Italy trip – Milan, Cinque Terre and Lake Como
My husband and I booked a spur of the moment trip to Italy for the week of April 28th-May 5th, 2014 about a month before our departure. I found $630 round trip DIRECT flights out of JFK to Milan. So with flights this cheap, you would think it was a no-brainer, right? Well, not so much. It took some convincing. You see, my husband is somewhat economical (a polite way to say cheap.) Sometimes it seems like that’s all he thinks about. We are both fortunate to have good jobs and we work hard to save. We don’t live lavishly or own fancy things. We don’t even buy each other gifts for special occasions. We would rather save that money for a trip!
I have wanted to hike the Cinque Terre for several years now. The Cinque Terre is made up of five seaside towns that you can get to via train or hiking the trails. With the thought of possibly having children looming overhead, I wanted to do it now instead of later. As we lay in bed one night, Rick Steves travel show came on PBS and wouldn’t you know he was in the Cinque Terre. I thought to myself “to hell with this! I’m going to Italy with or without my husband.” I simply said, “I’m going to Italy and you are more than welcome to join me. I am not asking your permission, I am telling you these are my plans.” I know, it sounds harsh, but sometimes I feel like I have to talk my husband into doing things. I even bartered that he can plan the entire second part of the trip. My sole focus was the Cinque Terre. He warmed up to that thought and soon we booked our flights. Thank you Rick Steves.
With less than a month to spare, we decided to start planning. Initially, we just wanted to backpack it but finding hotels – or should I say rooms – in the Cinque Terre can be difficult so you almost have to book in advance.
This was our itinerary:
Day 1: Milan
We only had one night in Milan and didn’t want to spend a fortune on a hotel. We decided to stay at Hotel Rossovino for around $82 US dollars a night.
Fellow travelers should be aware of the following things though before booking.
1) Far from Milano centrale. The directions the hotel provides for getting on a bus had me so confused. We ended up hoping in a cab for 10€.
2) it’s quite a walk to duomo. It could take about a half hour to 45 minutes.
3) One of the innkeepers does not speak much English (but hey, you are in Italy! Get used to it. I fault myself for not knowing enough Italian)
4) There aren’t that many restaurants around.
5) Bring your own shampoo, conditioner and soap. They provide a shampoo/body wash combo.
6) Hair dryer is provided but takes forever. I gave up halfway through.
7) if you need a wash cloth bring your own as they don’t provide one.
8) Thin walls.
All of the above did not bother us but I could see how it might bother others. If you want a nice, clean place to stay then you won’t go wrong here.
We visited the standard sights:
Duomo di Milano
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
If you are looking at the Duomo, the Galleria is on the left. It has many upscale stores. When you walk inside, go to the middle. Of course you will be looking up at the beautiful architecture but don’t forget to look down for this.
Rumor has it, if you spin on the beasts privates, you will have good luck. So, go for a spin!
After walking around for several hours, jetlag was starting to set in, as was hunger. We went to the grocery store across the street from our hotel and picked up some delicious goodies to snack on.
We had to be up early to catch the earliest train out to Monterosso, the first village of the Cinque Terre. We booked our tickets online from Trenitalia. You can get one ways for 9€ a person. You don’t have to book in advance but you may save money on tickets. Be sure to review all the details and dates before hitting submit.