The Old Fogies ride the Number 1 tram in Milan

IMG_1328 - Copy (3)

The transport system in Milan is quite extensive, albeit difficult for a visitor to understand as there are no real maps of the entire system.  On the day following our arrival in Milan we purchased a 48-hour travel pass, cost of which is only 8.25 Euro per person, again I had to negotiate the ticket machine, but they are really easy to work.  This ticket allows full access to all Milan’s transport options including, buses, trams and the metro, it is important to note that you must validate your ticket at the start to prevent inspector fines.

IMG_1020

The number 1 tram goes from Piazza Firenze to the centre of Milan and as it’s number indicates was probably the first tram route, although this is guess work, the trams were certainly not as modern as other trams on the network. 

Each tram stop has a map showing where the tram goes and an electronic indicator telling you when the tram is due to arrive, as a side note you need to be careful crossing the roads as the tram line traverse many of the streets, remember they travel on the opposite side of the road than in Britain.

IMG_1328 - Copy (2)

Waiting for the number 1 tram at Piazza Firenze, Mr Curmudgeon and I see the tram in the distance coming towards us, as it stops I notice that the platform is extremely high, I said to Mr Curmudgeon how am I going to get onto that, he looked at me and obviously he had the same thought, oh well in for a penny in for a pound.  As the tram stopped ingeniously the doors opened and the platforms appeared out of the tram, breathing a sigh of relief we both step up into the tram itself.

IMG_1328

Having validated the tickets previously, we did not have to put them in the machine, the Number 1 tram goes up Via Sempione, which is a broad avenue from Piazza Firenze to the wonderful Parco Sempione, which is really worth a wander through, a special mention must made of the large arch at the front of the Parco.

The tram is slow and makes an amusing noise when stationary, but then appears to cut out and you wonder if the tram has broken down.  Mr Curmudgeon and I smiled at each other every time this happened, as we both thought this was very amusing.  As the tram regally travels up Via Sempione you have a wonderful view of the fine architecture, although like most Italian cities we have been to this is spoilt by the graffiti adorning the walls.  I am not talking graffiti that is wonderful to look at, i.e. a Banksy, but rather scrawls and random words, although they may mean something to the person who did them.  It is such a shame that Italian authorities have not taken the same action of many of our British local governments have, which is zero tolerance and graffiti is removed immediately which deters its production.

IMG_1328 - Copy

Having reach the top of Via Sempione and wondered at the magnificent arch, well worth more than a quick glance, we traverse a number of streets, all rich in Italian architecture, but it was very hot over 30 degrees in the sun, so we couldn’t do our normal walking.  At the centro end of the Parco is the wonderful Castello Sforzesco, you just catch glimpses of this magnificent 15th century fort.  The tram remorselessly traverses the streets, although to the untutored eye, that would be Mr Curmudgeon and I have to say Mrs Nice as well, they all look very similar. 

IMG_1015

As you get into the centro district you notice the streets get narrower and more difficult for the tram to travel, but eventually you get to La Scala, more later on this venue, Mr Curmudgeon and I get off the tram to start our walk around the Piazza Scala, the Galleria and the marvellous Duomo. 

Part of travelling is to have interesting experiences and often transport can be boring, the number 1 tram is a slow but fascinating ride through this wonderful city.

Old Fogies Travels are the adventures of two elderly Londoners (The Old Fogies) as they explore their home town and travel around the world looking out for the strange, unusual and absurd.

Our articles are published on our blog but also listed on the website of our friends at Visiting London Guide.com here.

The Old Fogies go to Milan

IMG_9440

Mr Curmudgeon and I decided to go for a weekend break to Milan, Italy.  We have been Italy several times, but never to the famous northern city, so we were quite excited.

Travelling to London City Airport, by the DLR we arrive in plenty of time as usual, what a joy this airport is, small, friendly, conveniently located for the Old Fogies, having checked in we wait for the gate number and then we boarded.

IMG_9462

Travelling by British Airways, we arrive in Linate Airport, Milan just after lunch.  Linate airport is only 6 kilometres away from the centre of Milan, but it is not the easiest in transport options.  Mr Curmudgeon does not like to spend money on taxis, “I’m not paying £50 to travel for 15 minutes in a taxi”, I can hear him saying, so we must negotiate the local transport network.  First therefore we had to get our ticket, it is always my job to work the ticket machines on our little jaunts so with some Euro’s clutched in my hands, I work the machines.  I must say that the price of transport tickets is extremely cheap.  I put my 3 Euro in the machine and out pops 2 tickets, these will last 1½ hours on all local transport, including buses, trams and metro.

IMG_1020

I have got to say Mr Curmudgeon really excelled. Our hotel was situated the other side of Milan from the airport, we travelled on the 73 from the airport to the centre of Milan, catching glimpses of the local architecture on the way.  Arriving in the centre of Milan we caught site of the wonderful Duomo, see other posts for information about this wonderful cathedral, we now had to locate the correct tram stop.  This is where Mr Curmudgeon really got into his stride, having looked on Google Earth, he directed us to the tram stop really well, although having spent a few days in Milan, we realise that as usual he had gone the long way around (sigh, oh well).

IMG_1104

Milan tram network is extensive; but not easy to work out, however, Mr Curmudgeon knew we had to catch the number 14 tram to take us to the hotel.  What wonderful inventions trams are, very little pollution and very efficient, albeit a bit slow.  We arrive at Piazza Firenze and look for the right road for our hotel.  Having located the tennis club, yellow/orange walls, we find our hotel and check in.

The Mercure Regency Hotel, Milan, the building appears to be an old convent or abbey; but I am not sure. Although now part of a chain, the hotel has its own character with a lovely courtyard and the keys are old fashioned with large tassels, so you need to hand them in when you go out, as they are rather large and heavy. Our room is situated on the 3rd floor of 5 and the room is a delight, with traditional blinds.  The design is early 1920’s with arch mirrors and matching head board, and what joy a fridge that allows you to put your own items in.  We are always a bit wary of Italian plumbing, here it is noisy but it seemed to work OK, we will know a bit better when we shower later this evening.

Having got here safe and sound, mainly thanks to Mr Curmudgeon, we quickly freshen up as we want to go out and enjoy the local neighbourhood, even if it is in the middle of the afternoon, but as the saying goes only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun (oh well here we go again).

Read some of other blogs about Milan for some insights into a fascinating city. 

Old Fogies Travels are the adventures of two elderly Londoners (The Old Fogies) as they explore their home town and travel around the world looking out for the strange, unusual and absurd.

Our articles are published on our blog but also listed on the website of our friends at Visiting London Guide.com here.