I can’t believe it, it’s September already! I have to say I’ve been back less than a week and the Manchester rain sure does have a way of reminding you that Summer is over 😦 Yet again, I have had the most amazing time with some amazing people and I cant wait to write all about it!
The day after my birthday (August 26th just so you know for next year ;)) my partners in crime- mum, dad and I kicked off our Italian (and a bit of Swiss) adventure by firstly flying out to Milan. I had only ever been once before and I have to say- I didn’t know weather could make such a difference! When I went back in December it was cold and I was so shocked at how few people there were. It’s just such a good job I was with amazing company! However this time it was more of what I expected and it’s definitely a summer place! From our hotel we decided to walk into the centre which really wasn’t far. My parents and I love walking- especially in good weather.
If you’ve never been to Milan just be prepared- for when you get into the main square you’ll be confronted by the magnificent Duomo Di Milano. The building is truly breathtaking. Construction began in 1386 and the cathedral was completed in 1805 meaning it took 419 years to build! We went to the famous Terreza Aperol where Instagrammers go for the notorious Aperol picture (I didn’t have any unfortunately- I can’t stand the taste :/) We then went shopping in the beautiful Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II home to luxury brands and beautiful restaurants.
Although I love visiting Milan- there isn’t a whole lot to do so I would recommend pairing the city with another in order to make your trip more worthwhile.
Tirano to St Moritz
My parents have always spoken about this one train journey through the Alps that was unforgettable and I couldn’t wait to experience it! From Milan we drove to a small village called Tirano and checked into a local hotel. By the time we had settled it was pretty dark and late so we went to a local restaurant and had an early nigh in preparation for the next day. In the morning when we set off walking, the sun was shining and the air was so crisp and fresh- not like what I’m used to living in Manchester and Dubai!
The train was called the Bernina Express and we had large panoramic windows in our cabin. The line was built in 1910 and passes the highest summit of the Eastern Alps (4,093 m). The train itself was actually so long that when it turned a corner, you could see the back of the train while we were at the front! The views were just stunning. No words or pictures can describe it. The thing that shocked me the most is that the train went so high that you could actually see snow on the mountains! The train made a quick descent to the town of St Moritz, Switzerland famously known for skiing. After a satisfying lunch at the Carlton Hotel we made a move back on the train, crossed the border back into Italy as we wanted to travel to our next destination in daylight. It was definitely the shortest time I’ve ever stayed in a country but it surely was beautiful! I’d definitely make a plan to go skiing there one Winter. As if we hadn’t travelled enough for one day, once we got back to Tirano we made our way over to Como.
Lake Como is everything you see in pictures. It is a beautiful place in the Summer (again I would not recommend going in the winter- it was miserable!) The lake itself is surrounded by small towns and because it is a dog tooth shape, its sometimes easier and shorter to take your car on the ferry across the lake rather than drive around the coast. We went to a town called Bellagio famously known for having George Clooney’s Italian villa and no- sadly I didn’t bump into him! We took one of the cute choo choo road trains around the town which was very quaint and quite residential. After lunch by the water we made our way back to the hotel ready for the wedding ahead.
The whole reason of coming to Italy was for my parents to attend the wedding of Adam and Charlotte Kamani. I actually didn’t know I was going too till the day before and had to make do with whatever clothes I had in my suitcase! The wedding was just perfect from beginning to end and was carried out so tastefully and elegantly. The first two days were hosted at the beautiful Villa Erba in Como and the last event was hosted in another stunning villa close to the centre. I had such a lovely time catching up with old friends from back home and meeting some amazing new people. I was later informed by people back home that the Daily Mail had taken my photo from Instagram and put it on their article http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-4850270/Fashion-heir-marries-1-million-Italian-wedding.html You can find photos on Instagram #KamaniEverAfter. It was such an amazing wedding and I truly wish the groom and stunning bride a lifetime of health and happiness.
