jn82’s Epic Adventure

Day 47 [17 Mar 09] – Milan

Posted in Milan by jn82 on March 17, 2009

Did not actually spend the day in Milan today, but instead took a day trip to Lake Como. The journey to Como was one hour each way by train, in pretty shabby regional trains which stop frequently, unlike the faster inter-city ones we usually are on.

Lake Como is the third largest lake in Italy, and one of the deepest lakes in Europe at over 400m deep. It it well known for its lakeside villas, where many rich people have their holiday homes, George Clooney famously being one of them. We decided not to take the longer and more expensive option (~28€) of taking a hydrofoil all the way up the lake from Como to Colico and back, instead opting for a cheap 6€ round trip ticket around the western bottom part of the lake from Como to Moltrasio and back, giving us more time to stop in-between and explore Cernobbio and Torno.

View of lake Como from in-between Tavernola and Cernobbio.

Lake side villas.

Some more villas in-between Cernobbio and Torno.

View from Torno.

Token Lake Como lake side villa, Villa Comalcione in Torno.

After walking around Torno and getting some very good pictures of the lake, we decided to have lunch at this hotel which was situated along the lake. Choosing a seat in the open air section meant we had a lake side view during lunch, how great is that! The only thing which spoilt the whole view a bit was a dead duck in the water below us, as it was floawing upside down with what appeared to be a stomach sliced open by a boat’s propeller. Ouch.

Excellent view along the river during lunch, sans dead duck!

After the boat ride back to Como after lunch, we headed for the funicular up Brunate, a hill in Como which offered a panoramic view of the city. The view itself was not so great today because the sky was very hazy, but on a good clear day it could be very good.

Poor hazy view from the top of Brunate.


Caught the 5.24pm train back to Milan after we were done at Como. All in all a pretty nice day, getting to see the famous Lake Como district with its colourful villas and nice views.

Today’s pictures here.

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Day 46 [16 Mar 09] – Milan

Posted in Milan by jn82 on March 16, 2009

Took the inter-city train from Nice to Milan today. We first had to catch a SNCF TER from Nice to Ventimiglia (boarder Italian town), and then the Trenitalia Intercity Plus from Ventimiglia to Milan. As we were traveling during peak hour, the one hour TER ride from Nice to Ventimiglia was packed with Nice residents heading to Monaco for work, and we did not even have space to sit down until everyone got off at Monaco. It did not strike me before that many of the people working in Monaco were actually French residents. The Trenitalia Intercity Plus ride from Ventimiglia to Milan was pretty normal, and I had both my breakfast and lunch (which I pre-bought at the Nice station) on the train today to save time.

Trenitalia Intercity Plus 657.

Inside the carriage.

Upon reaching Milano Centrale, we made our train reservations for all the Intalian trains we will be taking from Milan to Rome, Rome to Naples, and Naples to Geneva via Rome. 63€ in all, wow!! Pretty expensive, but that is because we have a Eurostar Italia AV train reservation from Milan to Rome which cost 20€, as well as the sleeper from Rome to Geneva which cost 35€. Train reservations in Italy are comparable with Spain as being the most expensive thus far, and you do not have the option to pay less to downgrade to second class for the fast trains because they cost the same amount in Italy, unlike Spain.

We took over an hour to get from the train station to the hostel (although it was less than 1km away) because there was no map anywhere in or around the vacinity of the train station! How stupid and not tourist friendly.

Almost hard to believe, but apart from being one of the fashion capitals of the world and the financial centre of Italy, there are hardly any tourist sites in Milan worth going to. This was pretty good news for us today as we were pretty tired already, so we ended up going to the “main” Milan tourist site, Il Duomo di Milano (The Cathedral of Milan), the largest gothic cathedral in Europe.

The view from the Duomo of the square below is pretty okay, but we have seen better. The interior of the cathedral is much more impressive than the exterior, but photographs are now allowed to be taken inside.

Duomo, from the roof.

From the plaza.

The streets in the city centre are pretty nice to walk around, as there are many big and old buildings to see. However after a while it looks more or less all the same. I cannot believe this is one of the fashion capitals of the world, as I saw nothing today to lead be to believe it was such. After the city, we headed back to the hotel and for an authentic Italian dinner (as recommened in the Lonely Planet guide and just nextdoor to our hotel), in a restaurent operated by Chinese(!), go figure.

Off to Lake Como tomorrow, maybe I will get to meet George Clooney?

Today’s pictures here.

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