Milan, Italy

[Sept 15, 2007]

Our last stop in Italy was Milan. It was another 5 hours worth of bus ride. I remember feeling quite dejected throughout the bus ride. So far, we have been to Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, Austria, and then Italy. Italy was my least favorite country.

I mean, yeah, we’re on a tour group, everything was so rushed, so it was definitely not a very comprehensive indicator of how good this country is as a vacation destination. But what I have felt so far was:

  1. Italy is a f**king crowded place. We’ve been to Venice, Rome, Pisa and Florence so far, all of them were filled with people to the brim. It was very difficult to just go for a simple walk and enjoy the atmosphere.
  2. I was always under the impression that all Italians are food experts, so I expected ALL their food are supposed to be yummy.  Sadly, that was not the case for Chinese restaurants and hotel restaurants in Italy. All the hotel breakfasts and Chinese dinners that we had in Italy were appalling!
  3. I was also under the impression that Italians are one of the most friendly people in the world. Unfortunately, the Italians that I encountered: the hotels’ staff, cafes’ waitresses, shop owners, etc, were mostly rude and unfriendly.

I remember feeling that I could not wait for us to reach Milan, complete the Italy leg of our tour and get the hell out of this country.


Anyway… so… we arrived in Milan. We were dropped off somewhere in the city center to proceed on foot to our sightseeing destination.

The moment I got off the bus, I could immediately feel that Milan seems to be different compared to the other Italian cities that I have just visited. The streets were less crowded, and there were people relaxing and sipping coffee at the various alfresco cafes by the road side.

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Alfresco cafes

So Paul brought us for a walk along Via Dante, which he said is one of the loveliest street in Milan.

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Via Dante – Milan’s high street
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Milan’s street food
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Human statue

At the end of this street is the Piazza del Duomo [Cathedral Square].

Paul has clearly learned his lessons with us. He knew we were only interested in taking photos and not listening to him talk history, so he quickly introduced the two major attractions here: Duomo di Milano [Milan Cathedral] and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II [Victor Emmanuel II Gallery]. And then he set us off. We were given an hour to roam this area by ourselves. And so we did…

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Duomo di Milano
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Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

I noticed every city in Italy has something something named after Vittorio Emanuele II. Back then, I did not know who this fella was. But now I know. He was the first king of modern Italy. The Italians call him Padre della Patria [Father of the Fatherland]. If I am to use simple language, he is probably like the Tunku Abdul Rahman, Lee Kuan Yew or George Washington of Italy.

And apparently, this Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is also the oldest shopping mall in the world. Most of the most prestigious European brands can be found in this shopping mall.

This was also where we found lunch. I mean, yeah, we saw that street food vendor on the street earlier, but for some reason that I could not remember, we decided to have this for lunch instead…

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McDonald’s

I think it was something along the line of “Let’s see if the McDonald’s in such a high end shopping mall is any different compared to the normal ones!”

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No photography allowed!
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Burgers and fries

It wasn’t. It was exactly the same as any other McDonald’s

When we grabbed our lunch takeaways, we were planning to venture a bit further and see if there were any other interesting stuff to see, but then, we spotted this instead..

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MTV stage

That’s right. There was an MTV stage set up at one corner of the plaza, and an MTV concert was beginning. This was entirely unexpected, but we ended up just spending the rest of our time in Milan staring at the stage, chanting along with the crowds even though we had no idea who the singers on stage were.

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MTV Concert

In the end, we squandered the time which was supposed to be for exploring the area, but it was very fun. It was a much happier ending to our Italy leg of the tour than I had expected, and I was pleased.

Will I ever want to visit Italy again some time in the future? I suppose, yes, if the opportunity arises. But it won’t be my first choice. You know, I don’t do crowds, and all the big cities in Italy are like, super mega crowds. Maybe I would try to visit some small Italian towns instead if I get the opportunity in the future…

32 Comments

  1. Italy is my favourite country – but I’ve always avoided high summer as the thought of the crowds puts me off. I’d recommend May and early June – it’s lovely, nice and warm but not too many people.

  2. I think the problem of shop assistants, waiters, etc not being friendly happens a lot in places overrun by tourists. Sad, but true…

  3. So really the McDonalds man was wagging a finger at your group saying no photos? 😀

    That looks like an entertaining concert. Lots of people so it must have been entertaining, at least to the locals.

    • Yes, that was really a “no photo” sign. If we did not stop by then, we would probably have been bundled out in no time!

  4. This is one of the fashion capitals in the world, no? I’m not into fashion and Milan sounds glamorous. Well, at least Milan was a bright spot for you on your Italian tour. I would want to try the street food.

    • That’s what I heard, apparently all the Italian haute couture big shots have set up shop in Milan.

    • It was a McD inside the world’s oldest shopping mall leh, a more glamorous version of McD hahaha! 😀

  5. You had a snapshot of Milan’s street food…why didn’t you eat that instead of McD’s? Maybe the McD didn’t taste any different but the shop front looks a bit more posh lah! 😀

    • I can’t remember why we went for McD. It was a group decision. It must be because of what I mentioned in the post LOL!

  6. What a strange coincidence with my late mum who gave lowest ratings for Italy!
    She complained about their local folks behaving @&€%# , crime rates and strewn rubbish all over and everywhere! She gave thumbs up for Vienna and Switzerland as the top in whole Europe including Finland, Norway and Sweden.
    Your photos are always hilarious and nicer when your gang posed together. I saw the Mercedes stuffs being sold here in KL and price was on the ceilings!

    • I have to agree, Switzerland was the loveliest country out of my Europe tour, but apparently they are also a freaking expensive place to be in. My next two Europe tour posts would be about this lovely country. 😉

  7. The tour I went on did not go to Milan. My spouse went to Milan on a business trip and he says people there are beautiful and fashionable.

    • I think you must be same case as SK, probably during your time, Milan was not yet famous as fashion capital or football capital worldwide, so the tour groups never bothered. Or it could be due to the route. Our next stop was Switzerland, Milan was sort of, directly on the way.

          • Juliet of Romeo and Juliet’s fame. If you google images of Verona and Juliet, you will see photos of tourists putting their hand on one of Juliet’s bxxbs. I forgot why we were asked to do that.

            • Oh come on! Why her boobs!? Romeo and Juliet is a romantic couple, not a horny couple! 😐

          • I found a website that explains:

            “Rub the bronze breast of the Juliet statue in the fair city of Verona, Italy, and your luck with love will turn around, the legend goes.”

            To bring good luck for those who are not lucky in love.

            • So because her love luck was tragic, you have to molest her to have good luck in love. Interesting…

    • Not just Benz, I have also seen BMW, Audi and Ferrari have their own boutique hehehe! 😉

  8. I didn’t go to Milan, and I wonder why Milan wasn’t in the itinerary??!! and you went to the MTV Stage concert, that was cool!!! okay, everything’s better on your trip than mine, haha!!

    • Maybe during your time, Milan was not that famous gua… The only reason I know Milan beforehand was because of football, two of Italy’s biggest football clubs are in Milan hahaha! That MTV concert, it was entirely unexpected, we didn’t know we would see that, but since it was there and it was free, so we did! 😀

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