The primarily reason for flying into Milan versus another city was because tickets were $500 cheaper. Multiply that times four and it’s a $2000 savings. Our flight over all was slightly bumpy. Meal service was delayed as a result. I had ordered the kids the kids meal and I was glad I did. The kids meal was chicken nuggets, corn, and some mac and cheese. It also included cheese and crackers, a roll, animal crackers, Oreo cookies, and water. Breakfast I think was something similar – stuff your kids would eat but not necessarily the healthiest option. Rhubarb ate enough of her dinner on the flight that I was not too worried about her.
The flight was bumpy…Rhubarb slept for an hour or two while the rest of us were awake or dozed in and out. We arrived in MXP at 6:30 AM and were one of the first through immigration. They didn’t even ask us any questions or have us fill out forms. They just stamped and we proceeded. Baggage claim took a little longer than I had wanted. Then we had to decide between the train into Milan or the shuttle bus. I am glad I researched that beforehand because I knew there was only on train leaving at 7:43 or we could take a bus which left every ten minutes. So while the kids wanted to take the train…we took a bus.
We got to the main train station (via bus) and walked to our hotel. Our hotel was a block or two from the train station. We checked in and unfortunately they told us that people were still in the room we reserved and check out time was noon. For a minute we were doomed. Our son is ok if he is tired, the girl is quite a mess. Some Italian was spoken with a co-worker and then they told us they could put two cots in another room and get us a room in ten minutes. We chose that option. I was literally expecting a super tiny room with no where to walk with the cots but the room is actually big enough for us all with the cots in there.
It was around 9:30 AM when we were finally settled in the room. My husband and I told the kids it was time for naps. Both kids declared they were not tired. Whatever. We knew they would fall asleep quickly and they did. I set an alarm not thinking we would need it. Next thing I know it is 1:45. So we had a good 4 hour plus nap. I took a shower and then my husband took a shower and we started waking the kids. Neither really wanted to get up…we were reminding them that earlier neither wanted to go to sleep. They eventually reluctantly woke up. And complained about hunger. At this point I brought out all the food I had saved from the Delta lounge and the flight. I am thankful I saved that.
We went to the subway attempted to take the subway to the Cardona stop to see the Last Supper painting. However I was distracted and we got off at the stop after it. I don’t think it was bad doing that. The walk was nice getting to the church.
We located the ticket booth and picked up our tickets. The Last Supper is NOT something you can just show up to and expect to get tickets. They sell out within hours of going on sale, and they go on sale about four months prior to the tour date. Anyhoo, we collected our tickets and then the boys went to find some water and then I took the Rhubarb to get a snack.
We saw the Last Supper and it was fabulous. They are very careful about monitoring the conditions of the painting. There was one part where we were separated from our group because we had to go through doors. One door would not open when another was open. So we eventually get to the painting. Groups of 30 are allowed in at once in 15 minute increments. No photography is allowed. The painting does take up the entire wall. I thought maybe it would not take up the entire wall. On the other side of the building is another beautiful painting. I felt our time at the painting was too short, but I am also grateful for the limited time slots and the smaller crowds and the lack of photography. From what I remember at the Louvre people take pics all the time which I think ruins the moment.
After seeing the painting we went in search of gelato for the kids and a coffee for the dad. We also took a streetcar towards the Duomo. That was another thing that my research paid off. Had I not looked into the public transportation I would not have known the street car goes directly there from the building with the Last Supper painting. We got on that and got off a stop before the Duomo so we could find a bite to eat. We ordered three gelatos and one espresso and had “table service”. This was a mistake. The bill was way overpriced, and much more expensive than what we had paid in Germany two summers ago. Oh well, lesson learned. Better to learn here than in Venice.
We then arrived at the Duomo. Once again we had a lesson on taking better care of our surroundings and saying no. We were trying to figure out the best place to take a picture and before we knew it we had people tieing bracelets onto the kids and I and then demanding money. Lesson learned. We then told the kids to swarm them away. I feel like now we can’t go to any major attraction without being in attack mode. There are also a bunch of people selling selfie sticks all over the Duomo.
So I did not pre-buy tickets for this. My research had said you did not really need them if you arrived late at night and were taking the stairs. Well – just our luck the elevator was broken. So we had to wait in line for thirty+ minutes to get to climb to the top of the Duomo. At least we were able to climb to the top. The Rhubarb was really looking forward to that. Another lesson learned though – I could have pre-bought tickets but I did no and we almost did not get to go to the top.
The top was pretty cool and the kids seemed to enjoy themselves. We took lots of pictures up there and after that decided to go get dinner. We walked through the Gallerria Vittoria and checked out their menu prices and then decided to grab “fast food”. I was ok with this since tomorrow we will be in Venice and I know that is not going to be cheap. I got some pizza (of course) and then my husband and the kids headed back to the hotel while I went to get a SIM card for my phone.
I got back to the hotel and noticed a very small wine bar. I checked back in with the family and then went back downstairs to the hotel “bar”. I had a glass of Chianti and then brought another glass of something back to the room. Half the crew is asleep now and hopefully the rest of the crew will fall asleep soon.
All in all a good first day. I am looking forward to Venice but I am also looking forward to Florence when we will have more room to spread out and “relax”.