Adventures in Milan – last day

Milan Italy fashion clothes travel holiday Gucci Versace coffee D&G


­­Adventures in Milan – Day 4Sunday Best

Today has always had rain forecast so ‘they’ did not disappoint us. However, I’m one step ahead as I keep the Cathedral, the main tourist attraction (apart from the sport that is Versace shop spotting) for today.

We get to the part where the lift takes us up to the roof. This part costs €8 to see and there are no lines so we are easily outside and on the roof to see the magnificent detail of the Duomo in seconds. After our descent, by stairs – I’m feeling energetic – it’s still raining but my plan for us to spend an hour or two inside the dry cathedral is thwarted. There isn’t the line of people as there was yesterday because they are not letting anyone in. We decide to try again towards the end of the afternoon rather than try to get a translation as to why.

 In the meantime I’ve come to realise that unlike any other city in the world that relies partly on the billions €€€ spent by tourists every year to survive and flourish, Milan doesn’t.  There is barely a sign to point out places of interest for us to spend our hard earned pounds in. It does feel like there are Milanese secrets and us the tourists are not invited in.

The shrine to Versace is still not evident and whilst I know there will be at least one Versace store in Milan, just like in every other major shopping city in the world, my point is that they don’t make the most of their fashion heritage.  I’m gobsmacked that D&G, Armani and especially Versace are not more prominent. By now surely we have walked nearly every street around the ‘fashion district’ and I’d have expected to see a handful of each spread around the city.

And no, I don’t see the point of searching on my rubbish internet connection to find out where they are; I don’t need to shop there, the point is I expect all these designers to have a high profile here.

Back at the cathedral there is a line waiting formed with a multitude of umbrellas but we still get inside within a few minutes. It’s worth the effort to see inside what has now become a magical place, one that I seem to be able to spot from whatever neighbourhood I’m in.

Whilst thinking on where to eat on the last night (we never did find anywhere ‘dressy’ to eat) I recall the two recommendations I’d received from a fashion editor via Twitter. With the lack of reliable internet access, we only found the street name for one and duly set out for Sunday evening dinner.

The last supper

As we turn into Via Montenapoleone, I realise this is where I’d noticed the sign pointing to the Four Seasons this morning but we’d decided to turn on the next one. Of course it’s where all the fashionistas would come, its where are all the designer show rooms and offices are. Sure enough there is the predicted Versace (we’d seen most of the others by now) but just a little Versace ‘blue’, not a big shrine in ‘gold’. Disappointing.

In the dark rain, we don’t find the restaurant – it must have been on a side street- so we carry on to two more. Both times, we step inside; put our wet umbrellas down only to be told they are closing. It’s not yet 8pm. On the second one we even check the closing time first, 10pm. They still tell us they are closed, after we have shaken brollies, stepped right inside the place and started taking hats and coats off. The shops are closed now so I guess the market is not there but it’s still odd.

We find something to eat in what looks like a family chain, Brek and go back to the hotel.  Later in the evening, it’s just a small crema ice cream for me on the last night in Milan.

Final part to follow.


Adventures in Milan: Day 3

Gucci 1

Versace 0

Armani 0

Today I met with my friend and the we hit the tourist trail; the church that has ‘The Last Supper’ in it, that we discover we can only book to see by phone, before hand, the castle that has a nice photo exhibition of before and after photos and entertainment in the back yard and the famous La Scala which is so tiny, blink I we won’t see the theatre. Then we move onto the real culture of Milan, the shopping district.

Prada is here, along with Gucci bag shop and a few others but that’s it under the gorgeous covered domes. My friend is quite taken with the fact that people are still smoking although we’re technically undercover but not as much as she is with the little Gucci coffee shop.

We both agree that the McCafe here with a view of Louis Vuitton does have acceptable coffee in addition to very agreeable pastries.

By now I am shocked that that I still have not seen any Versace or Armani in 3 days of walking the streets of Milan. By now and especially here in the shopping district I expect to see a shrine to Versace at the very least.  I don’t know about every other tourist in the world but I expect to see the big Italian fashion names in the heart of Milan. It’s just odd that they don’t maximise on their heritage.

Still the restraining order that they appear to have put on Starbucks more than makes up for not seeing a Versace I’m not buying anything in.

Milan Italy fashion clothes travel holiday Gucci Versace coffee D&G

Adventures in Milan- Day 1


Birthday cards & flowers

Birthday cards & flowers

The arrival

Our plane leaves half an hour late but arrives just 10 minutes after time. For the first time in my life I am earliest on the plane, I’m usually about last as I don’t see the point of sitting on a plane when you have several hours to go. This though is my first European trip in years so a short hop in comparison to two decades of transatlantic flights.

This is the flight they ask me if I’d like more leg room and to sit by the exit door, the one that’s barely enough long enough for me to read the Post and get into my book (read 4 pages). Still I take my ‘emergency door operator’ responsibilities seriously and for once read the instructions. They don’t trust me though and the steward gives me one-to-one tuition. You’re reading this so thankfully I didn’t need my new knowledge.

The only thing about flying out from Birmingham is that I don’t have a chance to experience Air Italia’s food and service but that’s not enough to get me to fly out from London. I do have another theory why my two favourite colours are red and green; I’ve recently come to the conclusion that it’s because I love Christmas but as we land and I spot the Air Italia plane, it could just be the Italian flag.

I immediately feel under par as soon as I arrive at the airport; everyone here is ultra glam, slim & stylish. It’s been ten years and I’ve forgotten how easy the Italians make it look.

I decide to risk an Italian taxi and not only survive but I’m pleasantly surprised that the cab driver rounds down from €10.10 rather than waiting for me to say, ‘make it €12’.

As I start to walk around to get my bearings every woman I see is the same. Even their unkempt hair looks glamorous; everyone has colour and perfect haircuts so I don’t think there’s any such thing as natural hair here.

In amongst the abundance of mainly Italian designer shops I come across a book shop that specialises in automobile reads. I spot the Duomo, the much talked about cathedral a couple of times but I’m saving that for a rainy day and when my friend flies out to join me.

I’m writing this at Passarella Cafe on a main street sitting outside under a canopy but the outdoor heating is so warm, I can take my coat off. There’s no menu so how is everyone else ordering? I’ll settle for pretty much anything in Italy as I know even the fast food tastes good. I love this!

I’m amazed how I’ve managed to write 500 words with the distractions of both perfectly coiffed hair and Fendi shopping bags walking past me

The downside is that everyone smokes. The two on my left have their unlit cigarettes poised ready for as soon as they have inserted their last mouthful but I guess my asthma can take that for a few days. In any case, rain is due so I’m staying outside as much as I can until then.

Now, it’s time for my first coffee in Italy. The first of many as the 2 daily cups rule goes out the window here; this the real deal.

Day 2 follows.


Fave bday cards

Fave bday cards