Smile #74 – Nice to Meet You, Milan, Italy!

Nice to Meet You See You, Milan!

Bubble and I packed up our bags and headed to our second stop, Milano!  🙂

At 8:30am, the station was already crowded with locals and tourists.  We stood beneath the departure board scanning for our platform number, but nothing was posted.  Just 5 minutes prior to departure, the board finally flashed platform 8.  This new update caused everyone to rush to the platform and it was a bit of a chaotic mess.  We speed-walked by other patrons to find our carriage. All aboard!

The train passed through some local regions of Italy.  The huge windows offered beautiful natural scenery as the train went through hills and mountains.  Three hours passed by pretty quickly and we made it to the world capital of fashion!  Bubble survived his first cross-cities train ride in Italy!  🙂

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After our hotel finding experience in Rome, we mapped out the route to the hostel the night before.  The hostel should be a 5 minutes walk from the central train station.  Surely we can find it in no time!  WRONG!  We literally walked around in circle searching for this hostel.  Where are my navigation skills when I needed it?!

Ostello Bello Grande has a common room decorated with quirky decors, a 24 hours full stocked bar, and a game room. The atmosphere offered a very welcoming vibe.  Bubble was a bit apprehensive about the idea of hostel, but I think this has debunked the myth.  🙂

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Even though we are in a time crunch, it would be rude not to say hello to Duomo di Milano.  The majestic Gothic cathedral is stunning both inside and out.  We took the elevator for a speedy entrance to the roof.  From the top, we saw the Piazza bustling with tourists and annoying selfie sticks vendors (of course).  We found a spot on the roof and enjoyed the extended view of the city peeked between the pinnacles.  🙂

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Side Story:  We wanted a quick photo of us in front of the cathedral.  Of course right when we were posing for the perfect picture, a bird seed vendor would attempted to sell us some corn for the pigeons.  When we declined his offer, he proceeded to throw a few bird seeds nearby us causing all the pigeons to swooped in.  Rude!  Good thing it didn’t affect the final photo.  Thank you, stranger, for taking this awesome photo of us!  🙂

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Located next to the cathedral is the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.  Does the name sound familiar to you?  It should!  Because we went to a monument also dedicated to him just the day before in Rome (Read Smile #73 to refresh your memory).  Regardless, this is one of the oldest shopping malls in the world. Some of the most prestige shops are housed here, including Prada, Ferrari, Louis Vuitton and some mega expensive brands that I didn’t recognized.  Oh, it’s fan-cy!

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With just half a day to go, we hurried to the World Expo.

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The theme of Expo Milano is ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’.  Of course, we had to try some food!  We started with a chocolate kebab.   It is the same concept as a kebab, except made in chocolate!  YUM!  🙂

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We tasted regional Italian dishes and wines at Eataly.  We ordered two types of Focaccette.  One with stracciatella, ricotta, carpaccio di polpo, scorza di agrumi (octopus) and one with stracciatella, ricotta, sgombro affumicato, maggioranna (mackerel).  Both were unique and delicious!  I also discovered that my favorite wine is Moscato.  Keep it coming!

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With our full stomachs, we continued strolling through the expo.  Each country set up incredible architectural designed pavilions.  The Hungarian Pavilion took the shape of a ‘shamanic drum’ in reflection of Hungarian culture.  The rainbow colored Ecuador Pavilion appeared to be a quilt.  The Holland Pavilion created a orange and blue community featuring a Ferris wheel and restaurants serving authentic Dutch food.

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The main symbol of Italy’s Pavilion is the Tree of Life at the Lake Arena.  The sculpture offers a modern look.  It is the most popular spot in the expo.  Crowds gathered around to snap photos of the tree, particularly when the light show took place.  We managed to snap a few photos without being squished.

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Aside from the main strip, most of the pavilions are uncovered.  So when it started drizzling, we decided to head back to the hostel.  Here is hoping for beautiful weather tomorrow!  **FINGER CROSSED**

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