A Weekend in Milan

Last weekend was our first weekend to travel outside of Switzerland. Hannah, Natalie, her roommate Amanda, and I spent what seemed like forever deciding where to go. When we finally decided on Milan, it took us even longer to find a hotel that was available! We were getting pretty grumpy because I’m not sure that we realized just how stressful planning a trip on short notice can be (on top of school and trying to get some sleep). We thought something has to be going on that weekend for every hotel to be booked. Well, there was something…FASHION WEEK. Okay, now we really had to find a hotel. So, we stayed up until we finally found a hotel around 1 o’clock in the morning.

Well, the problem with the hotel didn’t stop there. When we arrived in Milan around 2 in the afternoon, we asked the lady at the information desk inside the train station to give us directions to our hotel. She told us to take the yellow metro two stops, get off, and take the purple metro four stops and our hotel will be there. We do exactly what she said and when we get off at our last stop we looked around for our hotel, but couldn’t find it. So, we stopped the sweetest 60 year old man on the street for some help. He didn’t speak a word of English, but he called his daughter, who spoke English on his cellphone to translate for us. She told us to take tram number 7. So, we did. The tram driver told us that we were right in needing to take tram 7, but in the opposite direction of the way we were currently going. So, we got off that tram and hopped on the other one. That tram driver didn’t know where we should get off at, so he suggested getting off at the university because we were bound to run into someone who spoke English. We did, but he couldn’t find our hotel. He stopped another student passing by to help us. She didn’t know where our hotel was either. We were beginning to question whether our hotel even existed! But, luckily another student who saw all of us struggling came up and suggested that we take a taxi. We had no idea how far we were from our hotel or how much the taxi would cost us…but we had no other choice. After only a 6-euro cab ride…we had finally arrived at our hotel!! We had been so close…yet so far.

We collapsed on the beds in our hotel room for about two minutes before we realized we needed a drink after all that chaos and some food. So, we decided to go back to the city. We strolled through the streets and picked one of the hundreds of Italian restaurants in the city. We ordered up mojitos and lots of pasta! Even though the food was delicious, we were eating at a “touristy” restaurant and we were dying to know where the locals ate. We asked our waiter, Philipo, where his favorite place to eat was. He told us that anywhere outside of the city will do, but his favorite place is called Nabucco. He also told us that if we went there we had to ask for his friend Signore Pietro.


^^Philipo and Natalie



We thanked Philipo for his suggestions and with full tummies we headed back to our hotel (this time with no hiccups…yay!) for a good night sleep.

The next day, we got up bright and early because we had places to be and people to see! We started out with visiting the Duomo, which is the second largest cathedral in the world. The outside alone was enough for me to deem it the most breathtaking cathedral I have ever seen.



Then, we walked right next door to a museum called Novecento. The concept was really neat because the museum began with artwork from the beginning of the 1900s and ended with artwork from the very end of the 1900s. It was pretty interesting to see the progression.



Next up was the Sforza Castle, built in the 1400s by the Duke of Milan. It was really impressive how well kept it was for being hundreds of years old. We wandered through the open courtyards and admired the architecture until we got to the other side of the castle, which opened up into a huge park.



We decided to take a walk through the park to see what was on the other side and to hopefully find some lunch.


As we rounded a corner, we saw the tippy top of the Arco della Pace (Arch of Peace) and decided to head that way.


Little did we know, that we were going to run straight into the Roberto Cavalli Fashion Week Show. There was a huge tent set up right next to the arch and thousands of photographers and attendees were crowded in the plaza in front of it.



Unfortunately, we’re not quite cool enough to get the invite…so, we did the next best thing: choose a restaurant nearby, sit at a table outside for a front row view, and order lots of pizza.


Let me tell you something…I thought the airport and Disneyland were the best places for people watching. Wrong. Fashion week events are the best place for people watching. Some of the outfits were pretty entertaining and some of the outfits were so cute I could have died. We barely spoke at lunch because we were all captivated by what was going on right in front of our eyes. Maybe just maybe, one day, I’ll receive an invitation to Fashion Week. Hey, a girl can dream, right?!

After the show was over and we satisfied our hunger pangs, we had to satisfy our dessert pangs. I mean we were in Italy for goodness sakes. If you go to Italy and don’t eat gelato at least once (maybe even twice – guilty) a day, then you’re doing it all wrong. Hannah and I went all out and got three heaping scoops. And we didn’t have an ounce of regret.


Now that our hunger pangs and dessert pangs were satisfied, it was off to the Santa Maria delle Grazie church, where Da Vinci’s Last Supper was painted. We were told that we couldn’t leave Milan without seeing it. But, we left Milan without seeing it. Who knew you would need to make a reservation? (Helpful Tip for future Milan tourists: You need to make a reservation to see Da Vinci’s Last Supper!) We got to the church and were able to walk around inside.





However, when we walked over to the room where the painting was located, we were told that they were sold out for the next four days. Awesome. Now, we had crossed everything else off of our list except shopping, which was a must in the world’s fashion capital!


For those of you that know me pretty well, you know I’m not too crazy about shopping. But, what I am crazy about is food. So, my favorite shop we went into was Laduree. These macaroons were to die for. No exaggeration. There is a Laduree right around the corner from us in Lausanne, but we had never been in. After going in Milan, I think it’s safe to say that we will be going to the one right around the corner from us about a hundred (or two hundred) times during our year here.


Once our feet started to hurt (after an entire day of non-stop walking), we decided it was time for dinner. Nabucco, here we come! The restaurant Philipo suggested to us led us just a couple steps outside of the city and down the cutest, quaintest Italian street. When we arrived at Nabucco, we asked for Signore Pietro just like Philipo told us to. And we couldn’t even get his entire name out before we were led upstairs to one of Pietro’s table. Pietro heard that Philipo sent us and immedietly treated us to a glass of champagne. We then enjoyed a delicious meal of spaghetti (you can never get enough pasta!).  And finally finished off our meal with yet another treat from Pietro…limoncello and biscotti. Tutto benne!


^^With our new friend, Pietro!





We had such a wonderful meal that we decided to go back and thank Philipo for his wonderful suggestion. And guess what? Philipo decided to give us a few treats too (mojitos and desserts). We felt so spoiled.


Who would have thought that after the way we began our trip in Milan, we would be ending it with two new friends (Philipo and Pietro) and lots of free drinks and desserts? It definitely was a trip we will never forget.


Fine Print: Just a reminder that in Europe the drinking age is 18 years old and sometimes even 16 years old! And I am 19 years old…so I’m all legal here :)


  1. OMG!! So much fun!

  2. Spectacular and delicious!! What an adventure!!

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