So myself and Yasmin whisked ourselves off to Milan at the end of September. We’ve both been working really hard and we needed a little girly break without the distractions of boys and bosses calling at 7am on a Saturday… So in true style, here’s a break down of what we got up to whilst being in the centre of fashion and food.
We woke up at 3am on the Saturday morning, missed the connecting bus to take us to our Airport bus and ended up getting into an Uber with a driver who, not only was it his first day driving for Uber and we were his first taxi ride, it was his first ever ride as a taxi driver. When you have 10 minutes to go until your bus leaves and you’re giving the taxi driver the wrong post code despite living in that area for the past year (STUPID YASMIN!) it is a heart pumping event. However, it was only the first of our troubles.
After smoothly going through security and spending our spending money in duty free at the airport, I checked my phone to see that our gate had closed 4 minutes prior. Cue THE SWEATIEST LOADSOF RUNNING IN BOOT HEELS YOU HAVE EVER SEEN and you’re not even close. We cried our way through the gate and despite being the last people on the plane, we got good seats and I had a little kip. Yasmin described it as similar to the Kanye West video ‘All Falls Down’ but I assure you, if Gatwick ever release the CCTV of that run, it will be so SO far from Stacey Dash, dashing through the airport in what can only be described as a velour towel dress.
When we landed, finding transfers etc was pretty easy, Italians are a friendly bunch it seems and to be honest, despite being tired and little bit agitated, we were pumped to be in one of the world’s fashion capitals. So, on to the important stuff…
Cafés and Restaurants
So for the record, we spent a lot of time lazing in cafés, sipping Espressos and asking for table water instead of bottled, and people watching quite quickly became our brand new hobby. We decided that we were going to throw caution to the wind and eat as much frigging pizza and pasta as we could and literally, it’s taken me about 3 weeks to face pasta again. If you’re opting for a traditional Milano meal, go to the centre where the Duomo (Cathedral) is situated and start walking in the direction of the outskirts. The courtyard, though vast is set out in a sun shape like formation which means that all the streets are more or less diagonal off the square. Pick one of those streets and if you don’t come across a sweet little italiano restuarante, you’ll definitely come across a McDonald’s (there’s one in view of the Rectangle of Gold even!). Me and Yasmin opted for an al fresco experience as the weather was really good whilst we were there but these pop up outside elements of the restaurants aren’t really available when it’s not tourist season.
The Holiday Inn…in our eyes
Yasmin and I like to live life reminding ourselves of our student days aka being skint as hell. We booked a Holiday Inn, there’s no shame. Our room was great, cleaned by the maid every day and there was a speaker in the bathroom connected to the TV. It was a slight walk out of the centre, but an enjoyable one definitely. Book early if you want fancy, book late if you want cheap. Our deal came with breakfast, which was definitely European, but also all you can eat which is great when you’re on a budget. Just don’t try to steal any hard boiled eggs…not a good move as I found out.
We mostly walked but public transport is cheap
Okay, so I’ve never been the greatest with public transport, but I’m certainly not the worst. But Milan is something else. I found this problem in Belgium and I really think Europe should take note of how great our transport system is here in Britain. You pay by time on the underground in Milan, so you can do an unlimited amount of trips, but they have to be within 90 mins. Weird as hell. Genuinely didn’t see any buses, so I can’t comment, but we did get the train to Lake Como one day and it costs us roughly about £4 each, so well worth it.
Also looked out on by Byron, Shelley and Keats
In a slightly soppy way, this place has a lot of meaning for me. My English degree is pretty much based on the British Romantic writers and a lot of them lived on and around Lake Como, seeping inspiration from its very waters. And when we got there, I could really see why. The place is just stunning. Literally, it was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. We rode on the practically vertical cable car right up to the top of the mountain for the view and it was truly worth every penny (it cost about £3.60 to go all the way up and down again).
The resturants to choose from are in abundance and we chose a cute little one near the waters edge, where we gorged ourselves on pasta, pizza and what dubbed ‘the world’s greatest tiramasu’ . The atmosphere at night is one in a millian (sorry, had to!) and definitely recommended for a romantic trip. After rejecting Yasmin’s moves of a midnight kiss, we waddled back to the train station where we encountered some unfortunate species of the male variety, which I will elaborate on…
Getting gawped at and run over simultaneously
For the first two days, we literally thought there was something wrong with us. I reguarly asked Yasmin to check if I had some unexpected growth coming out of my head or if my skirt was tucked into my knickers. It was only after a bit of research back at the hotel that ,nope, people actually just stare at you. At first it was males, and that’s to be expected, in forgeign culture, as long as you don’t look like a minor(ie. over 12) and also don’t look like you’ve been smoking a crack pipe for 10 years, you’re going to get attention. But seriously, it’s everyone. We left our hotel and decided to do an experiment where we counted how many looks or comments we got by the time we had walked to the centre. We had 5 before we had crossed the road from our hotel… The moral of the story is don’t go to Italy if you’re offended by this kind of beahviour and/or are ginger and/are or ethnic looking. You will get stared at, leered at, ciao bella’d at, but honestly, take it as a compliment and walk on, or if that fails, the middle finger means the same in Italian as it does at home.
The dome in the rectangle of gold, I mean we think…
Okay, so if I’m honest, this one was a let down. Not just in a sense of the fashion we saw on people, but apart from the Rectangle of Gold, it’s pretty damn normal when it comes to shopping. Nothing extravagant, nothing quirky, but then again, perhaps we stayed a little too mainstream as we were doing all of the museums and galleries in between (recommend booking to see The Last Supper, we managed to blag our way in because it wasn’t too busy and just paid on the door). I don’t really have much to comment on fashion unfortunately, and perhaps if I visited again, I would go all out on trying to find some hidden gems. Perhaps because Milan Fashion Week had been the week prior was an excuse for the Italians to have a week off? The one vintage shop we found on the way to the castle had some beautiful classic chanel shifts, and YSL shoes and handbags but unfortunately, being $kint the in city, naturally we couldn’t afford the €300 price tag. Sigh.
To summarise, the italians say Ciao for Hello and Goodbye which can get confusing. I would definitely go to Milan again, but I think next time I venture to that part of Italy, I’ll stay in Como. Oh and they do Pizza in McDonald’s, which is obviously a win all round.
Some more snaps that don’t fit into the sections I wrote about…not that the photos there do either.