After 23 hours of flying via Singapore and London, we arrived in Milano at 1045, Friday morning and caught a taxi to our hotel.  We got out of the taxi to the sounds of much “yelling and screaming”; a local was having a heated discussion with someone on the telephone outside of our Hotel, I didn’t need a translator to realise this guy was annoyed to say the least. This, on top of the 60 km taxi ride from the airport where our driver “Juan Manuel Fangio” talked on his mobile phone while weaving in and out of traffic, no indicators, (hands busy holding the phone!) speed limit signs were treated as the lower speed at which you travelled!  All this and a bit of tailgating thrown in, “Welcome to Milano”!

Galleria Vittorio Emanuelel II

After we checked in, the plan was too have a couple of hours sleep to recover. After about an hour of tossing and turning, we gave up on the sleep and left the hotel to discover Milan.  Our hotel was about 1.6 kms from the main central area of Milan. We walked through several parks before arriving in the centre of town. There are a lot of fairly large parks dotted around the city and are used by the Milanese for all sorts of recreational activities.

The population of the city proper is about 1.3 million, the greater urban area has an estimated population of 4.3 million and is the 5th largest in the EU. Milan is the capitol of Lombardy as well as the Province of Milan.  It is the main industrial, commercial and financial centre of Italy.  The Italian Stock Exchange is based in the city along with the headquarters of the large national banks and multinational companies.  The city is recognised as the major fashion and design capitol.

After a short look around some of the shopping malls we came upon the Piazza del Duomo, the city’s main and most central square, which is surrounded by some amazing buildings such as, the Milan Cathedral and the Royal Palace of Milan. We headed back to our hotel and retreated to the bar to replenish our fluid levels, followed by dinner, the pasta was fantastic!

Saturday was spent discovering more of this wonderful city and having the odd “Espresso” along the way. We visited the Cathedral (Duomo) and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuelel II, La Scala and Castello Sforzesco before heading further out of the city area through Sempione Park to the Arch of Peace, which reminded me of a miniature version of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. In the afternoon Barbara went to a modern art exhibition in the Galleria d’Arte Moderna in the Palazzo Real, while I walked around in the summer heat getting sunburnt and taking photos. Going back to the hotel we walked through lots of beautiful streets and did lots of window-shopping. (The budget is still intact!) We went back to our hotel for more ‘happy hour’ drinks and then out to a great restaurant for a delicious dinner.

Arc de Triomphe

Sunday we headed to the train station and caught the train to Como with the intention of catching the ferry or hydrofoil around Laga di Como, have a brief stopover for lunch at Bellagio and maybe go and visit George Clooney for a “Nespresso”, unfortunately our plans were thrown into disarray as the people operating all the lake vessels were on strike, so George will have to wait!  Instead, we caught the Funicular to the top of the mountain, then, continued on foot, another steep 2km to the summit to see the Volta Lighthouse. The building is named after Alessandro Volta, the inventor of the battery, who was born in Como.  We had lunch at the top of the mountain overlooking Como, the lake and surrounding mountains.  Once again, the pasta was fantastic!  After the long and steep walk to the bottom we visited a local bar and sampled their product, ‘unpasteurised’ beer and white wine, very nice! We think this might be organic rather than unpasteurised – either way it was excellent, especially after the walk.

Castello Sforzesco

After coming down the Funicular into Como we headed to the train station. Unfortunately we got a bit lost and walked a lot further than we had too. We finally found a person to ask for directions – had to be someone from Switzerland who was in Como visiting his mother. He rescued us and took us to the station.

For dinner that night we had planned to have Pizza, and went to a restaurant which we thought was the pizzeria we had walked past earlier – another wrong turn, which turned out for the best – restaurant was a vegan organic middle eastern cuisine, so we had a great meal and certainly got our 5 serves in for the day!!

Milan Street

After spending 3 wonderful days in Milan, on Monday morning we caught the train, a little less jet-lagged and more rested, onto Florence and our favourite Hotel, ‘El Torre Guelfa’.


Lance and Barbara


  1. Dear Barbara and Lance,
    Sounds fantastic! Photos are wonderful too!
    Enjoy Florence…..hope the arm is doing well.
    Much love
    C,V and P

  2. Fantastic to hear your adventures. Hope your arm isn’t giving you too much grief Barb. No new news to report from Kneebone St. Enjoy your holiday. Love Adrienne x

  3. Hi Lance

    Glad to hear from you both. Sounds like you are having a great time. Please keep sending your posts. Lance is this your first post? I haven’t received any prior to this one. Any chance of sending others (if they exist). I’m not aware of Barbara’s arm problem mentioned in this post. Hope she is ok

    Enjoy guys
    Roger and Claire

  4. Nice to see the pictures. It looks like the weather has been great for you and also the culinary experiences! Keep it coming,
    love Jacki

  5. Hi Lance & Barb,
    Thanks for including me in the blog. Pleased you enjoyed Milan & Como enjoy reading about the great food and wine you’re enjoying. Hope the arm is ok Barb, Take care & enjoy
    Love Marg Seears

  6. Hi Lance & Barbara.. Glad to hear to hear you arrived ok and are enjoying your travels
    weather sounds wonderful ! love the photos too looking forward to seeing a lot more

    Glenda & Max

    • Hi Glenda & Max,
      We had a great flight/s, first train ride for this trip, Milan to Florence, I’ve heard the weather there is fairly wintery,
      Lance and Barbara

  7. HI Cousins,

    Long time no hear….love the photos but as my mother would says when I was over there, we’d love to see more of you in the pictures…haha. That’s just me.
    Our weather is lovely now…getting hot now. SO this next weekedend two large pool parties in our back put on by my dau. for her office group and the other for our g.son’s 3rd birthday…should be busy here..haha.
    Great to see your photos though…you have a great eye.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Cuz Shelley

    • Hi Shelley,
      Good to hear from you, sounds like you are busy over there, we have just begun this trip, we are away for 3 months, lots of places to look at and discover.

  8. Hi Barbara and Lance,
    Good to hear everything is going well, and that Barbara’s arm is not stopping her from enjoying a coffee and a glass of wine. It all sounds wonderful and hope it continues to go well.

    Peter and Shirley

  9. Hi Barb and Lance
    Wonderful to read about your adventures…great pictures and the wining and dining sounds amazing….much better than Da Costa food Barb. The Positive Ed conference is really good- full on and so much to take in – plenty of personal reflections etc etc. Everyone is really embracing it, but we are beginning to hit a brick wall..and still 2 more days to go! Glad your arm is on the mend. Jo Tierney is doing well after her hip operation.
    Keep enjoying your adventures
    Em and David

    • Hi Em and David,
      Glad you are enjoying the blog, the weather here is the same every day, really hard to take. Barb’s arm is getting better all the time, a couple more weeks in the splint a lot more exercise and the nice hot weather continues to help.

  10. Hi Lance and Barb, great to see Italy is treating you well in all ways. Watch that Pasta it creeps up on you. Very wet here….. trying to imagine the sunshine and the Italian lakes ah the serenity… Thanks for the brief moments of fantasy. They are beautiful photos Lance. Will think of you both at work on Monday. Chris PS happy anniversary soon???

    • Hi Chris and Mike,
      The pasta is fantastic, and I think it may well be creeping up on me, along with the Chianti, we had a great anniversary, the Jacobs Creek was a very good year, the plastic cup definitely helped.

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