November 7, 2019 Milan IT

We woke early to head into Milan as the weather forecast was threatening.  It looked like the best window was going to be in the morning, so we were off for downtown before 8:30.

I expected Milan to be a more elegant city than it turned out to be, based on it being the fashion capital of the world with names like Gucci, Versace, Louis Vuitton  and Prada located here.  I envisioned it to be a Miami or Los Angeles. Instead it felt more like Pittsburg or Detroit, more industrial than elegant.  

Our camp site is in a working class neighborhood at the end of a tram line which is convenient for getting downtown.  We take public transport in most of the cities so we get to see the less glamorous parts of town.  It gives a view of life away from the tourist centers, and a chance to watch people interacting in a normal environment,  which we enjoy.  Milan is a more diverse city than any we have seen in Italy.  It definitely has the largest Asian population we have seen which seems to be mostly Pilipinos.  We had been commenting on the lack of Kebab shops in Italy compared to the other countries we have visited, but Milan had plenty of Kebab shops.

One of the windows of the Louis Vuitton store in Milan.

Downtown Milan did have some of the elegance we were looking for with all of the big name fashion designers having stores in the Galleria off of the main square.  Right after we arrived downtown it started raining and the Galleria is covered so we headed there to get out of the rain.  We walked around looking at all of the fancy stores and enjoying the Galleria.  I believe it is the inspiration for all of the malls that dot the US, but on a scale that no developer is going to pay for.  

The Galleria in Milan, the inspiration for hundreds of “Malls” in the US.

Between showers we would dash out of the Galleria and head towards the Cathedral which is the largest Gothic Cathedral in the world.  It was built over 600 years so it passed thru a lot of design styles.  It is know for the hundreds of statues on the exterior and the interior.  

Ton really liked these two statues, though we are not sure what the story is.

We decided to pay the small entrance fee to visit the interior as there was no line.  We were both impressed with one particular statue of St. Bartholomew.  The statue is in great detail and you can see his bones, muscles, and veins.  We did not realize this was because he was flayed alive.  What we thought was a robe wrapped around him is actually his skin!

St. Bartholomew with his skin wrapped around him like a robe.

We had been remarking on Italy being the first country we had visited in Europe that did not have several Starbucks in every major city.  Ton looked it up and there is only one Starbucks in Italy and it is also the largest Starbucks in the world (until next week when a larger one will open in Chicago).  We decided to visit it as it roasts its own coffee that Starbucks calls a “Reserve Roast”.  They also feature many different ways of brewing coffee.  We expected to have a quick coffee and head out, but ended up in there for well over an hour and enjoying two coffee’s each.

The largest Starbucks in the world.

November 6, 2019 Milan IT

We have hit a lull in the trip.  A combination of poor weather and the need to be much more deliberate in planning.  It looks like nearly every campsite in Northern Italy closed down on November 3rd.  Our plan was to visit one of the lakes that Northern Italy is famous for.  Our first choice was Lake Como, but after looking at over 20 campsites websites they were all closed.  We switched to Lake Garda and seemed to find one campsite that was open.  Their website and the ACSI website both said that it was open until November 10.  So today Lake Garda was our target.

No pictures for today as we spent most of the day driving.  So another picture of St. Marks square under water.

We took our time departing Vicenza as the drive was only an hour to the campsite on Lake Garda.  We began with a shopping trip to Lidl.  After the last two days between the American Grocery at the Army base and Lidl; François is stuffed with food.  Ton had a difficult time getting everything into place.  Heading down the Autostrada to Lake Garda was easy, thought the truck traffic was quite heavy.  It was a short trip to the campsite after we left the Autostrada and it was raining heavily.  We discussed whether it was worth stopping as we did not know whether we would be able to enjoy the lake in the rain.  The problem was solved when we arrived at the campground and found that despite all of our internet research it was closed for the season.  So the decision was made and we headed back to the autostrada for the additional 140 kilometers to Milan.

Our destination this time was an Agritourismo site on the edge of Milan that was reported to be open.  We arrived about 3 pm and were directed down some really small roads, and when the GPS announced we had arrived there was nothing that looked like a place for campers in site.  I remembered that one of the reviews said that the GPS coordinates for the site were not quite accurate so I parked François and went on a foot reconnaissance and found the site tucked away.  

It is definitely  the most eccentric site we have stayed on here in Italy.  It is tucked in the courtyard of a farm building surrounded by construction and apartments.  There are a couple of dogs running around, a cat that seems to be in charge, and 10 or 12 chickens.    It is the only site available in Milan so it will do.

