Guidance for Milan
This is guidance for Milan and the mixed blessings (not necessarily the correct category)
As the plane was coming to land, I saw nothing but a grey landscape. England is often wet and overcast, but nothing prepared me for this. I had seen one review on a site, that mentioned Milan being grey, and many others not mentioning this. I left a dry yet cold England, to face rain in Milan during the entire weekend trip. Everything looked pretty grey. I was glad to arrive at the hotel Crowne Plaza City, which is a new hotel. The superior rooms are just 10 euros more than the standard rooms, and are quite big. The airconditioning was a bit fierce, so the windows opening wide was a god-send. The sound proofing is good, it was nice and quiet, and a haven from the centre of Milan. However, it can get expensive in Taxi and/or driver fares. Unless you can read in Italian, and/or speak it, the Metro can be confusing. There are people that, at a push, will help you, but in the end I resorted to hiring the services of the hotels driver. This was after leaving the Duomo and being unable to get a taxi, due to the large amount of people waiting. I combined taking the metro (which if you read italian - is quite straight forward), but the location was still quite a way, and I was rather wet by arrival at Joia resturant. This was the next "let down". The atmosphere seemed exclusive at first, you cannot just "walk in", you have to press a buzzer. The menu is set out more like Feng Shu, with meals by the name of "Happiness" and "Turning Point". As I took a long time to choose, the Chef came out to advise me. This can seem ok or obtrusive. There is a window where you can see the chefs at work, of which the head chef continually looks to ensure everyone is enjoying his food. I felt pushed and rushed by this, and did not like this at all. The bill was 65 euros for 2 courses and one drink. I was still hungry by the time I arrived at the hotel, and it felt like a waste of money. I was disappointed. I'm vegetarian - and was looking forward to a resturant dedicated to this, but the food was not fantastic, in fact, it was a bit strange. There was froth on the plate, part of the meal, and this was a bit disconcerting. The portion sizes are too small to feel full on this "meal", it is more like art. Not food. The next night I dined at the hotel resturant, of which I had a salad, which was quite nice,but not spectacular, but at least the portion sizes were normal. Also prices not as high. Skip the breakfast at the hotel, the croissants were stale. I had breakfast the next morning at one of the lovely patisseries. They are a highlight of Milan. As was one of the main reason for my visit:- The Last Supper Painting. This was as beautiful as I expected. As was the sighting of the outside of the Duomo.
Flights are quite cheap from Gatwick by Easyjet, flying in to Linate is closest to the city.
For shopping, I found two extremes from top fashion houses such as Valentino, to the cheaper labels such as Zara. Unless you can afford Valentino and similiar prices, you can find the other cheaper labels in London. The street itself is quite and cobbled, and it is wonderful to see the beautiful dresses in the windows. Also they have "Fay" which is by the same house as Tods - but has some lovely coats in beautiful colours.
I think the Christmas lights took away some of the greyness, so go at this time, or in the height of the summer.
Some of the people can be very nice and friendly.
There is a very good massage shiastu, and I also experienced the hairdressers there!