On our second day, we visited the picturesque neighborhood of Brera, considered by some to be the Milanese equivalent of the Montmarte. In short, it’s the artsy side of Milan.
A lot of websites say it’s walking distance from the Duomo but judging from our map, it looked quite far (or at least more than thirty minutes) so we decided to take the metro and save our energy for actuall sight-seeing and museum hopping.
There are a lot of old buildings and even a castle (the Sforzesco Castle which I will blog about separately) in the Brera district, which got its name from the Lombardian word brayda, or land without trees (either naturally or cleared of it) but it took us quite awhile to find the actual Brera street which is supposedly the heart of this district. Fortunately, a kind old lady helped us and after a few minutes, we found ourselves on a pretty stretch of narrow cobblestone roads and pastel colored houses. It reminded me of the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet, for some reason.
So picturesque, isn’t it? Too bad I don’t have a photo here (my face was starting to swell a bit by this time and I avoided close up and solo photos).
There are many shops and restaurants in and around Brera Street. We found a couple of nice shoe stores selling the cutest ballet flats so we decided to do some retail therapy.
And that purple seat? I want!
We were quite famished roaming around; fortunately, the entire district has rows and rows of decent looking restaurants . The entire stretch seems popular with locals as well since we found groups of them, some obviously out on their lunch break, crowding around the nicest restos in the area.
Since we were in Italy, we decided to eat authentic Italian pasta and pizza. Cliche, I know, but that’s what makes it fun, right? Surprisingly, there wasn’t a big tourist crowd in Brera, and we quickly found an almost empty place off the main Street – the Ristorante Il Kaimano Brera.
The staff at the restaurant were also quite funny and friendly, and they spoke English well enough for us to order the exact food we wanted! The place was really small, and they didn’t have an al fresco table good for five; to our surprise, one of the waiters brought out a chair with the two back legs sawed in half – so that it could fit comfortably on the steps! Quite ingenious!
Okay, I wonder why I look so happy in this shot? Perhaps this was after we realized that the can of tomato sauce was being given to us for free (after we gave a generous tip at the prodding of the waiter – I honestly would have been offended if he weren’t so funny).
Anyway, I was already fighting a really bad case of allergies so I had to make do with just salivating over the pasta with lobster, mussels and clam. But I did enjoy the pizza, ossobuco, and fried zucchini flowers (which we developed a liking for, since having some for dinner the night before).
We would have ordered water since it was a hot day but it was so expensive! So yes, we ended up having wine again…
…and then we drank our bottled water as soon as we stepped out of the restaurant – travel tip #1: always have bottled water with you; water is very expensive in restaurants/cafes/fast food chains in Europe).