Hi guys, it feels great to finally put out our first travel post. We got back from a long holiday a couple of days back and we’re so excited to share these series of travel posts with you all. We’ve travelled a fair share around Europe and we believe that the absolute best way to travel across Europe is by car or train. More so by car because the scenic routes can just not to be missed for the world!! We drove for over 16 hours in the company of trees, windmills, mountains and cattle. Especially during the summer months, the experience is extraordinary and if you’re fortunate enough you’re going to have occasional, mesmerizing rainbow sightings. The journey surprisingly did not seem long at all since we kept stopping by whichever town, city or country impressed us. We started out to discover what is known to be one of the richest countries in art, culture and architecture: Italy and the first city we decided to visit had to be the coveted city of fashion and design in Italy, Milan, the capital of Lombardy, is home to a population of 1.3 million people. Milan also internationally known as the fashion capital of the world and rightly so; the streets of Milan seem no less than a fashion runway from people strutting down the street looking like they just stepped out of a high fashion photo shoot.
Where we stayed
We stayed the night at the Enterprise hotel, a 7th-floor spa with panoramic views; the Enterprise Hotel was a pleasure to stay at. It is located near the Mico Convention Centre, less than a 10-minute walk from Domodossola metro stop and 850 m from Fiera Milano City. The hotel displays elegant interiors, parquet floors and beautiful artwork in every nook and corner. It signified pure Italian craftsmanship!
We landed there on a Saturday morning, just in time for a perfect weekend all set to discover the gorgeous city. We couldn’t be more thrilled to be there. Since we happened to be there during the weekend, the streets were ever so bustling and crowded. There were live shows on the streets displaying talents such as dance, singing, acrobatics, salsa and what not. It all adds to the beauty of the city, every building in the province speaks out to you, the intricacy and the detailing is to a whole other level.
Visit the Duomo
We started out fairly predictable, wanting to see the Duomo Cathedral. This majesty stands tall in the centre of the heart of the city in all its glory. This architectural marvel really has the power to take your breath away and leave you awestruck. This work of art took almost 600 years to complete and the attention to detail simply cannot be overlooked. It is also one of the 5th largest churches in the world and even in Italy, a country that loves its cathedrals; it is the second largest church measuring 520-feet by 302-feet and is big enough to accommodate 40-thousand worshipers. There were thousands of people queued up to enter the cathedral and I couldn’t help but wonder how stunning must this creation look on the inside. We got our tickets and waited enthusiastically for about 25 mins in the queue. The weather at this point was quiet hot but bearable, this could also because people who call Dubai home have a high endurance for heat 😛
For the ones visiting, make sure you cover your shoulders and knees before you enter the church. What seemed like a long wait was just so worth it when we entered the church. The inside was just as beautiful as the outside. We understood why the ever so persistent debate regarding the style of the church exists. On closer assessment you will notice that the Milan Cathedral is both Gothic and Neo-Gothic in style this is because of the length of time it took to complete the church, architectural details crossed a mixture of design influences. We spent about an hour in a half in church and we also visited the top of the cathedral which offered one of most overwhelming views of the city which we couldn’t get enough of. But we had a lot more to explore so we made a move to our next stop.
Admire the Last Supper
We were really excited about seeing the famous painting by Leornado the Vincci, ‘the last supper’. On arrival we found out that it was fully booked and unfortunately we couldn’t make it inside. But for the ones visiting, make sure you book tickets prior to your visit.
Eat like the Italians
By this time we were famished and if there was anything else other than the fashion we were really looking forward to about visiting Italy was the food. I’m a sucker for good pasta, pizza and risotto dishes and I knew I was in for something special right when I entered this cosy little cafe in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. The aroma of fresh Italian herbs and wood-fired pizza drove me impatient for what was the most delicious meal of my life!!
Our order comprised of cheese and spinach risotto, garden pizza, garlic bread, penne arabiatta and alferdo pasta! The dishes were cooked to perfection, and we couldn’t spot a single flaw in any of the dishes. They were just perfect!!
Immerse yourselves into Gelato
The end of the meal called for some gelato. Of course while in Italy use pretty much any excuse to eat gelato. This isn’t so difficult since there’s a gelato stop every few miles. The gelato in Italy just about anywhere is indescribable. You’ve got to try it to know exactly what I’m trying to talk you through. It’s difficult, but if I had to choose one flavor that is a must-try it’s got to be the lotus biscoff.
Shop till you drop
Now for the most exciting part, the shopping in Milan! If you’re a fashion victim, Milan could prove to be detrimental to your pockets. But I can assure you it’s going to be worth it!! The shopping in a city that eats, breathes and lives for fashion is truly a quintessential experience. The city stores surprises in abundance for everyone; from superlative designer stores, boutiques and even outlets ranging from the uber-expensive, to the very affordable whilst still maintaining the best of quality and sophistication that Italian fashion is well-known for.
Step back in time in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
We first visited the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, the world’s oldest shopping mall. The structure is truly an establishment not to be missed even if you are not that into shopping. The building comprises of the best of haute couture, with famous names including Armani, Prada, Versace, Louis Vuitton and Roberto Cavalli. We were utterly mesmerized by the collections on display in these spaces, giving out a sense of the seasons top trends. The outlets here bear an uncanny resemblance to museums rather than shops. If you decide to take a break from all the shopping you can sip on some coffee in one of the cafes or simply just admire the mosaic marble floors and the monumental architecture. It is all just breathtakingly beautiful!!
Shopping around the Duomo
If you’re looking for your favorite departmental stores and you’re running short of time you’ll find tonnes of lined down under the shadow of the Duomo. The area around the Duomo also caters to shoppers looking for coveted design and technology objects, jewellery, makeup and several fabulous restaurants and gourmet shops.
Spotting our favourite stores such as Zara, pull and bear, Hnm, stradvarious (to name a few) lined up just about around each other was so thrilling since these stand-alone stores were 3-4 storey and each of these stores were what seemed to me like a size of a mall!! The variety found here can compare to nowhere else in the world from what I hear and undeniably agree with. One could never in fact understand the phrase ‘shop till you drop’ till they visit Milan.
What may appear to be a hotel lobby is in fact a Zara outlet in Milan and we spent about 2 hours here and still couldn’t get enough!!!