European Adventures: Milan

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Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Another day, another city. Better yet — another country! Upon waking up on the third day of our Mediterranean Cruise, we were already in Italy. When I started to realize that travelling was one of the best things to do in life, this country was definitely included on my bucket list. Delicious food, magnificent ruins, big churches, and not to mention the beautiful language. I wish I could speak Italian, but the next best thing is listening to it all day!

First stop on our Milan tour – the famous Milan Cathedral or the Duomo di Milano.

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The Duomo is the fifth largest Christian church in the world (outdone by St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, the Basilica of Our Lady of Aparecida in Brazil, Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York and Seville’s Cathedral).

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Aside from being one of the largest and oldest churches in the world, it is said that there are more statues on this cathedral than any other building. There are 3,400 statues, 135 gargoyles and 700 figures that decorate the Duomo.

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After taking pictures at the Cathedral, we did some strolling, shopping and snacking at the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. It was time for some gelato, coffee and tiramisu! We also found some souvenirs and pasalubong for our loved ones back home.

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Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is a magnificent shopping arcade, covered with a glass and iron roof. The interior of the impressive five story structure is decorated with patriotic mosaics and statues.

Our last stop for the day was Sforza Castle.

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Sforza Castle (Castello Sforzesco) was originally a Visconti fortress. Later, this iconic red-brick castle was home to the mighty Sforza dynasty, who ruled Renaissance Milan. The castle’s defences were designed by the multitalented da Vinci; Napoleon later drained the moat and removed the drawbridges. Today, it houses seven specialised museums, which gather together intriguing fragments of Milan’s cultural and civic history, including Michelangelo’s final work, the Rondanini Pietà, now housed beautifully in the frescoed hall of the castle’s Ospedale Spagnolo (Spanish Hospital).

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Oh, and I was able to steal a shot with this! Expo Milano 2015.

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It was a short day in Milan but I’m glad to have seen and learned about some of its iconic structures. Milan, I’ll come back someday! (I still have to see Da Vinci’s The Last Supper)

To read other posts on our European adventures, click on the following links:

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European Adventures: Barcelona (Day 3)

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So… this is the last post on the Barcelona (and Spain) leg of our European adventures! It was difficult to say ‘adios!’ to this beautiful city and country, because we had so much fun touring and appreciated everything about the place. Looking at the bright side, we had more cities to explore in the coming days!

We only had a few hours left on our last day, and we spent the morning packing our things. After our check out, we still had time to visit a nearby attraction – the Arc de Triomf.

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The “Arc de Triumph” was build as the entrance to the World Exposition in 1888. Around the arc, the emblem of Barcelona and the Spanish provinces had been affixed.

DSC01418IMG_5341We took a few photos and then proceeded to our last stop – the cruise terminal. Leaving Barcelona was difficult, but boarding a cruise ship was very exciting. It was my first time!DSC01427After our check-in, we boarded the cruise ship. Of course, we took a few photos to document the experience!DSC01434DSC01437Our ship’s name was Emerald Princess – very fancy! Upon entering the ship, we proceeded to the buffet to have our welcome lunch. The cruise was perfect for big eaters like my brothers and I – we had so many choices. Aside from the buffet which was available almost all day, we also had a sit-down dinner every night. There were also other restaurants available on deck, as well as pizza and ice cream! Oh and I almost forgot, room service for 24 hours. Food heaven!DSC01445DSC01444

The ship itself was beautiful, and it was so large. I just felt so grateful to be there! It was going to be an exciting week full of new experiences. Next stop, France!

To read other posts on our European adventures, click on the following:

European Adventures: Barcelona (Day 1)

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After our Montserrat day trip, we had late lunch and a quick rest before touring again. What’s great about our visit in Spain (and other Mediterranean countries) is that the sun sets late, around 9 pm, which gives us more time to walk around and explore. But don’t get me wrong, Barcelona is beautiful at night as well!

On our way back to our place, we passed by the Barcelona Cathedral, so we also had a photo taken here. Such a beautiful structure!

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Barcelona Cathedral

The place we stayed in was near Palau de la Música Catalana – considered as an architectural jewel of Catalan Art Nouveau. It is the only concert venue in this style to be listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, which today represents an essential landmark in the cultural and social life of Catalonia. Look at those details – amazing!

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Palau de la Musica Catalana
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Palau de la Musica Catalana

After getting a quick rest, it was time to see more of Barcelona – this time it was Montjuic!

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Castell de Montjuic

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We saw the Castell de Montjuic, which used to be a military fortress. The castle was used as a military prison until 1960 when it was given back to the city and used as an army base. Now, it offers stunning views of the city.

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Candid shot, one of my favorites!

When it was about to get late, we rushed down to catch the magic fountain light show, in front of another beautifully-built structure, the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya.

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The Magic Fountain, taken with a phone cam only
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In front of Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya

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It was a long, tiring but very fun day exploring Barcelona! Took a few more photos before heading back to our place as more days of walking around was waiting for us. We all look so happy in our photos, I guess our happiness was caught on camera. We just loved Barcelona!

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