Since we had no kids around to feed, we took every opportunity to eat and drink whatever we wanted. Fancy juice, candy, airport snacks—you name it.
Our international flight went straight from Newark to Milan, and it was one of those planes with eight seats across. Even though we flew economy, we felt pretty well treated. We each had our own screen and phone charging port, and they brought us food and water pretty regularly. The flight was about eight hours, which I thought would be so long, but it went surprisingly fast. I slept for some of it (with the aid of melatonin), and then we just watched movies the rest of the time. Since we never see movies, literally every movie they offered was a new release to us. We watched a few together, and then I caught some of the last Downton Abbey season that I had missed. It was so enjoyable. I really do not understand why my kids complain about sitting in the back seat on road trips. They watch movies and eat snacks the whole time—and it’s the LIFE!
Flying over the Alps was so beautiful. Those mountains are amazing. We saw the Matterhorn and a few other mountains that Soren recognized. We landed at about 9:30 a.m. Milan time, 2:30 a.m. Kansas City time. We were tired, but everything was so new that I definitely couldn’t have slept. After landing, we collected our luggage and figured out the public transportation. Our hotel was in downtown Milan, so we had about a 30-minute train ride from the airport to the hotel. However, as soon as we stepped outside, I literally froze. It was so windy and cold, and I was not dressed for those temps. My first priority became getting a scarf, some socks, and some more sweaters.
One of the best moments of our trip came as we exited the subway for the first time into Milan’s main square near the Duomo, Italy’s biggest cathedral. It was such an experience to walk up those steps, into the sunlight, and see such an amazing building. We both audibly gasped. The entire square was so beautiful and pure Italy. It was like nothing I had ever seen before.
After we got ahold of ourselves, we headed straight for Zara and H&M. There was a lot of shopping near the main square, so we quickly found what I needed. And then we dragged ourselves and our suitcases to our hotel. We stayed at Suite Milano, which ended up being more of an apartment rental. And it was nice! The owner was wonderful, and the view, which you can see below, was great.
We proceeded to pass out as soon as we had settled in. People say you shouldn’t nap so that you can get over the jet lag as quickly as possible, but we couldn’t help it. We shut the curtains and fell asleep for a few hours. It was the weirdest thing because we probably could have slept all night had we let ourselves.
Instead, I dragged Soren out of bed and got dressed to go find some dinner. And it ended up being an amazing night. We explored Milan and just walked and walked and walked. There was so much to see and admire on every street.
Socks were a funny thing in Milan. Everyone wore them—except me. And I paid for it. I wore low socks with these boots, but after a lot of walking, they started to rub my ankles. We stopped at H&M again for me to buy tall socks and add extra padding to my boots. Thankfully it worked!
After wandering for a few hours, we found a restaurant to eat at. It was just a small place on a back street, and it ended up being great. We tried new things and enjoyed the Italian bread and real olive oil. The cannolis there were really good too!
We headed home after dinner, crashed in bed, and woke up the next day ready to take on Milan. The main reason for our trip was to attend a three-day-long convention for work. It ran Tuesday through Thursday, so when we woke up Tuesday morning, we packed our bags for the day and made our plan to get to the convention. Most people who go to Italy don’t visit Milan because it is more of a big city and less of a destination. Because we had a work trip we were “forced” to be there, and I was not complaining. It was definitely an amazing place to visit, and I’m thankful we had multiple days there to just get to know the city.
I bought this backpack for our trip, and it ended up being the perfect thing. A backpack is a must on a trip like this, and this one fit my style and function requirements. Every day we left our hotel in the morning and didn’t come back until evening, so we each took a backpack with us daily.
These were my go-to shoes on this trip. They don’t have arch support, but they were really comfortable and never rubbed. I purposefully didn’t take any sneakers on this trip, except my Converses, but while we were there I was wishing I had. The walking really was a lot of work, and Nikes would have been so helpful.
I came THIS close to buying this beautiful red jacket—multiple times. It was really expensive, but I love it so much. We found it at the incredible La Rinacente store I described above. Soren was the only one who ended up getting a souvenir here. We found him the perfect Italian leather jacket. He looks so good in it, and it was the perfect reminder of our trip for him to buy.
After we saw The Last Supper, we headed across the street to Da Vinci’s Garden tour. It was really cool because we learned about the aristocracy of Milan and some of its history. The tour was a headphone tour, so it wasn’t quite as engaging. But as you can see below, it was BEAUTIFUL. I will never get over the buildings in Italy.
For dinner that night, we grabbed pizza and gelato. Both were delicious; however, we bought way too much pizza. We might have eaten like a third of what you see. If you ever go, just order one. Two is silly.
This was probably my favorite outfit of the trip. I bought the sweater in Milan at Zara and layered it with my favorite black dress. I still was a weirdo for showing my legs (everyone else was covered from head to toe), but I loved the look.
- Stay near the city center. Get a hotel near the Duomo, and you’ll have a million things within walking distance.
- Visit La Rinacente to get a taste of all of the shopping in Milan. All of the big brands are there. Great department store.
- There is a Zara almost everywhere you go. Inexpensive but great style. If you forgot anything, this is the place to pick it up.
- Wear shoes with socks.
- If you go in February, everyone will be wearing fur of some kind—black, a big scarf, no exposed skin. Fur was literally everywhere. And I have no idea if it was fake or not. To me, all fur is fake because that is all I buy.
- Get gelato from Grom!
- Use the subway to get to sites outside of walking distance.
- If you want to see The Last Supper, buy tickets early. You can take pics inside, but you only get 15 minutes in the actual room with the painting.
- Da Vinci’s garden is across the street. Not so much about Da Vinci, but cool tour of a very old home in Milan. Learn about history and past important people.
- Be prepared for lots of walking! Exploring was our favorite thing to do in Milan.
- The people aren’t very friendly unless they work in the tourism industry.
- Most places had someone who spoke English, so no Italian was needed.
- Almost everywhere took credit cards. It wasn’t hard to find an ATM either.