Friday morning we caught an easy 2 1/2 hour train from Venice to Milan getting in around noon. We got to our hotel only to find out they would not allow 5 people in a room by law! So we were forced to get a second room. Fortunately, the front desk lady was very sympathetic and got us a great deal on the second room, about 75% off. After that little mix up, we got to our room(s), settled in, and looked to buy tickets to the World Expo. Our original plan was to get a family pack (2 adult + 2 children) + 1 child for Monday. However, due to the heat wave we felt going during the day could be a problem. Also we weren’t sure if we’d even like it. We didn’t feel it was worth spending that much money on a full day package (about $100). So we bought 5 night tickets for that night, Friday, allowing us to go from 7pm to closing (11pm) for about a quarter of the price. Before heading to the expo, we wanted to stop by Chiesa di Santa Maria dell Grazie where Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Suppper is. The plan was to see if there were any cancelations that day as all reservations were sold out ‘till Tuesday, the day we were leaving. One of the attendants was very adamant that we had to call the ticket sales number each day to see if there was an availability. We were about to leave when Tuyet saw the second attendant by the door letting people in and asked her. She had a tour where two people didn’t show up. I and the kids had already left, so Tuyet was in! Of course no pictures. The viewing was at 5:45pm and lasts only 15 minutes. Tuyet said she was crying because it was so beautiful and so touching. I’m glad she got to go.
We quickly headed up to the Expo and boy were we amazed. The Expo was very fun with all the different country pavilions. I’ll get to more about the Expo a bit later.
During our second day we headed to Duomo, the third largest church in Europe and the world’s largest Gothic church. We took the subway from our hotel and when you walk out of the subway you’re greeted by the grandeur of Duomo sitting right in front of you across the square. It was quite amazing. After a quick lunch we bought tickets to go inside for all of us plus 3 tickets for Tuyet and Kim, then for myself to climb up to the roof to walk around the top of the church among the spires. The church was absolutely gorgeous inside. And walking along the roof was stunning. There are 3,200 statues, 135 spires, and 146 stained-glass windows. We were impressed. After Duomo we walked through the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II shopping arcade. Of course we had to stop in some of the more finer shops like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, etc. to look around. 🙂
Our last day we headed to Castello Sforzesco, an immense red-brick castle with a huge open green space behind. This too was pretty impressive to just walk through all the inner courtyards. Unfortunately because it was a Monday, all of the museums inside were closed.
Each night after walking around Milan, we would head out to the World Expo and enjoy visiting the various country pavilions; some were very interesting like UAE, Azerbaijan, Brazil while others were a bit more shall we say normal. 🙂 Kim and Tia bought a “passport” each and could collect “Visas” from each country we visited at the Expo. We had a map and tried to go to as many country pavilions as we could for 3 nights in a row. It was very fun. The theme of the expo is the future of food; how to feed 9 billion people in the future. Each pavilion showed how they currently feed their people as well as help develop technologies and techniques that other countries can use. After 3 afternoons of walking around Milan, it was pretty exhausting to walk through the expo each night for 3 to 4 hours, but it was worth it! What a great way to end our 3 month trip by doing another “trip around the world” at the world expo in Milan.
It is now Tuesday and we caught a morning train from Milan to Geneva, Switzerland. This was an awesome train ride through valleys and around mountains with snow covered peaks in the distance. Due to the heat wave, we elected not to spend the afternoon walking around Geneva. We stored our luggage in lockers at a grocery store across the street from the station (free w/ $20 deposit vs. $10 at the station), had lunch, walked down to the lake, took a rest on the grass, then headed back to the grocery store to buy food for dinner and snacks for the next morning. We took a bus to our hotel just across the border in France and will rest the night before catching another bus to the airport for our flights back to the US. We’ll be spending a week in Florida before heading back to LA.
It’s been an awesome 3 months on the road and we’ll be a bit sad to stop traveling but also a bit glad to be getting home.
Not quite the final post… I’d like to do a wrap up in a bit. See you at home!