Friendships make the world go round, and they make you go around the world. Franzi and I visited several places together, not sure how many. Facebook says 20, we believe more. Last time we saw each other’s was 5 months ago in front of the Memorial Union in Madison, WI, United States, when she left at the end of her au pair year. When my year ended, we agreed on seeing each other’s again since where she lives in Germany and where I live in Italy aren’t that far away. After a 12-hour bus drive for her and an hour train ride for me, Franzi and I met in Milan and believe me when I say it was a long hug.
Friendships between au pairs are a strong and unbreakable bond that no distance can break. At one point in their life, au pairs share the same storyline and the fact that they lived the same experiences make their understanding of each other’s feelings way easier.
While we were catching up, I showed her around Milan. I visited Milan several times but I’ve never visited some places because I’ve never actually been a tourist. This time, I saw everything I missed. After dropping off our bags at the Hotel Des Etrangers, we had breakfast at Bella Gino – Bar del Giambellino. I vividly suggest you go there. The environment is charming, a mix of vintage and lots of colors, and the breakfast is on point: chocolate croissant and cappuccino were delicious.
After taking the subway, we started off in Piazza Duomo with the view of the stunning Duomo and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Unfortunately, the first day the weather sucked a little but we managed to still have a good time.
Since after wandering around, we decided to eat at Panini Durini where we had an amazing lunch with really tasty sandwiches. With our belly full of food we headed to Castello Sforzesco, Parco Sempione, and Arco della Pace. The sun started to show and finally, the sky cleared.
The night, after finding out that we accidentally brought the same outfit, we decided to head to the Navigli and have dinner there. After a little bit of searching, we found this really cute place. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the name of the place. We had pizza and a bottle of rosé together.
The second day we took it slow. We had breakfast and we checked out of the hotel around 11 am. After that, with tickets already in our hands, we headed to Piazza Duomo again because we wanted to go on the Terraces of the Duomo. It was an 18 € ticket to visit the inside of the Duomo and go on top of it, plus skipping the line. I already went into the Duomo once and I was blown away by the gothic architecture and the glass windows. Even though I grew up with churches and glass windows in every corner, even though I’m not even Catholic anymore, my eyes are always charmed by the beauty that human hands and minds can create.
Going up the Terraces was pretty easy since we bought the ticket with the elevator ride included. The view from up there was awesome since the sky cleared pretty much from the fog and the clouds.
For lunch, we headed to Miscusi in Piazza Cinque Giornate, a 20-minute walk from Piazza Duomo. They just have pasta, amazing pasta btw. You can even make your own or take one of the types they already make. I suggest reserving a table because it was pretty crowded and we got lucky to have a spot for us for just 45 minutes.
On our way back to Piazza Duomo we saw Piazza San Babila and all the shops along the way. After a stop at Arnold’s for a coffee to go, we walked back to our hotel to get our bags. We passed in front of Colonne di San Lorenzo, Porta Ticinese, Darsena, and Navigli. I have to say that this is my favorite part of Milan.
I always believed that the best way to visit and discover a city is to walk around. Guido Piovene believes it too:
To understand Milan, you need to dive into it. Dive into it, don’t look at it like a work of art.
I loved walking around Milan. After two years in the States, I finally understood why Americans are such in a awe when they come to Europe. Can you believe that many kids in the States have never seen a castle? For us, grown in Europe it is such a common thing that we take it for granted. What I’ve learned in the States, it is to not take for granted what we have in Europe, all the beauty that we have that surrounds us in every corner. The architecture is one of a kind and the landscapes is behond any dream.