Well, our weekend in Milan was beset by various dramas, despite which, a great time was had. As we were flying out with Ryanair from Liverpool at 6.15pm on the 21st, our last reporting time was at 5.35pm - at 5.38pm I finished my 500M dash from the car park to be told that the flight was closed and that they were pushing the plane out onto the runway (despite the boarding close-off being 5.40pm). After a great deal of arguing we had managed to get absolutely nowhere with the check-in hostess enjoying immensely telling us that there was no way they would let people on after the cut off as they get fined £1000 per minute late departure (important later on).
After a bit more arguing we managed to settle on the compromise that they could shift our flight to the Saturday for the completely unreasonable charge of £40 per person. Given that their only flight to Milan arrives at 10pm this still wasn't going to fly, so a bit more arguing and we ended up being booked to Venice, the catch being that we would then need to find our own way over to Milan.
Stayed the night in Liverpool then early the next morning boarded our flight to Venice. At 20mins late departure, we calculated this to have cost Ryanair £20,000, so its lucky they managed to extract another £80 from us!
The flight to Venice arrived at a little regional airport in the middle of nowhere - around 45mins from downtown. Ryanair runs buses into town, which is a good service, except you have to buy a ticket before getting on board. With only one ticket counter this process took over 2 hours to complete and get into town which was a bit frustrating considering the earlier delays.
Venice was really cool. Enjoyed wandering around the main part of the city, doing a bit of shopping, enjoying the absolutely great Italian food (and really, so cheap compared to UK - where else can you get an excellent espresso for 1 euro?). Didn't get time to go punting on the canal, but went for a bit of a walk around and did quite a bit of sightseeing.
Despite some dodgy moments when purchasing the train tickets from the ticket machine (50-100 person cues deter the use of the customer services office), due to the pidgeon English on the screen - we managed to get some relatively cheap seats through to Milan. It was pretty amusing, you could get even cheaper ones than we went for, but you are not guaranteed a seat at all - so luckily we did not go for these or we would have had to swap seats or sit in the corridor.
We ended up getting into Milan around 9pm Saturday night (continued on the next entry).