Monday, 31 August 2015

Travelling around Milan

Milan isn't a big city - or at least the bit most people are interested in isn't terribly large. The Roman walls enclosed an area of about 215 acres (87 hectares), and most of the sights you are likely to visit would have been inside the Roman walls or immediately outside them. This means that most of the time you will be most concerned with getting to and from the middle of town, because once you're there, just about eveything is walkable.

There is a wide range of transport available: trams, trains, metro, buses, trolleybuses, bike and car hire. We used the trams, mainly because two lines ran right past the front of our apartment: one to the middle of town, and the other to the Castello Sforzesco (Sforza Castle), the main metropolitan museum. The other reason we used the trams is that although they are slower than metro travel, you can actually see something of the area you are travelling through. And we like trams. (We also like trolleybuses, but they never seemed to be travelling somewhere we wanted to go, being run mainly on the city ring road).

You may have noticed that some of the trams look old. These aren't museum pieces trotted out for a special day, but Type 1928 trams (named for the year they were introduced) in regular service on half a dozen lines. Line 2 (the tramline from our apartment to the Sforza Castle) is run entirely with these old trams. Not fast or especially comfortable, but full of character.

There are also modern trams
(in a not so modern setting)
Using the public transport is simple - buy a ticket at a tobacconnist or a ticket machine, which gives you 90 minutes on the bus/tram network, or 1 ride on a train. All at 1€50 per ticket, or 13€80 for 10 rides (they call it a carnet, but it's just one ticket you repeatedly stamp). There is also a 1 day pass for 4€50, ideal for those days when you're buzzing backwards and forwards doing organising stuff. To ride a tram or bus, stamp your ticket in the machine when you board the first vehicle, and as long as you get on the last vehicle of your trip before the expiration of 90 minutes, you don't need to stamp it again. For the metro, you use the ticket in a turnstile to access the platform.

We were particularly taken by how comprehensive the transport system is - and how inexpensive. The longest we had to wait for a metro was 4 minutes, and a tram 6 minutes. Truly excellent.


Weather News:

Yup - it's that confused. This screenshot was taken yesterday lunchtime.

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