From La Bella Vita to the Home Counties… a dog’s tale!

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions
Train to Paris ©Peter Curtis

Train to Paris ©Peter Curtis

With over 350 designated dog parks scattered right across the city, Milan is truly a doggy paradise.

One of my favourite areas to play is in Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli or Parco Palestro to the locals.  It used to be the old zoo so has really interesting structures and areas to explore.  There are 3 dog areas but only 1 is fully enclosed.  All the dogs are very friendly and you get to meet lots of pooches of all different shapes and sizes.  My favourite things to do in Milan have always been to grab a coffee at the Gucci café in The Galleria, just opposite the only 7 star hotel in Europe.  Wandering down to Castello Sforzesca and Parco Sempione (the historic castle of the Sforza family, which is now a series of museums and public spaces) is always a treat.  Us furry friends are welcome in most places provided we are well behaved and maintain our manners.  Parco Sempione has 4 enclosed dog areas and lots of friendly dogs to play with.  Your owner is supposed to keep you on lead but if you are a good dog and don’t wander off or hassle the picnickers you can get away with exploring all over the park.  The metro, trams and buses all are pet friendly and you are allowed on all of them.  Technically your owner should buy you a ticket but I was never asked to show one in all my travels around the city.  If you want to explore more dog friendly places, shops and dog walking areas you can find thousands in the Bauwow app, all in the palm of your human’s hand.

Bauwow Dog Areas

Bauwow Dog Areas

I loved exploring Milan and all around Italy with my humans but I knew something was up when I saw my dad packing up everything in the apartment.  I love car and train trips so I wasn’t phased but this seemed a little different.  There were men in the apartment taking everything we owned out and when they took my favourite couch that I like to sit on, something was in the air.

We boarded the train at Milan Garibaldi station on Thursday morning quite early.  I don’t usually like getting out of my bed until late but this was an adventure.  I knew dad had packed food and toys and lots of goodies and of course our Bauwow app on our phones, so it was probably going to be a long trip.  As we entered the train I could smell lots of different food and there was even another pooch near us.  We settled into our seats and luckily we had four seats to ourselves.  I love to see what is going on so I begged dad to let me see out the window.

As we departed Milan I heard the announcer say we were headed to Paris.  Woohoo, that magical city I had heard so much about.  I was headed to the city of lights.   Now, I was excited.  As the countryside rolled past, I felt a little sadness that it might be a while before I see Italy again, but Paris and beyond beckoned.

Milan Empty House ©Peter Curtis

Milan Empty House ©Peter Curtis

The long flat fields of the “padania” of Northern Italy spread out before us as we head towards the rugged mountains west of Turin.  There is a very controversial high speed train planned for this route but it seems it will be at least 10 years before that project materialises.  So for now its pretty slow going through the Southern Alps.  Tunnel after tunnel after tunnel, but I was happy, curled up in my dad’s arms.

Bauwow Restaurants that Tobia can visit in Paris

Bauwow Restaurants that Tobia can visit in Paris

On an 8 hour train trip, we all need to “spend a penny” periodically and to be honest I need to, pretty regularly, so my dad was smart enough to bring along a few pee pads that we used in the human loo.  In fact I think he buys the human bed wet sheets, as they hold more than the ones for dogs and are often cheaper.  I can be a little precious about how or where I do my business, but dad helped me feel comfortable and I felt good that we were out of the way of the other passengers.

We arrived into Paris late as there had been some problems on one of the high speed lines but we were in no hurry. We were staying in a dog friendly hotel near Gare Du Nord that dad had found using the Bauwow app for the night anyways.

Gare du Lyon station, which is in the 12 district of Paris served as our arrival port into Paris and I was very excited to see this magical city.  I had heard Paris is very dog friendly and there are lots of things to see and I wanted to go exploring.

Pet Reception ©Peter Curtis

Pet Reception ©Peter Curtis

Using Bauwow we searched for off lead dog parks but unfortunately in Paris, dogs have to go pretty much everywhere on a lead and there are only a few official off lead parks.  We wandered past the Place de’Anvers and towards Sacre Coeur.  People were smiling and I was getting lots of attention.  It was dinner time so we found a cute, very local bistro called L’Ecrin and dad had the most french meal ever, onion soup and boeuf and frites.  It was simple, cheap, very local and they gave me a piece of steak and some water.

The next morning we were up even earlier than the day before and back on the train heading west to Calais.  We were headed to Britian.  There were lots of dogs on the train too but I ignored them, the fleeting landscapes were much more interesting.  We very soon arrived in a chilly Calais Frethun station where we met our lovely taxi driver from Folkestone Taxis, Patrick.  Folkestone Taxis offer a pet taxi service through the tunnel as no dogs are allowed on the train to London but if we are in a car it’s all good.  The price varies depends on the time of day and season but it was around £200 for the three of us.  We went straight to the pet passport office at the Tunnel entrance and I was scanned for my microchip and my passport was checked for proof of my heartworm medication.  It took less time then it did for dad.  If you are travelling back from the continent make sure you get the Vet to write the date and the exact time in your pet passport otherwise you may have problems at the pet passport office.

New Garden ©Peter Curtis

New garden, new home  ©Peter Curtis

Of course you can find a listing of vets, with reviews and even which ones speak English around Calais in the Bauwow app.  Use it to find the vet that best suits your needs on your return trip.  You can review places, businesses and services in the Bauwow app as well to help other travellers keep informed.

Once we arrived in the UK, we picked up our car in and drove towards our new life in Britain.  I hadn’t realised it until now but the big trip was permanent, I now have a new language to learn just like dad had to when he moved to Milan before I was born.  We now live right beside a lovely big park in the countryside north of London, I love it but I do miss the warmth and my doggy mates.  There will always be a place in my heart for “La Bella Vita” but I am pretty certain dad will take me back for visits often.

 

 

 

 

For more information on Bauwow, visit their webpage Bauwow. The app can be downloaded on Google Play and the Apple App Store

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