The purpose of our trip to Milan was to visit Lake Como. We arrived a day before going to Lake Como so we could check out Milan as well.
We stayed in a hotel right beside Milan's central train station. It was very convenient for arriving and leaving Milan. However, I'm not a big fan of that area. Surrounding the train station were many homeless people and people enjoying some midday beverages out of brown paper bags. I felt uncomfortable around the area. I must say though that 2 separate people were extremely kind in giving us directions as we tried to find our way to our hotel. That was greatly appreciated.
The area surrounding the station was quite strange. In my experience in the European cities we have visited so far, around the station is usually a busy area with shopping and restaurants. In Milan, it was very different. There are many empty shops and all of the grassy areas were unkempt and overgrown. It almost had a ghost town feel to it. The station itself was a beautiful building that was certainly an impressive sight upon arrival.
We decided to catch the subway into the Duomo. I wouldn't recommend that for single women travelers. Nothing untoward happened to us, but it was dark and very eerie with few people around. I was happy to have my big strong husband with me ^^
Exiting the subway and walking up to the Duomo was so beautiful! It's the kind of building that is awe inspiring even if you are not one who is usually interested in buildings. Unfortunately,we couldn't go in as even though I thought my outfit was pretty cute .... shorts or skirts above the knees are not permitted inside. We did however take the side entrance and walked up to the roof on the never ending stone staircase. The view is stunning and being able to admire the Duomo close up was well worth it.
Thanks to trip advisor, we had an amazing dinner at Norin caffe bistro. I searched the area we were staying in and this came up as being close by and also one of the top restaurants in Milan. It lived up to it's trip advisor reputation as well! The menu was so extensive and a little over whelming! However, the chef/owner was so wonderful and asked us what kind of things we liked and prepared a meal just for us! I was longing for some cannelloni which I couldn't see on the menu, but nothing was a problem and he whipped some up without a fuss. The food he cooked was outstanding and a highlight of Milan!! If you are in Milan, I would highly recommend this little place.
The following day was our day trip to Lake Como. There are several ways to get to Lake Como, here is the route we took. There is a train from Milan central station to Como San Giovanni. It is roughly an hour to arrive at this hill top station. From there, outside the main entrance of the station there is a bus that takes you directly to the beautiful Bellagio on Lake Como. The bus ride is also about an hour. The scenery along the way is some of the best! And the bus driver.... best bus driver of all time. The road twists and winds its way around the edge of the lake heading towards Bellagio. It's extremely narrow most of the way. Our bus driver handled the road with great care and expertise. I was very impressed.
Bellagio is such a picturesque place that calls for aimless alley way wandering, gelato eating, coffee drinking and photo taking. And that we happily did.
Arriving to Varenna.
So for now it is farewell to Italy, but I have more to post about Italy before the trip is done. Next stop, Croatia!