New Year in Milan, Italy

Waking up in the middle of the night to go to the airport for the next flight is easy. We’re going to fly to Milan from Budapest. Another great city of Europe, the heart of fashion. But we were not much interested in fashion, we’re going to spend New Year Eve in Milan! As our flight was early morning and it was not possible to get to the airport by bus, we found another great way to reach Budapest airport. They have a special service, that comes and takes you exactly next to your door and drives you directly to the airport. It works like a taxi service, but is a minibus, mainly taking airport workers to work. This is quite comfortable service, as it works 24 hours a day and is not much expensive as taxis. So here we are, in the plane, flying to Milan. The sunshine from the plane windows was glorious. Black sky started to get all shades of blue and red and sky started to burn in bright colors. The sky was clear, with no any cloud and city lights were shining below. The plane landed smoothly and here we are in Italy. Milan welcomed us with bright and warm weather. Shuttle buses were everywhere, waiting for passengers to take to the center of the city, to the central station, from where we could go to any destination by metro. At this time of the day the city was only waking up and almost nothing was open to have breakfast. But we were hungry and tired after sleepless night and a flight. So we left the luggage in the Luggage storage on Central Station and went to find something. Not very far from here we found a cozy cafe, which had an amazing smell of coffee and fresh baked sweets. Once we entered, the waiter welcomed us with open smile and willingness to serve. How can we miss a chance not to take a hot Cappuccino and brioche being in Italy? No way! This was the most amazing breakfast in the most awesome place. We didn’t want to leave but time was passing so fast.

As our apartment was supposed to be ready after 2-3pm, we had some time to spent outside and the first place we went was the Piazza Gae Aulenti. This was a square with a new built fashionable UniCredit Tower, some luxury stores, one of which was the Tesla store with new stunning car models. From here there was also seen the famous green building, with lots of plants on the windows. Of course at this time of the year it wasn’t that green, but during the season it would really look nice. But we were surprised seeing blossoming trees on this square at this time, as usually trees should start blossom in march. Light pink colored flowers were all on the trees. It was almost spring spirit here.

Not very far from the Piazza there was a beautiful arch standing, called Porta Garibaldi. This is a city gate, previously known as Porta Comasina, built in 1825, which had 2 portals overlooking the street. The Port was built to commemorate the visit of Francis I of Austria and was dedicated to Giuseppe Garibaldi in 1860. This was only one of the many ports in Milan.

We still had some time and the next place that we just couldn’t miss was cemetery. Yes, don’t be surprised, we went to the famous cemetery of Milan called Monumentale. This was a huge place with a lot of graves and family tombs, all decorated with great sculptures and statues. Every tomb was amazing by itself. No one was looking like another. In the separate building at the end of the pats were kept ashes in boxes, which were all decorated with flowers. The writings on the tombs were saying that the cemetery is here since 15-17th centuries. Definitely, this was a big open air museum for sculpture lovers. A stunning place recommended to visit while in Milan.

Time to go home, temporary home in Milan. We took the luggage from the Central Station and by metro went to the predefined address, where we were going to stay for next 4 days. This was a small apartment in a multi ethnic area. In the streets we met people from every nation, but it was quite safe. The building where we stayed was quite old, with deep Italian spirit that we saw in old movies. Impressive 🙂 We were tired. Unpacked the luggage and decided to rest a bit, which took more than expected. It was almost evening. We were hungry, Had nothing at home to eat, so we went out to find something to eat and then prepare for the New Year Eve, night at the main square near Duomo. We went out, but couldn’t believe on what we saw. The streets were empty, almost no one was outside. All the supermarkets, cafes, restaurants were closed. Only some luxury restaurants were open, but all tables already reserved. We started to walk on all possible streets that we saw, just to find some place to sit. The streets were dark, grey, with almost no any Christmas lights or decorations. Disappointed… Finally we found a small cafe-shop, which was open and had 3-4 tables to sit. We were happy even for this, as we had chance “not to dye” from hunger. What we could have here was different kind of pasta, in a small plate. That was ok, at least something 🙂

It was already dark outside. Nothing was open, nothing to do outside, unless take a walk on Navigli Canal of Milan. This was a part of old canals in Milan that was supposed to be one of the main transportation options here in the past. Nowadays it’s a place that tourists go to spend their evenings in some small cafes near the water. During all this day it was the only place that was a bit reminding that it’s New Year. The small bridge over the canal was lightened up with golden lights, a small Christmas tree near one of the cafes was changing the atmosphere of the dark city. At least a small spot that was alive, where people were already celebrating the New Year, singing, dancing, drinking…
After spending some time around Navigli canal, we finally went to the main spot where all the tourists go first in Milan, the square near the biggest cathedral in Milan, Duomo. It was around 8pm. the square was already full of people. The main part of the square was closed with portable gates and everyone that wanted to get in to be closer to the platform, had to pass a strong security check. All around the square were a lot of policemen, that were keeping eyes on everyone. Soon the square was already full and was hard to find a way to move, to get out from there if needed. It was cold, but people were happy. The festive concert already started. There were some local DJs that were organizing a fun time, after which a famous Italian jazz singer had an amazing performance for next few hours. People were all singing, dancing, drinking some wine and champagne right from the bottles. But what we were drinking was tea that we could buy from an already closing coffee shop. We were so excited to be here for New Year Eve, celebrating this day in a new place, in a new way. Waiting for the countdown to the midnight! And here it is 10, 9, 8… 2, 1… Hurraaayyyy … Happy New Year!!! Colorful confetti came from the platform, from the middle of the square. Where are the fireworks? Where are the lights? What’s happening? Was this all? Hmmm.. yes.. that was…

The concert continued, it was supposed to be a disco night at square. But we had to be safe as we didn’t know what to expect, so we ran to the closest open metro station and came back home. It was around 1am when we get home, safe, tired, a bit frozen, a bit happy but disappointed. When we were buying our tickets, we didn’t know that Milan would be such “cold”. After that we learnt that at least during past several years there were no any fireworks at New Year celebrations. This was quite strange as even in some small, not very famous cities fireworks were brightening this night. How come in Milan, in one of the most visited cities of the world, Eve was without them? Still can’t find answer to this, but.. it’s OK, it’s not fireworks that were important, but our mood, fun and the expectations from the coming year 2017.

Let’s see what stories new year will bring 🙂

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