Husband’s work colleagues did question why he let me choose a hotel near Piazza Lima, on Corso Buenos Aries, one of the longest shopping streets in Europe. Thankfully for the bank account, I can’t squeeze my arse into anything these shops sell to tiny Italian women and the kids’ clothes shops seemed a little old fashioned on the most part for me to want to part with any cash in them.
Area: Let’s be fair, I chose our hotel in this area because it had a pool. Anything closer to the Duomo and you pay stupid amounts of money for a weekend to get a pool. Generally pretty good, the long walk to to the Duomo is down the shopping street, which seemed very safe and easily navigable by pram. The metro, although not wheel chair accessible, is a cut-and-cover job – so shallow, therefore only one or two stories of steps. Being a lot less busy than London, it seemed easy to go slow and carry Weasel down without too much hassle. You could always try to work out the trams, but that seemed slightly more daunting with a pushchair given how small they looked from the outside.
Hotel: We stayed at the Hotel Galles, a Best Western that we found on Expedia, chosen almost entirely for the pool. This is one of the best decisions ever given the relentless 40 degree heat and the lack of much to do in Milan for kids. At least with a pool, Weasel had a chance to cool down and play. The hotel provided toys in the pool, a teddy bear at check-in and the maids clearly enjoyed arranging her travelling companions. The cot was comfy, and, even though the room was small, there was plenty of space for it. The noise levels weren’t perfect from the bar we over-looked, but she seemed totally undisturbed by it. The breakfast was great for her, with unlimited supply of random food for her to try for breakfast, much to her delight. Although we were shocked by her dislike of Nutella, the mortadella was a hit.The restaurant was alright (ok, it is not normal to eat at your hotel, I know, but I was tired from traveling), if a little expensive.
Da Giannino L’Angolo d’Abruzzo – a nearby restaurant recommended by a colleague, this place had the best-placed, lit playground on the way back to have a swing and a slide before bed and to burn off some of the ingested carbs. We even managed to get Weasel to eat some (deep-fried) aubergine, whilst we tried to give eachother ‘omg!’ looks without her noticing. Good food, although maybe a little unexciting, this place was welcoming and child-friendly. There were no change facilities from what I could see, like everywhere else we went. And although it looks like most people reserve for dinner, most people eat dinner at like 9pm, so you’ll be fine just showing up for 7/730 as long as you’re happy not to spend the whole night there.
Civico Museo di Storia Naturale (Natural History Museum) – Luckily free in the summer or after 430pm, in the nicest possible way, I don’t think you’d want to pay to go in. Maybe some of it was closed off for summer, or maybe we’ve just been spoilt with the ones in DC, NYC and London, but this place left a little to be desired. The only person who may have entertained by it managed to sleep through the entire visit; this despite no pram access, so being roughly carried up the front steps. The loos were grim, unaccessible (in the basement near the entrance, with flickering lights, smelling of wee and with no hand soap. Exhibits were oddly displayed, seemingly lacking any organisation what-so-ever. Again, your 2 year old isn’t going to care if a stuffed polar bear is next to the Serengeti nor consider the lack of much explanation a problem. Ours slept, so didn’t get to overhear her parents going on about ‘oh, it’s a replica of a dinosaur, riiiight….’. Worth it if it’s free, but don’t expect to be wowed. Strangely, there are glowing reviews on Trip Advisor, so it could be it’s only crap in summer, who knows. Much more exciting is the park around the back (also slept through) with shaded play areas, carousels and snack stands. Oh, and random ladies doing aerobics on their own.