Sunday, August 11, 2013

Milan: Where Metro sexual Men, Last Supper and Gelato Meet

Sunday, August 11, 2013 1 Comments

Milan is probably the best place to shop for men's wardrobe. All the local men were so fashionably dressed they made the women look drabby! I didn't like the public transportation here; the trains are always late, for the life of me I simply couldn't understand their underground Metro and above-ground tram systems. Once we were stopped by a tourist looking to get to his hotel. And another time we must have looked very touristy and lost because at one point a local came to us and gave us directions. LOL! The friendly locals made it worth the trip. But by now, having had enough of European summer I think we would plan our trip during fall/autumn.
The Cenacolo Vinciano where the Last Supper painting is at, as well as the church next door where the actual event happened

Notice the small yellow squarish building on the left of the church? That's the Last Supper office where you purchase your tickets for the tour, and some part of the church is under renovation so its off limits

The lesser known Pinacoteca di Brera

The church ceiling

So what does it say on the floor?

So what do you do when you're in Milan? You go see the Last Supper of course! We booked and bought our tickets to Piazza Santa Maria delle Graziemuseo cenacolo vinciano way ahead of time, like 1 week before we left for Europe because I know how fast Last Supper tickets sell. You will have to call their call center to know if they still have tickets because on their website it shows fully booked. They have quotas for online tickets and if luck is on your side you can still purchase tickets offline (call them!) They will ask for your name, country of origin and residence and your credit card number because you will be charged on the spot (it's only 6 Euro each) and you will get an Italian e-ticket emailed to you which you will have to bring with you to get your actual tickets. Because of the number of tourists, they break each group into 25 people with 15 minutes of viewing, and no photography is allowed. However, me being me I did manage to take a couple of pictures. Here's the link to the government's official website where you can purchase the ticket for 6.50 Euro, anything more than that is a RIP OFF. The number to call is +390292800360 and press on 2 for English (Mon-Sat, 8am-6.30pm)

The Duomo

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, where name brands are housed

The inside of the Duomo. We didn't know that photography was not FREE! It was charge able at 2 Euro, and they give you a pass for it. When someone stopped us is when we realized they had a photography fee but by then we had gotten what we wanted so we just exited

Duomo's massive door

We checked out the Duomo (Milan Cathredal) and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II which is like 5 minutes away from Duomo. Also, there were plenty of scams going on in front of Duomo. The blacks were running the I'll take a picture of you with the Duomo and threaded bracelet scams while the Romanians were running the feed the pigeon scams. We sat there for 20 minutes just observing the scams and tourists. I was keeping an eye on them and never noticed them pick-pocketing but they were adamant about tips and intimidated tourists that didn't tip enough. Two or three of them will crowd you if you don't pay up and some tourists which were physically bigger than the scammers got away with it. These scammers are rampant, some of them throw the bracelet on your arm and expect you to pay for it. It was funny to watch because some tourist just shake their arms off. You got to be careful of your surroundings and your bags around Duomo area and bring your own bird seeds/bread crumbs to feed the pigeons and get your friend/partner to take picture of you with the pigeons, not the local scam artists

Typical hotel breakfast

The Milano Centro Station

There were plenty of Gelato shops in Italy to cool you off. And the taxis are cheap-make sure they run on meter.

Zurich: Alps and Shopping

Sunday, August 11, 2013 0 Comments

Damn the four days weekend got into me and I am beginning to feel lazy to write this down, with House on Dubai One providing a great distraction. So, where were we? Ah yes Zurich. We took the afternoon train from Geneva to Zurich and after checking into the hotel we decided to go out for drinks at old town (Alstadt) We continued the night at a friendly pub near the hotel. 

Grossmunster in view


The famous balcony Curchill made his speech at

Drinking Fountain

Old town in view with the Fraumunster in view (the green tower)

The Grossmunster door to the church, where photography isn't allowed

Miniature Grossmunster

Where you can have a local pint

Since Zurich was a "rest and relax" leg of our journey everything we did we did with great deal of time in mind. We checked out the entire old town the next day, namely the Grossmunster and the Fraumunster churches, and a building that former US president Winston Churchill gave a speech on the balcony. It drizzled a bit, which cooled us down. Shopping was cheap at the other side of the bridge (old town) If you cross to the other side of the bridge; the new town you can shop but the clothes are all name brand, something you can get at any part of the world. The trams here covered the whole town extensively and I liked how punctual the trams were! People spoke English and were generally friendly. 


Buffet at Samses

Buffet at Samses

Dinner plates

Unfiltered Beer

Malaysian run Chinese Restaurant


Hiltl Buffet


You can weigh your plate yourself or get the cashier to do it for you

Gulab Jamun yay!

Papadam in Zurich?!

It's kind of easy to get vegetarian food here, with Hiltl in downtown Zurich which has been around since the 18th century and has massive selection of buffet food. They charge 4.50 Euro per 100 grams. And if you'd like someplace more private there's always Samses. Although they have a significantly smaller buffet option, they were cheaper, at 3.90 Euro per 100 grams of food. Yes, both places charge food per weight. Also, Samses had these small white table clothed tables and plenty of beer collection; and a local unfiltered beer and you can peacefully enjoy your dinner and street-watch/people-watch. More on Hiltl and Samses on Tripadvisor, as well as how to get there with the trams

Passing the time while the husband tries on clothes

Somehow I never got tempted by their chocolates

Typical hotel breakfast

We spent three lazy days and two drunk nights in Zurich. On our last day here, we woke up early for our 7.45am train to Tirano in Italy via the scenic mountain routes. I know a lot of people take the more posh trains that comes with lunch cabins and stuff like the Bernina Express and whatnot shit. I would suggest you take the local regional trains because you get to sit with the locals and you can ooh and ahh all you want because you're probably going to he the only tourist in the train. Our route took us to St. Moritz, Chur, Samedan, Pontresina, Alp Grum (where we got off, had lunch) and hopped into the next local train to continue our journey to Tirano. Yes, with the local trains you can practically get off anywhere and hop on the next train as long as you have your e-tickets with you. Bear in mind that the local trains will have a lot of local tourists and hikers alike especially in the early morning trains. But as the train progresses to Italy more people get off and you can practically get the whole cabin to yourself. Some of the local trains have an open cabin attached if you want a 360 degrees view of the mountains and scenery. All the windows are half-open able so you can dangle your camera and your head outside to take pictures. The local train also had build in speaker systems that announce what kind of mountains it's passing by. Or you can always ask the locals on-board

After feasting our eyes with fresh clean, crisp air we reached Tirano and realized just how retarded the European trains can be in some country

Trains in poor condition, only available in Italy. None of them has heating or cooling system