It was 0700 hrs in Milan when we got up to the melancholic sound of the church bells ringing and thanks to the 3.5 hrs time difference between Italy and India (which meant it would be 1030 in India) we had rested good. We were famished with yesterdays travel and decided to check out the hotels breakfast without further delay. The breakfast spread was brilliant for a small hotel. Not that it had much variety but sufficied most needs and was arranged beautifully (pic). Being vegetarians we opted for toasting various breads and sandwhiched layers of cheese, mayonise, tomato between them. Also there were various fruits, cakes, croissants and cereals but I was waiting for the famed Italian coffee. Ramee approached us and asked which coffee we would prefer, not wanting to experiment on first day and also because of lack of knowledge, we opted for 2 cappuccinos. Ramee quickly went to the awesome coffee maker machine that dotted the lobby, displayed as though it maybe some trophy, and got us our first authentic Italian coffee. After having the first sip I was convinced, that the coffee making machine deserved no lesser designate than a trophy. It had whipped up coffee which was rich, strong and had an awesome flavor.
Satiated we decided to quickly get ready and head out to get our first real glimpses of Europe.
There are two major attractions in Milan; one is the Duomo their and other is Da Vincis painting - The Last Supper. Being a Dan Brown fan it was a must visit for me but as I came to know, you need to book it weeks in advance which I hadn't so we decided to head to the duomo. It was a 20 min walk but as we were about to step out it started to pour again. We somehow managed to reach a neighborhood store with a broken borrowed umberella and did our first shopping in Europe - anumbrella(pic)
The duomo (pic) is a majestic building with intricate work done all over it. In front of the duomo lies a huge square where people can gather and spent time. On all sides, the duomo is surrounded by artistic buildings having small cafe's and global fashion brands. It reminded me of Delhi's Connaught place or Mumbai's fort area.(pic)
After having a quick lunch at one of the many small cafes dotting the duomo we had to move on as we had a train to catch to Venice. As we were headed to the station I made a mental note of returning to Milan and spending more time here. Milan station is a huge building again beautifully decorated.(pic) We got into our train and were off to Venice exactly at the mentioned time. But my bigger worry was reaching Venice on time @1840 hrs as my hotel would charge 20 euro extra if I reached after 1900 hrs.
The train journey between Milan and Venice is very picturesque with farms and vineyards housing rustic looking barns and farm houses.(pic)
After a 2.5 hrs journey as we were about to approach Venice the train pulled up for 5 min, delaying the arrival. Not wanting to pay the extra 20 euro I mentioned earlier, I turned on my mobile phone and for the first put it on international roaming to call up the hotel. It was 1850 hrs and the ladies voice on the other side of the phone was very stern 'you reach after 1700 hrs and you pay 20 euro extra'. I pleaded with her and said I would be there in max 15 min as I knew the hotel was close from the station. As the train halted at the station Swati with the suitcase and me with the backpack were off the blocks in such a manner any athelete would be proud of. Sprinting to the exit we came out of the station to be greeted by the most magnigicient site I have ever seen outside a train station. In front of us was flowing the grand canal with its emerald waters and many boats. Behind the canal rose a huge dome and on the left was a beautiful arched bridge. (Pic) I had two days in Venice and decided to soak in the site later, now I had to find that hotel in the many bylanes of Venice.