So after the horrendous downpour that was last week, what better way to spend rain-free Monday than by conducting a whistlestop tour of the city we couldn't see at the weekend?

Ok so the weather wasn't the blazing sunshine you would expect of Italy but at least it wasn't raining and having taken the afternoon off work, I saw sunlight in every puddle!

We'd already seen the city centre by night so now it was time to have a little look at it in all its glory. By the time I arrived home from work at 1.30pm, we were both so ridiculously starving that we jumped straight on our bikes and cycled to town.

The beautiful Excelsior hotel/department store/what actually is it?!

It was interesting seeing the city at a different time - the cycle path I usually take to bypass the lower half of Via Solferino and get right into the centre of Brera was taken up by a market that I didn't know existed! It felt like such a luxury to be out and about in the middle of a working day.

For lunch we headed straight to a well-known little place called Luini. I didn't take many photos as I was just so hungry, I couldn't stop myself from diving in! We quickly found a bench under the watchful glare of Manzoni (author of a little-known book called I Promessi Sposi - yes, that book, Italian students) and got stuck in.

Last time I was sat upon those benches, I was approached by a palm reader who was so amazingly insightful, I paid him €8 for a full report. He looked at my friend and said psychologist (she studies psychology and volunteers with brain damaged people) then looked at me and said feminist. We were all squealing in shock. Then he told me that the biggest problem I would face in my life would be which country to live in as my boyfriend has a passport from another country. Yes. He told me I would have low iron levels (yes) and that whilst he didn't see cancer, he saw great suffering from arthritis (nobody in my family has had cancer - lucky I know - but my grandma suffered from arthritis for the last 30 years of her life). He told me I would have two children, a girl and a boy (generic) and that I needed to stay close to my cat. Uh, I don't have a cat. But I was convinced for the most part! Just got to wait on them kiddies to see how good he was.

Anyway, after lovely pizza pockets of rich tomato and salty mozarella, we headed to Cioccolati Italiani, which I have probably spoken about lots before but I'll do it again. This time, it was melted milk chocolate in the cone followed by white chocolate on top and glazed chestnuts on top. Holy crap. We definitely contemplated seconds.

Just because it had stopped raining and we were eating ice cream, doesn't mean it was warm. The pigeons on this hot air vent can attest to that!

The next cultural experience for Vicky was a visit to Kiko Milano, my favourite make up shop ever. I normally do not buy make up, ever. I don't wear it much because I'm a bit of a femmy and I've realised that I don't actually need it to leave the house (personal choice). I'm also a bit of a veggie so I generally avoid most brands and head to the Body Shop cos it's safe. Kiko's colours, products and deals make me throw all of these morals out of the window with a flourish of my credit card. 

There was also this cheeky dude having a little rave on the pavements. There was quite a crowd gathered and I must say, his dance routines were pretty good. I chucked a few euros in the basket as I'd taken this photo but when I looked, it was absolutely full and not just of small change either! Oh you generous bunch, you.

We headed to Ciuri Ciuri for a Sicilian cannolo as well (yep, double dessert) but I didn't take a photo because I shoved it in my mouth too quickly.. which was lucky because then we headed inside the Duomo. 

Which was dustier than usual due to renovation works going on at the moment. As Vicky said, it doesn't matter where you are in the world, you will always find some builders working and other builders sitting and watching them.

The Duomo is usually a beautiful and peaceful place to explore during hot, crazy days. Inside is dark and impressively imposing which contrasts with the beautiful pale marble of the outside. You can go down into the crypt for free now which is always a plus but you don't need to go downstairs to see dead people; in fact you see more lining the walls of the main cathedral in glass coffins.

That night, we went for more pizza and ice cream! No photos of the delightful pizza at Piccola Ischia though. We shared a marinara and another that had tomato, mozzarella, basil and ricotta on the top. Yum yum. I'm obsessed with ricotta-y pizzas at the moment.

We were hanging out with two other Erasmus girls when we suddenly realised that Cioccolati Italiani was still open. Cue manic dash to pay and legging it back down to the centre again. This time I had only the chestnut flavour as it is just too good to be true and a seasonal speciality!

Tuck in!