The vacation started off a bit awkward. We arrived in Milan late in the evening and taking a bus to the city proved to be a bit unorganized. Also, it was raining a lot and it took a while to find the entrance to our hostel in the middle of the night. Clear was also that there was a mistake made in our reservation, but the kind receptionist settled it (albeit a few days later).
What we didn’t realize (which was kinda stupid), was that the next morning it was may 1st, i.e. Labor’s Day in Italia. Labor's Day is generally not celebrated in the Netherlands, that might explain our ignorance. That morning we found Milan deserted! Everybody was off to the countryside or something like that. We wandered through empty streets with high, dark gray heavy-looking buildings, as if a disaster had happened. Well, we shrugged and walked as we had planned. Just strolling around the churches and the famous square in the center of the city. By the way, there is also water in Milan! Surprisingly, we found a river running through the city, the Olona. Never knew it.
On our way, we found a lovely spot of green between all the big buildings. At the other side of an old, very old church it was, the basilica of San Lorenzo.
Deserted Milan on Labor's Day
An excellent place to sit down and relax in the sun, as we and many people did almost every day. Later on we arrived at the central square of the city, surely the most famous place of Milan. The huge shopping mall Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II(reputed to be the world's oldest shopping mall) and even huger Duomo greeted us warmly. Here there were people at last. We were told that you could climb to the roof of the Duomo, but since it was Labor’s Day, we had to wait another day. We could still enter it, and it took my breath away. What a big church!
Later that day, Labor’s Day started in full gear. Suddenly there were demonstrations and cheering crowds everywhere, accompanied by lots of beer and music made to be loud. We couldn’t reach our hotel anymore, so sort of followed the crowds. At night the real party started! The whole of Milan emptied to drink beer in front of the Milan Citadel. Everybody was happy and friendly! By then we were exhausted by our trip (and we must have walked for miles and miles that day) so we settled for a few beers at took long night's rest).