale station to almost the Brera district, and then back!
In hindsight, this is what I would’ve done differently. Had the extra day in Milan on the day prior to this, rather than while traveling in. That way, I think I would’ve been better able to utilize these few hours.
Here are the photos!