Italy Recap #6: Verona and Milan
We stopped in Verona for a few hours on our way from Venice to Milan. One of J’s college roommates moved to Verona after college, and the last time we saw him was at our wedding 4 years ago. I was really excited to finally meet his wife and their 4 children, too. They are such a sweet family. J’s roommate and his wife were excellent tour guides & hosts, and the four children — who I think were 2, 4, 6, and 8 (or close to that) — were incredibly sweet and well-behaved.
We walked over the bridge, past the old city walls, and into the heart of Verona for a delish lunch. We toured past the major Romeo and Juliet sites, and grabbed gelato. Verona is an incredibly beautiful, walkable city.
We stopped at a local park and the kids had a blast playing. There was an inground trampoline in the park, and Lil thought it was hilarious to jump on. The bigger kids seemed to really enjoy it also.
We also stopped at a lookout point before heading back to the train station.
The kids were really sweet with Lilly, playing gently with her on the trampoline at the playground, sweetly asking to hold her hand. I think Lilly was as captivated by them as they were by her.
It was a short visit with friends, and before we knew it, we were back on the train to Milan. Jason’s conference in Milan required us to spend nearly a week there — I’d say it deserves really a day or two, maybe 3, depending on how into art museums you are. We were not super into art museums before Lilly came along… even less into them with a toddler in tow. So we laid low much of the week, and perhaps that was a good thing since Lil was running a low temp and was a bit crabby (I’m blaming teeth).
We laid low on our first night in Milan, grabbing food at the hotel, and watching tv. We had Jurassic Park 3 on (in Italian), and Lil thought the dinos were awesome. Raaaaaar. The next day, she pointed to the tv and signed “please more” and then said “rrrraaaaaarrr”. Hilarious.
Our first day in Milan was pretty low key. Our hotel was close to the convention center (not in a touristy area, but we could easily access touristy stuff via the metro). Jason went to a pre-conference meeting all day, and Lil and I spent an hour looking for a grocery store and almost 3 hours trying to find our way back to our hotel with a stroller full of booze, diapers, and snacks. Our hotel was on the edge of the city’s tourist map, no one at the hotel had a better map of the area for us, and whoever drew in the grocery store on the edge of the map didn’t actually know the exact location of it, just that it might be in that area.
As I discovered later in the week, there was a grocery store one block over from the hotel in the opposite direction that I had walked. Sigh.
(The hotel we stayed in, the Melia Milano, is supposed to be a swanky 4-star hotel. It was not. Don’t stay there.)
Jason had a day off between the pre-conference meeting and the start of the conference, so we were going to spend a day up in the mountains at Lake Como. We got going late, though, took too long trying to figure out the metro, got off at the wrong train station, and ended up missing the train we wanted to take to the mountains. The next train would have been 2 hours later, and wouldn’t have been worth the 1-hour each way train ride because we’d only have about 3 hours to spend up there. I was SO SO SO bummed. And pretty angry, too. (It drives me crazy that it takes over an hour – sometimes closer to two – for 3 of us to leave the house).
We ended up having a fine day, but it took me a while to shake my crabbies. We went to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a swanky mall (here are Lil and I posed in front of the swankiest McDonald’s ever). We splurged on lunch in a little pizzeria inside. We also spun on the bull’s testicles for good luck (it’s a thing).
We saw the Duomo, which is amazing. The spires on the top are incredible. The inside of the Duomo was pretty awesome, too (not nearly as fantastic as the Siena Duomo, though).
This guy (St Batholomew) was creepy. His skin is draped around him. Eww. (but impressive carving).
After the Duomo, we headed back to the hotel for Lil’s nap, and later went out near the Sforza castle for dinner.
Jason had a pretty busy conference schedule, and, to be honest, I was pretty hesitant to take a miserable, temperature-running baby out into a town I didn’t know, so we laid low much of the week. It’s possible that the busy-ness of the previous 12 days travels finally hit us.
Later in the week, the sunset on the face of the Duomo made it look like it was glowing.
We found an amazing upscale mall-cafeteria-type thingy near the Duomo and ate there many times. It was sort of like a bunch of restaurants on the top floor of a department store. The Obika Mozzarella Bar was pretty amazing (so many cheesy choices), but not super baby friendly, and especially not friendly to a cranky teething baby — one of us walked her while the other ate. Delish food, the company could have been better. :)
The views, however, were STUNNING. We watched the sun set over the Duomo from 7 stories up. Needless to say, we ventured back to try several of the restaurants in this particular area.
The Duomo was stunning at night.
One of the coolest experiences on our trip, though, was climbing up the Duomo roof. (Or, to be more accurate, taking an elevator up to the roof and walking around). The detail on the spires is amazing, as is the sheer amount of spires. It was raining lightly before we walked along the roof, so I made J wear Lilly because his footwear was a little smarter than mine.
The steps up to the very top of the roof were really steep. Actually, the entire experience was a little terrifying. Slippery steep steps? Yikes.
Family picture up top, and I’ve finally managed the elbow-out-to the side pose. Yay for skinny-looking arms.
It started raining a bit harder while we were on the room, so we decided to head back down. The rain actually made for some really cool pictures!
She looks so cozy with her dada, while he attempts to beat me at competitive instagramming (#notgonnahappen).
The next day we took the train to Orvieto… (2 more recaps and we should be all caught up… to the beginning of September. :) )