November 7, 2019 Milan IT

We woke early to head into Milan as the weather forecast was threatening.  It looked like the best window was going to be in the morning, so we were off for downtown before 8:30.

I expected Milan to be a more elegant city than it turned out to be, based on it being the fashion capital of the world with names like Gucci, Versace, Louis Vuitton  and Prada located here.  I envisioned it to be a Miami or Los Angeles. Instead it felt more like Pittsburg or Detroit, more industrial than elegant.  

Our camp site is in a working class neighborhood at the end of a tram line which is convenient for getting downtown.  We take public transport in most of the cities so we get to see the less glamorous parts of town.  It gives a view of life away from the tourist centers, and a chance to watch people interacting in a normal environment,  which we enjoy.  Milan is a more diverse city than any we have seen in Italy.  It definitely has the largest Asian population we have seen which seems to be mostly Philippinos.  We had been commenting on the lack of Kebab shops in Italy compared to the other countries we have visited, but Milan had plenty of Kebab shops.

One of the windows of the Louis Vuitton store in Milan.

Downtown Milan did have some of the elegance we were looking for with all of the big name fashion designers having stores in the Galleria off of the main square.  Right after we arrived downtown it started raining and the Galleria is covered so we headed there to get out of the rain.  We walked around looking at all of the fancy stores and enjoying the Galleria.  I believe it is the inspiration for all of the malls that dot the US, but on a scale that no developer is going to pay for.  

The Galleria in Milan, the inspiration for hundreds of “Malls” in the US.

Between showers we would dash out of the Galleria and head towards the Cathedral which is the largest Gothic Cathedral in the world.  It was built over 600 years so it passed thru a lot of design styles.  It is know for the hundreds of statues on the exterior and the interior.  

Ton really liked these two statues, though we are not sure what the story is.

We decided to pay the small entrance fee to visit the interior as there was no line.  We were both impressed with one particular statue of St. Bartholomew.  The statue is in great detail and you can see his bones, muscles, and veins.  We did not realize this was because he was flayed alive.  What we thought was a robe wrapped around him is actually his skin!

St. Bartholomew with his skin wrapped around him like a robe.

We had been remarking on Italy being the first country we had visited in Europe that did not have several Starbucks in every major city.  Ton looked it up and there is only one Starbucks in Italy and it is also the largest Starbucks in the world (until next week when a larger one will open in Chicago).  We decided to visit it as it roasts its own coffee that Starbucks calls a “Reserve Roast”.  They also feature many different ways of brewing coffee.  We expected to have a quick coffee and head out, but ended up in there for well over an hour and enjoying two coffee’s each.

The largest Starbucks in the world.

November 6, 2019 Milan IT

We have hit a lull in the trip.  A combination of poor weather and the need to be much more deliberate in planning.  It looks like nearly every campsite in Northern Italy closed down on November 3rd.  Our plan was to visit one of the lakes that Northern Italy is famous for.  Our first choice was Lake Como, but after looking at over 20 campsites websites they were all closed.  We switched to Lake Garda and seemed to find one campsite that was open.  Their website and the ACSI website both said that it was open until November 10.  So today Lake Garda was our target.

No pictures for today as we spent most of the day driving.  So another picture of St. Marks square under water.

We took our time departing Vicenza as the drive was only an hour to the campsite on Lake Garda.  We began with a shopping trip to Lidl.  After the last two days between the American Grocery at the Army base and Lidl; François is stuffed with food.  Ton had a difficult time getting everything into place.  Heading down the Autostrada to Lake Garda was easy, thought the truck traffic was quite heavy.  It was a short trip to the campsite after we left the Autostrada and it was raining heavily.  We discussed whether it was worth stopping as we did not know whether we would be able to enjoy the lake in the rain.  The problem was solved when we arrived at the campground and found that despite all of our internet research it was closed for the season.  So the decision was made and we headed back to the autostrada for the additional 140 kilometers to Milan.

Our destination this time was an Agritourismo site on the edge of Milan that was reported to be open.  We arrived about 3 pm and were directed down some really small roads, and when the GPS announced we had arrived there was nothing that looked like a place for campers in site.  I remembered that one of the reviews said that the GPS coordinates for the site were not quite accurate so I parked François and went on a foot reconnaissance and found the site tucked away.  

It is definitely  the most eccentric site we have stayed on here in Italy.  It is tucked in the courtyard of a farm building surrounded by construction and apartments.  There are a couple of dogs running around, a cat that seems to be in charge, and 10 or 12 chickens.    It is the only site available in Milan so it will do.