Milan + Bergemo

Welcome to Milan!

:: our hotel room catered for the fashion conscious - well those who read italian anyway ::

It was Italy and it was time for dinner. That said, there was no time to waste in the hotel. The aromas of melted Italian cheese and porcini mushrooms lead us to the traditional Italian restaurant next door. This little place was adorable. Italian music, owners and chefs mingling with their customers. Fresh fish on ice, sliced meats and blocks of cheese displayed for our viewing pleasure. What more could we ask for as an intro to Milan! This wasn't really a touristy type of restaurants so we felt uncomfortable taking photos.

:: I read Milan is one of the fashion capitals of the world but most guide books forget to mention the food! The local markets say it all! ::

:: The people were so friendly, stopping for a chat
and more than happy to let us take photos ::

:: the locals out socialising ::

:: Doumo Square by night ::

:: view from the top of the Doumo Cathedral ::

:: Doumo Cathedral by night ::

:: The Doumo Cathedral is the third biggest in the world - measuring 108m high and 158m long. It was pretty spectacular. Apparently it took five centuries to complete! ::

:: Doumo Crypts - under the cathedral ::

:: Galleria Vittorio Emanuele ::

:: Galleria Vittorio Emanuele is Milan's great four-story-high, glass domed arcade. The "Golden Arches" don't miss an opportunity! This MacDonald's is all poshed-up. Well I guess it would have to be with neighbours like Prada, Gucci and Louis Vuitton ::

:: cute perfume bottles ::

:: stylish streets of Milan ::

:: Milan trams ::

:: The Soforza Castle and it's 70m high clock tower (Torre del Filarete) ::

Peck is like an Italian Harrods food court and has been around since 1800's. Even the cheese is gift wrapped! ::

:: a few treats - how could I resist ::

:: These wine bottles were half the size of me! Dad - you would need a bigger wine glass if you wanted to get away with "a glass of wine a day" here ::

Waking up was easy with the sweet smell of croissants and pastries floating through the hotel. After a breakfast fit for a king, it was off to the Italian town of Bergamo. I have never experienced fog this thick before - it was bizzare to say the least. We could only hear the train approaching the platform.

:: Milan's central train station (Stazione Centrale) is considered the most beautiful station in Europe. I must say it was grand ::
:: Set in Lombardy on the edge of the Alps, Bergamo is an historic old town with little traffic. Italy's best kept secret is divided into two towns, upper and a lower. We arrive in Citta Bassa - the lower town of Bergamo. This is the modern centre of the city. As we step off the train we are faced with the most amazing view of the Citta Alta (upper town) ::
:: As we walked towards Citta Alta (upper town) we were surrounded by locals walking pampered pooches. Most dressed in little doggy outfits! It was Sunday morning so the bikes were out, the local ice-skating rink was full and the markets were buzzing. Everything moved at a slower pace compared to Milan and it felt so relaxing ::

:: Bergamo gives Milan a run for it's money in the food stakes with regional specialities such as cheese and salami (sooo yummy) ::

:: A quick bite to eat turned into an hour of excitement when we came across this gorgeous patisserie. Ok it was an hour of excitement for me - Steve however, simply couldn't understand what all the fuss was about ::

:: We caught the 19th-century funicular to the top of the mountain. This is like the peek tram for those Hong Kong readers out there! It must have been our lucky day - as the funicular reached the top, the fog began to lift - we walked the medieval wall surrounding the old town and enjoyed the spectacular views over the mountains, lakes and valleys of the Lombardy province. It was simply surreal ::

:: We strolled the cobble stone streets and browsed the antique markets, tiny hidden piazzas and shops selling local crafts and delicious treats. I think I took more pics of food on this holiday than anything else! Can you blame me! ::

:: If anyone is travelling to Milan I would highly recommend spending a day in Bergamo or I would suggest taking a special trip to Bergamo alone - this city is simply enchanting ::

:: Our flight home was delayed due to the thick fog! While the airport was packed with agrovated commuters, complaining to staff and queing for alternative flights. Steve and I were all smiles. We didn't spend a week in Hospital this time! ::

:: Wicked the musical ::

On Friday night we saw Wicked the Musical at the Apollo Victoria theatre and I must say it was the best musical I have ever seen. The story is set before the Wizzard of Oz - The untold story of the Witches of Oz, and why one came to be called ‘good’ and the other ‘wicked’. You seriously don't know the whole story about the land of Oz until you see Wicked. The kids would LOVE it! Click here to view a video trailer.