After getting to the hostel and dumping everything, I ventured out to see what the city had to offer. From my hotel it's around a 45 minute walk to the Duomo (or else you can take the train) but I wanted to see the city so walked in the rain that really wouldn't let up. It's funny becuase whenever I told people I had met along the way that I was going to Italy, they always told me to not bother with Milan. "It's boring", they said. "Just a city of banks and high end shopping".
I can imagine the squeals of protest from all my Italian friends back home, most of whom come from Milan, at this! Rest assured guys, I don't think it is boring at all. I certainly can smell and feel the pollution around me, I will say that, but it's not boring!!
I met up with a friend (as I had mentioned before) in the early evening and he took me on a little tour around the Duomo area. Then he, his girlfriend and another Italian guy and I had dinner together, which was really nice. Dinner with Italians is always a lively affair :)
The four of us - Giovanni with his customary beer :)
This morning I returned to the Duomo area to have a look properly - unlike many churches in Italy, it is not of Renaissance or Romanesque design but much more like the Cathedrals in France and Germany. Needless to say it is very impressive. And very beautiful inside - the stained glass windows of the saints bathe the Cathedral in soft light. Towards the back of the Cathedral is where the tomb of St Charles Borromeo and you can see his body there.
I also did some more exploring of the Piazza Duomo and the various buildings around it. They are all very beautiful and again impressive!
The entrance to Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, next to the Duomo.
The Piazza Duomo, with the statue of Vittorio Emanuele II (the first king of Italy)
I forgot to mention that when I was back in Melb a friend worked out a few routes for me to discover Milan, which have been so helpful - cheers Seba :) I followed the red tour which led me along Via Dante, up to the Castello Sforzesco.
Here I spent a few hours in the castle making my way through the rooms the various artefacts and museums it houses. Then afterwards I kept going on my tour and went through the Parco Sempione, kind of like a botanical garden, where I saw the Triennale and the Arco Della Pace.
All in all, a very enjoyable day. I had to return early to my hostel to do some preparation for my trip to Turkey in the next few days. But I am again meeting up with friends for dinner tonight - these ones I made in Sydney in 2008 for World Youth Day.