Goodbye Vernazza, goodbye Cinque Terre! The last stop of our trip – Milan where we’ll be flying home. We took the 7:32 am train from Vernazza to Milan via Rapallo, it was a Sunday so plenty of seats in the local train without the morning rush. In Rapallo, there were only 2 platforms so it was pretty easy to navigate except that the glare from the rising sun made it extremely difficult to look at the displays to find out what platform our train will stop at. We arrived Milan at 11 am and walked to our hotel for the night: Excelsior Hotel Gallia which is literally across the street from the Milan Central Station! The station itself is huge so don’t be afraid and ask the transit police in the station to point to the right exit to save you time.
Milan Central Station…not sure which entrance this is as it’s huge!
Excelsior Hotel Gallia is new and chic but elegent, we got an upgrade from hubby’s SPG status but our room was not ready yet. We dropped off our luggage, use the restroom to change and took the free hotel “shuttle” (a Mercedes sedan!) to the city center. Note that it only drops you off so you need to find your way back on your own but very easy using the metro! In no time, we arrived at the entrance of the most glamorous shopping mall – Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. We planned to visit not for shopping but for photographs – it’s an architectural masterpiece!
It was super crowded with tourists so all we could do were pointing our cameras upright to avoid getting people’s head in the pictures….but the ceiling itself offered unlimited photo opportunities.
Right outside of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is the probably one of the most famous Gothic architectures – Milan Cathedral! It was as astonishing as I pictured in my mind but after two weeks of exploring villages, we got used to the peacefulness and tranquil of enjoying our views and all suddenly the big city where we got interrupted by annoying vendors trying to sell us useless things every other minute. GRRRRR! Oh plenty of the rose scam so just say “no, thanks!” We walked away after few minutes; we didn’t quite enjoy it as much as we wanted!
It was a challenge to find a restaurant for lunch on Sunday (I never thought it would be in a big city like Milan) as many were closed except the ones in the square as you already know – overpriced and low quality! We walked out of the square to the side streets and found Shanghai Restaurant. It was the only restaurant that is open nearby so no choice! We walked upstairs and I was surprised by the interior design of it as soon as I stepped in!
I have never thought a small Chinese restaurant in Milan would have such a lavish design – it is the most beautiful Chinese restaurant I ever seen in Europe so far!
And prices weren’t tourist trap prices too! We ordered the sizzling beef plate. it was good – better than any in Boston!!!
The seafood pot was fine:
The sweet and sour fish was too sour for me, I wondered how much vinegar the chef put!
Then for “dessert”, we got a piece of melon – we never have yellow melon!
The filling lunch was 35 euros, not bad in the middle of Milan and for the number of dishes we ordered! After lunch, we were energized to climb the Milan Cathedral rooftop!
Note that there were few ticket offices surrounding the Cathedral, the one on the right side when facing front were for groups and the line was extremely long. The ticket office for the rooftop access + Cathedral is on the left side, long line but not too bad. Ladies, remember to bring a wrap or cardigan to cover your shoulder even for the rooftop because to exit you’ll need to go through the Cathedral inside and personnel will check to make sure you have something to cover before they let you to walk up to the rooftop! I got a cardigan inside my bag just for that….it was extremely hot to wear it!
The start of our climb…sorry hun, we are not done with stairs yet LOL!!! However, it wasn’t too bad, not as many steps as others we had climbed before: St. Peter’s Basilica, Leaning Tower of Pisa, nor up to Corniglia!
The ticket for the rooftop by foot plus the Cathedral was 11 euros, for elevator it was 15 euros. The climb was totally worth it – the rooftop is amazing! Those spires and statues woah!
The details and symmetry of each pieces – master piece!
It wasn’t too crowded so having photos just of ourselves weren’t too difficult. I wish one day I have a chance to take prewedding/engagement photos up in the rooftop, any brides to be want to volunteer? It’ll be amazing!
The scenery of the city, on the other hand, wasn’t as spectacular as cities I had been. It mixed old and new buildings and no mountain and river unlike Paris or Salzburg! We focused primary on the rooftop itself!
