Saturday, January 02, 2010

Il Bel Paese


Day 01 - Milan - Firenze

We arrived in Milan after an uneventful flight. Went through immigration, got out bags (which took a little while) and off we go. Found the Biglietteria and bought tickets for the Malpensa express (EUR 3,75 one way for children EUR12 return for adults) for Milano Stazione Centrale.

There were hints of ice and snow. The sky was grey but we were happy and excited. Arrived in Milano Centrale about 1.5 hours later. That was were we got conned #1. A main saw us struggling with our bags and offered to help us with our bags. EUR5 right to the train carriage. I told him we needed to get tickets first, he says no problem showed us to the concession place. To cut the story short he showed us where the elevator was and abandoned us there. Welcome to Milan!

Left the men on the platform where I went in search of the Trenitalia ticket office. Finally found it downstairs and there was a huge long queue. No wonder the guy didn't want to show us there. Waited patiently in the FRECCIAROSSA line which was shorter than the other line. Finally got a busty blonde Italian dame who was friendly and helpful. Got our Eurail passes validated and paid EUR10 per ticket for each seat on the fast train to Firenze, first class.

The men however were freezing on the platform and had brought all the bags downstairs in search of fresh Italian coffee. No such luck as we had to rush back to the platform to catch the 10:15 train to Firenze.

Found our cabin, then our seats and settled in. Still trying to get that first cup of Italian coffee, the men went to the Buffet car, only to be told that they had a problem that morning, hence no food or drinks.

The journey was 1 hr and 45 mins. Amalina decided to catch up with some sleep after she was bored with the iphone.

We arrived in Firenze, cold. I was glad that I had my thermals on, (although I was feeling hot in the plane.)

It took us awhile to get ourselves oriented to the area. Started walking in the general direction we thought the B&B was. Not easy with big bags and narrow pedestrian paths. After awhile I suggested that we stopped for Ciocolata Calda or Hot Chocolate and Amalina had Gelato to pacify her.

Turns out that the hot chocolate was the best our travel companions ever tasted and somehow Stephano's was never open when we wanted to have more of his hot chocolate later. (Rumour has it he already went home for Xmas.)

Stephano told us that our B&B was just straight ahead and after finishing our hot chocolates we went off on our way.

We found the B&B Residenza della Signoria quite easily after that. Turns out that the residence is right smack in the shopping area!

After we put our bags away, we decided to have some lunch. By this time it was almost 3 pm. There were quite a few restaurants near the Residenza. We chose the eatery round the corner because it was packed full when everything else was empty.

The food served at Birreria Centrale was delicious! We had the risotto with porcini mushrooms, ordered the Salmone Carpaccio (that came with orange and pomegranate) for Amalina and the husband had Tortellini con Tartufo. The food was absolutely delish! All the flavours just burst and went dancing in my mouth!

After the wonderful late lunch we walked around the area and found a fruiterer. Are those good looking tomatoes or what!

We bought some fruits to be eaten as snack the following day.

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