Milan
Days 1 & 2:
A rainy arrival and Duomo

Milan is considered the global capital of fashion and design; and while not considered to be one of Italy’s more beautiful cities – having once been destroyed by bomb raids during World War II – it is a paradise for shopping and home to one of the biggest and grandest Gothic cathedrals in the world, Duomo di Milano.

Day 1

I arrived on a rainy Monday morning and met my Airbnb host at a cute little sixth-floor apartment ten minutes away from Linate Airport. She greeted me warmly, and showed me everything I needed to know about the apartment. She even stocked the fridge with a few essentials – something I grew to really appreciate during my stay in Milan.

The rain was disappointing, to say the least. However, I was thoroughly jet-lagged and grateful for the excuse to crawl into bed and get some much-needed rest. I slept until about 5pm, freshened up a bit, and FaceTimed my parents. At 7pm, my morning-meeting started in California, so I dialed in for that and got a couple hours of work done. I admit, it was an underwhelming start to my trip but I wanted to put my team at ease and let them know I was still taking my job seriously. Also, it was still raining outside.

It stopped raining at about 9pm, and that’s when I started to get hungry… I ventured out alone in this unfamiliar city, and I have to say I was a bit nervous. In the area I was staying at, it didn’t seem like many people knew English, and everywhere that Google was telling me would still be open for dinner was actually closed when I arrived. I imagine I looked lost or homeless, wandering about the neighborhood looking for something to eat. I managed to find a small pizzeria, and pointed randomly at the menu I couldn’t read. Ten minutes later, they brought out a thick slice of cheese pizza. It tasted yummy, but I am so used to New York style pizza, with its thin but chewy dough, that I wasn’t that impressed. But at least I had gotten out there! I can be a little socially anxious, and traveling alone was proving to be an intimidating feat, but I knew that once I got through my first experience, the rest of the trip would be easier, and it was!

 

Day 2

I woke up at 7am, and the most beautiful light was shining into the bedroom through the balcony doors. I knew I had to get up and look at the view, and I wasn’t disappointed. I was determined to do better on my second day in Milan, and spent some time in the morning setting my intentions. I decided I would take the bus to Duomo and spend the afternoon there.

I am the sort of person that has to know exactly what to do before I do it, and this includes taking public transportation. I grew up in Boston, so I’m no stranger to taking the subway or metro, but I haven’t taken a public bus since I was a kid. I downloaded the ATM Milano app and purchased my e-ticket, and mapped out my route. The bus station ended up being a five-minute walk from my apartment, and it was turning out to be a beautiful day outside. But once I got to the bus stop and saw the bus approaching, I suddenly got anxious! What do I do when I get on the bus? Where do I swipe the QR code from my phone? How do I know the bus is going in the right direction? While I was fumbling around with my phone, the bus left without me! Thankfully, a new bus comes every five minutes, so all I had to do was wait for the next one to arrive, right? You’d think so, but I let my awkwardness get the best of me again, and watched another bus stop in front of me and then pass me by as I was trying to figure out what to do with the mobile app. I thought to myself, “Can I really be this much of an idiot?”

The sun broke through the clouds and Milan seemed to take some pity on me, because an elderly gentleman appeared to wait for the next bus with me. I instantly felt at ease because I knew I could just follow his example! It turns out, you do not need to show your ticket to anyone unless they ask you. You just get on the bus and sit down. It’s funny now, but I was really frustrated with myself at the time.

Finally, I arrived at Duomo, and what a sight it was to see!

I had bought Skip-The-Line tickets from tiqets.com and after I visited the ticketing office to pick up the paper-tickets and my audio guide, I was ready to go inside. I did eat a quick meal at a restaurant in the Galleria first… the food was okay; nothing to write home about. In general, I was underwhelmed with the food in Milan.

The inside of Duomo was as breathtaking as the outside and the audio guide I had picked up had all sorts of fascinating information… like, did you know that it took nearly six centuries to complete? Mind-boggling.

When I finally ventured back outside, it had started to drizzle a bit – I was bummed out because I didn’t have time to climb up to the terrace where I’m told the views of the city are amazing. But, I’m due to come back to Milan at the end of my trip before flying back to Boston, so I can always come back to check it out!

Stay tuned for Day 3 and 4 of my stay in Milan.

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