Sunday, January 3, 2010

Italian Vacation: Milan

Over Christmas break I decided to get out of Japan and visit Europe for the first time, making my way to Italy. I flew from Narita to Rome and quickly took a train to Milan, Florence (or Firenze) before ending the trip in Rome and returning to Narita.Unfortunately, my first introduction to Europe was a 5 hour train ride to Milan, typically this would take three hours but that train was full. So I ended-up leaving Rome Terminal on the slow train below:The first thing you notice is that there is graffiti all over that train and every other train in the station. Which is strange when you are from Japan, I think someone found graffiti on the west side of Tokyo, but other then that it's not normal. The train train trip ended at Milan Central Terminal just past midnight, at this point it was time to rest.

One problem with traveling to Italy (Europe) in December is it's suppose to rain, at least that is what Rick Steves and the weather channel said.But we got lucky, almost everyday was blue skies. This almost held true through Rome, but we will talk about that later. Above is a view of the Alps from the Milan Marriott, floor 7.

Christmas day, everything in Milan / Italy is closed because everyone who would open places is at church. As a result all we could do was walk around and look at old buildings and mass transit.The most dominating structure in Milan is the Duomo, a cathedral church that took 500 years to complete.Above is the only statue on the roof of the Duomo holding a flag, I think it's a lighting rod. Here I am on top of the Duomo:Most major churches in Italy allow you to go on the roof, I don't completely understand this, I think most church roof's in the US are closed to the public... time to protest, it's fun up there.The Duomo itself is amazing, it looks like it took 5 centuries to build. I can't even imagine how many statues are attached to it. Here is a view from the inside:You are not suppose to take photos in here, but everyone else was so I did not feel to guilty.Lion statue at night.

Milan train station is also really cool:It has that old school feel to it:I will post over the next couple of days the other cities too.

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