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Monday, September 17, 2012


Our accommodation in Varese

The courtyard with alfresco dining area

Our room - 205

Sunday 16th September
Cool morning but pleasant day- blue skies and mid 20’s temperature again.

We set off for yet another adventure and no car today! We caught the bus into Varese from a few metres away from our accommodation. The trip to the railway station took only about 10 minutes. We then purchased train tickets return to Milan €21.00 for both and trained into Milan. The 51 km trip took just on an hour and we were happy to be transported today. We bought a map of the city centre and set off on foot. It wasn’t long before the Duomo came into sight. What a magnificent Cathedral. Supposed to have seating capacity for 40,000 and even though it is huge, it’s hard to imagine fitting that number of people in. Being Sunday, there was a service in progress with tourists wandering around the outer area. There are magnificent paintings on all walls and some beautiful stained glass windows. We heard the pipe organ played and the soloist also taking part in the service. We continued along the main street which is home to many of the famous retailers. There were many people seemingly wandering aimlessly around, I suspect some locals but many tourists and some involved in serious retail therapy judging by the shopping bags. Milan is well known for its shopping but apart from buying our lunch, we didn’t spend much else. We went to a department store and not a price tag in sight. All looked way too expensive for our budget.

We found La Scala opera house and were fairly unimpressed with the building from the outside which was all to be seen today. The program is fairly steady suggesting that it is used often for opera, ballets and concerts. We then walked along Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. The Galleria connects two of Milan's most famous landmarks: The Duomo and the Teatro Alla Scala, but the Galleria is a landmark in its own right. We did find it amusing that on the opposite corner to Luis Vuitton was Macdonalds. On our route march we did find Via Montenapoleone - Known by locals as the Montenapo. The Via Montenapoleone is the most famous street in the Fashion District. It is named after a bank - the Monte Napoleone - that was located here until the early 19th century. This was the first street known for its luxurious fashion. We walked along this busy street of such renowned designers as Gucci, Versace, Luis Vuitton and numerous others. Apparently it takes hours to literally explore all the stores on the Via Montenapoleone, especially if you're intent to buy. It didn’t take us long as neither of us are serious shoppers.

Although we only saw a small amount of Milan we were still pleased that we’d made the trip in. We had a late lunch before heading back to the railway station to get the train home. When we arrived back at Varese, there was a Carrefour supermarket and we decided to get some supplies to eat in. After waiting another half hour for the bus, we were quickly home and glad to be back before dark and not to have been caught in the dreadful traffic of the two previous evenings.

The Duomo - Milan

One small view of inside the Duomo
One of the beautiful stained glass windows

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

The Duomo about 3 hours later - still plenty of people around.

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