We boarded a shuttle to the city center and then grabbed a cab for a couple of miles to our new home. That went well until we discovered we were dropped a few streets short of our destination. Tricky since we didn't have Italian SIM cards yet - so no phone or GPS service.We had to rely on a stranger to call our contact so we could lug our way to the correct address and get the keys. We are becoming masters of flexibility, especially around changing phone plans in each city and getting the right program, etc. I know this is going to sound whiny, but we would like to see an affordable EU/SIM system that works wherever you are in Europe. You certainly couldn't do it with an American plan.
We met our host and crammed in the little elevator up to our flat. The travel days are the only ones where we really have some serious luggage to manhandle - and we definitely put this creaky beast to the test.
The flat was great. Small, clean, nicely decorated and easy to live in. I am getting to know IKEA when I see it now. This was our third IKEA kitchen and I'd know that silver 'Matisse' fruit bowl anywhere. Fess up - you have one.
|Arrived safe and sound - Sunny and 70!|
|First dinner out. Calzone & Risotto.|
|Milan's overdressed cathedral. 3,500 statues!|
|I could have taken shot after shot of these!|
|Lovely Porcini. $5 for ten - and so good roasted.|
|Happy Hour! Buy a drink and head to the buffet at any bar.|
As always we took the free walking tour and learned things you might not glean from a more structured tour. The entrepreneurial people that guide these tours do it because they love their city, they have some flair, they speak English and they need the tips - so they craft their own styles and mix history with personal insight.
Our guide Paulo was not apologetic about why Milan is the 'very rich' but less attractive stepchild of Italy's major cities. It's because they work hard and don't have time for frivolity. They paved over the charming canals to make way for more roads. They leveled medieval buildings so that modern workplaces could be built. They did not give in to romantic notions about keeping ancient things intact and in fact, don't spend much of the city coffers on preservation or restoration. And it has paid off by creating Italy's leading city of commerce, style and design trends. Shoes anyone?
|A mere $700. per foot! The doorman just glared at me.|
Of course there were lovely part of the city - and plenty of 'Damn that's old!' moments. We were duly amazed at the sights from the top of the Duomo, ate our daily Gelato, read our books, sat in cafes and enjoyed life.
|From the top of the Doumo.|
|Several food groups represented here. So it's OK.|
|Easy to use short term bike rentals all over town.|
In Como we had a lovely lunch on the square, read our books and enjoyed being out of the city surrounded by fall color. I even took some time to contemplated how ducks and pigeons look the same wherever I go. That's how relaxed I was.
|I knew I brought those binoculars for a reason!|
There was serious strategic planning needed on how to get San Siro Stadium. One of the most famous in Europe. He took several modes of transportation and got home and back in one piece. The security was high - and so was the excitement level. He had a great time.
|Great energy and an exciting night out for Mr. Campbell|
|The souveinier stands and food stalls felt like Mardi Gras|
|Found a McLaren store that brought back racing memories!|
|Bakeries are a blessing, right?|
|Milano Mama's deserve their own doors.|