First Stop, Milano! – European Trip Report 2017

Author Note: It’s time to get back to blogging about travel! While the global Covid panel still continues (see what it’s like to travel during the early stages of the pandemic), I am going back and creating videos and articles about past trips.

In the summer of 2017, the VacationFam had an opportunity to travel to Europe. Originally we were going to spend 28 days straight visiting the U.K., including Ireland and Scotland. My brother, Gregory, and his family (Cynthia, Santiago, and Sal) decided they’d like to join us for the first 15 days and instead take a trip through Spain. This 2017 European trip took us through nine different European cities (Milano, Barcelona, PortAventura World, Valencia, Madrid, London, York, Edinburgh and Glasgow). This first report is about our entry (and exit) city of Milano.

We had originally booked tickets in November of 2016 roundtrip into Milano via British Airways because we got an incredible deal (~$690 roundtrip). The idea was to spend a few days in Milano and then head to London. Our plans changed to fly to Barcelona instead, but we still kept our few days in Milano.

We arrived a few days before my brother did and so Fiorella and Crystal and I took some time to visit some of our favorite places in Milano. We had been there before (in 2014) and were eager to see some of our old highlights. We particularly loved spending time in the large fortress called the Sforza Castle (or Castello Sforzesco). It is a large military installment build in the 15th century by the Duke of Milan. It is really a wonder to see the architecture and power of its fortified walls.

I told the ladies that when I leave this world they can come visit with me in the middle of the courtyard (where Fio and I are sitting). I’m kidding of course, but this is my attempt at forcing them to travel even after I’m gone.

After the castle we headed off to meet Greg, Cynthia, and the boys at the Duomo di Milano. I used to think it was the most beautiful church in all of Europe, but then I got to see the Sagrada Famiglia in Barcelona this trip and it took a step down to second place. Either way we had a blast climbing to the top of the church and then spending some time inside. The kids had much more fun with the climb and less fun inside, but that would be a theme of this trip (too many church visits for the kids, I think)

To make up for the “boring” time for the kiddos we brought them to a little park outside of the Sforza Castle that had some kiddie rides and electric cars. Then we headed to the Galleria Vitorrio Emanuelle II in Milano where we participated in the age-old Milanese tradition of crushing the bull mural’s balls with our shoe. It’s weird, I know, but here’s the story behind it:

While no one knows how the tradition got started, many people believe that touching the little torino mosaic brings good luck. Legend has it that if you spin around three times with your heel on – ahem! – a particular part of the bull between its two hind legs, it will bring you good fortune. Today the little dancing bull mosaic attracts hundreds of curious and superstitious visitors daily.

Finally we loaded the kids up with some gelato, let them (and Uncle Greg) jump in the fountain at the park, ate some pizza, and got ready to fly out the next day for our second stop, Barcelona.

To keep reading about our 2017 European trip continue on to any of the other articles about Barcelona & PortAventura World, Valencia, Madrid, London, or York & Edinburgh. As always… keep travelling far!

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