Milan – Champions League Final Weekend

When originally booking my trip, one of the low miles options for flights was to come back home from Milan. It just so happens that the Champions League Final was scheduled to be played just around the time I was going to be here. Being a Barcelona fan and considering they were playing some of the best football in the world at the time, I thought it was very possible they would be in the championship match.

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Of course, this is one of the biggest events in the world, on par, and some would argue bigger, than the Super Bowl. Tickets are not easy to come by but I entered the official lottery process hoping I would maybe get a ticket as a single buyer. Alas, I did not. And, Barca did not make the championship game but the final was between two Madrid teams – Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid – which are also some of the finest clubs in the world. As someone who watched a lot of La Liga, I was still excited to see the final knowing that for the third time in as many years, the champion would be a Spanish club.

Hotel rooms were not easy to come by even a few months out so I ended up in a bed and breakfast in the suburbs. I’ve never really understood the attraction of a bed and breakfast. When I’m done walking around all day in a foreign city, I really like having my own space, not having a bedroom in someone’s house. But, it was fine and the metro connections for both the train station and the main square were easy.

In the main square by the Duomo, there was a festival all week and it was packed on Friday and Saturday when I was down there. Fans were waiting for over an hour to get a picture with the championship trophy, for instance.

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Milan is sometimes maligned as more like New York City than Italy but I have never found it to ring true. I like Milan. If you visit you must visit the magnificent cathedral, eat a meal at an elegant trattoria in the Gallerie Vittorio Emanuele II, see the Last Supper by Da Vinci (you’ll only want to do this once), visit the fashion shops in the Golden Quarter, and have a pizza at Pizza OK.

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Great pizza, terrible branding.

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