So straight after the wedding, the Italian tour continued as we headed to Verona. Looking back I don’t know how we had the energy- no wonder I’ve been exhausted ever since I’ve been back! If you’re a fan of literature you’ll know that Romeo And Juliet by William Shakespeare was set here in Verona. We visited the famous Juliet balcony and saw stickers of love and promise from visitors stuck around the turned that led to it. I was shocked when I saw what resembled a mini Collusseum where I found that out famous opera singers perform here from all over the world. It was a lovely city full of historical and well maintained buildings.
Venice. I have to say this was my favourite city of all. Well in the morning as we were going down for breakfast I fell down the stairs I was in so much pain it was unreal (this happens every holiday I swear) I still wanted to explore though! After a bit of rest set off for our adventurous walk to St Mark’s Square. There are so many alleys and dead ends where the path will would just stop and lead straight to water! It was quite fun reading directions from the wall on random buildings in the small streets but after an intense hour we were definitely tired. St Mark’s square is stunning and is home to another magnificent Cathedral. St Mark’s Basilica is even older than the Duomo in Milan and was firstly constructed in 828! I remember looking at it thinking how bizarre it was to be stood to a building so old.
I had been warned about the smell of the canals in the summer but honestly, it wasn’t that bad it just smelt like a normal harbour in the summer so don’t be put off as I was initially. As I said the place is like a maze so make sure you’ve got Google Maps fully installed and sufficient battery!
Just a note to finish with Venice- the shopping there is great 😉
Next stop- Florence. Florence in a lot of ways was like Verona- a small city with historical buildings. Once we checked into the hotel we climbed the hill to the highest point and got an amazing perspective of the city. There were hundreds of spectators gathered up there just in time for the sun set. Once the sun had gone down we made our way to yet another famous cathedral. I know I’ve mentioned others from different cities however for me, this one was by far my favourite. I just loved the whole architecture of it and its grand gothic design. in the evening mum and I went for a lovely dinner just outside the cathedral. It was an amazing evening. A bit of advice though- although nothing was taken from me, just be extremely vigilant with your possessions as there are a lot of pick pocketers surrounding touristy areas.
So we all know Kanye’s Famous lyrics “Flying out to Pisa, just to get some pizza”…well that’s exactly what we did! I’ve not given food a mention yet which is surprising (as I ate my body weight in carbs) but the authentic Italian dishes are AMAZING! Everything is so fresh. Anyway so when we got there it was absolutely pouring with rain- so grim! My dad had been getting an ice cream (or two) a day and it was even too cold for him to do so. I was fascinated by the leaning tower and the whole history behind it. However my dad as a property developer did point out that the the angle of the top didn’t quite match the base. Hmm? We still managed to get our pictures despite the rain, you can just see the umbrella thrown onto the grass so we wouldn’t get it in! My actual favourite comb had to get in the picture though, I’m actually joined to it! You can find the comb and other amazing hair products at https://leylamilanihair.com/
The Italian Riviera
After a crazy tour of the country, we decided to spend our last few days at a resort in a small on the Italian riviera. It was full of older Italians enjoying the final days of summer. There was barely any British people but I liked that. There were many boutique hotels and local restaurants- absolutely NO fast food places at all. No wonder they were all slim!
One morning I woke up at 6am for a run and it was so interesting to see the market stalls being set up for the day. I had left my earphones at home by mistake which I was later glad about as I got to witness the communication and banter between the stalls. They’re so passionate and shout about absolutely everything- I loved that. One couple tried to include me in a conversation and when they saw that I couldn’t speak a word of Italian, they gave me an apple! It was so nice to relax by the sea and I definitely made the most of it knowing that I would be welcomed back by the miserable English weather.
There are many personal parts and memories of this holiday that made it so special. If you know me well, you’ll know how close I am to my parents- it’s like going away with two best friends. I am truly blessed to have such amazing people in my life that have my back no matter what.
Overall, feel free to comment, drop me an email or DM me on Instagram (rukayax) if you have any questions about the places I visited 🙂 I hope you enjoyed my Italian adventure!
With love always,