There was restoration work going on as you can see the bronze statue of Madonnina on the back!
I wore my cardigan as we approach the exit and into the Cathedral, thank goodness that it was pretty cool inside!
OMG the interior, I think it’s the most beautiful Gothic cathedral I have ever seen and can take pictures of!
I am speechless looking at the details of the architecture – handmade by men hundreds of years ago!
See I wore my cardigan 🙂
The beautiful and colorful stained glass through the Cathedral!
The chapel downstairs where the relics of St. Charles Borromeus was located, there was a line to see it!
Afterwards, we headed back upstairs to have more photos of the architecture:
After the Cathedral, we walked down the main street – Via Dante to Sforzesco Castle (the tower on the background):
Via Danta has lots of shops, restaurants, and street performers……carving out roses from fruits and vegetables!
Didn’t know the Expo Gate was here:
It’s where you can purchase the Expo ticket and also served to introduce the Expo to visitors and residents. I didn’t know about the Milan Expo when I was planning this trip a year in advanced so too bad I didn’t allocate any time in Milan to visit the Expo! But I rather spend more time in Cinque Terre than visiting the Expo!
We finally reached the Sforzesco Castle:
The map of when Milan was constructed hundreds of years ago…the layout looked like a coat of arms!
The castle was great as photo backdrop 🙂
A reflection pond reminded me of Seville, Spain!
A huge park on the back with more street performers. This guy playing music from a bend sheet of metal…not sure if it’s real or how he did it!
We weren’t interest in walking through the huge park so we turned back to the castle to use the restroom! The ceiling artwork on the castle:
More of the castle….my walk back to the old days haha!
Back to Via Dante for an early dinner before we head back to the hotel since we had no idea which restaurant is open on Sundays! We had gelato and dinner at Majestic Cafe.
The gelato wasn’t as good as the ones we had in Cinque Terre!
And the seafood spaghetti…it was the WORST seafood spaghetti I ever had in my entire life! Please void Majestic Cafe! It looked glam but the food was worst than takeouts! The shrimp tasted like it was in the freezer for years – I can’t even take another bite of it! Rest of the seafood were totally not fresh at all – frozen for years! Oh GOSH! I regretted so badly that we should’ve went back to Shanghai Restaurant! I picked out the spaghetti and eat that just to fill my stomach. That was how bad it was and I mean it! 36 euros for a disgusting meal!!! What a bad last meal of our trip GRRRRR!!! Please if you have to fly out of Milan to return home, avoid Sunday and avoid Majestic Cafe!!!
We took the metro back to the hotel which was less than 2 euros per person on the metro. Once we got off Milan Central Station, we walked to the newspaper stand to purchase the bus transfer ticket to the airport for tomorrow morning. The Malpensa Express bus ticket was 10 euros per person.
Then we walked back to the hotel, the corridor:
The nicely designed hanging lamps:
That chic sofa looked very comfortable and it is!
The door to our room 420 something, I forgot the exact room number, the room doors made me think of those spaceship doors haha so futuristic!
Our spacious marble bathroom:
As in all big cities, the small size of the room but very comfortable bed!
Very modernly designed!
We got back to the hotel quite early so we had a good rest before our flight out the next morning!
Our flight was at 12:15 pm so we had plenty of time to enjoy the free breakfast (hubby’s platinum status) before heading to the airport. The lavish breakfast room and varieties of food!
The glasses of jams….so luxurious!
Pastries…wow so much choices!
And fruits and smoothie shots wow!
It was one of the best hotel breakfast I ever had along with Hilton Moorea in French Polynesia!
We got to the airport 2 hours prior to our flight. The line for VAT refund customs oh yikes! An airport staff told me to stamp the form in the custom inside after security because this line is primary for people to have to check in their purchased goods!
Well the custom offices inside after security were closed! I waited and waited but no luck! Good thing that we had a connection in Munich so we could stamp it there….actually you suppose to stamp on the last departure point before leaving the EU! The flight back home was a smooth ride and on time! The food on the Lufthansa flight was great too but not as good as with Turkish Airlines!