Unlike my previous nights in Verona, I knew where I was going to stay in Milan (well, I booked it the night before haha). It was a peace of mind I needed after my trip to Verona. Although, I would be staying outside the centre of Milan, I sometimes love getting to know the real city… And I’ve been told that Milan is actually a pretty boring city you can see in just one day.
Off I went, on a train much more comfortable than my last in Italy. We arrived in Milan’s Central Station and like I always, I went around a few times in the train station to orient myself. I figured out where to take the metro to my hostel, bought a 48 hour ticket from a Tobacco shop and hoped on the right train! SUCCESS! Google maps saved my life after I got off because I otherwise would have never known how to get to my hostel.
The hostel itself actually used to belong to the church and was for the sisters of the church. Since my generation isn’t as into the sisterly life, they had to downsize, making a large part of the building a youth hostel with modern comforts. Underneath the hostel the sisters still feed the poor and needy, and I suspect that the hostel monies go towards those activities. Quite brilliant in my mind.
We were so much out of the city centre (and really any place in non-touristy) that nobody spoke English. I mean, it’s rough to order a coffee. But I wasn’t going to worry, I put my stuff down and headed back to Milano centrale to find a café. Up to this point I’ve been very intimidated going into very local establishments with fear that I wouldn’t be able to communicate, I would be an outsider or something of the life. However, I followed my instinct… There was a coffee shop called Dr. Coffee that was the most Italian you can get. It was filled with young and middle aged Italians drinking and eating. I ordered this ottocreama drink that was essentially melty espresso ice cream (it came from one of those turning slushy machines). It was amazinnngggggggg. Everybody left while I was still writing my blog, so I figured it was time I left as well.
Being sick, I wanted to head back to the hostel to get some rest. I first found a grocery store to buy pasta and wine to cook, before heading back to my hostel. Pasta of course is as cheap as you imagine (36¢ for a bag) and yes they sell Barilla but it’s 1€ for a normal size box.
I bought the cheapest wine,because all wine in Italy is supposed to be delicious. Wrong, both the red and the white were nasty – however, I drank both bottles.
After I drank, I decided that I would go to bed early. Being sick, I was making Milan a restful place with little stress of seeing everything.
On Day 20, I woke up early and found a patisserie. I struggled to communicate with the lady at the counter because she didn’t speak any English and I could barely speak any Italian. I basically was able to say crema for something creamy and una for one when pointing to the pastries. These pastries were delicious and FILLED with Nutella. Seriously, they LOVE Nutella in Europe.
I took my pastry on a ride to the Duomo where I sat and just people watched with the beautiful back splash of the Duomo.Tourists and locals alike were getting bombarded by people saying “free, free” and then once you take or they push the bracelets on you they ask for money. I ignored a few until one came to me and put it on my wrist. And yes, I gave him a euro…less than he wanted but more than I could have given.
After I was done eating and people watching I walked around the duomo, to realize that getting inside was also free… And I couldn’t resist, although I didn’t take pictures to respect the fact that I didn’t pay for the wristband that gave me picture abilities. (I could easily have snuck a few) I spent a good 30 minutes looking at the church, praying and enjoying the beauty. I was in shock by the exposure of the relics of the cardinals’ bodies from the 16th century and later. You can still see their shriveled up hands and hair. It s really amazing to see it.
I spent a lot of money in the Duomo on souvenirs and the once I left, wandering the streets. In Milan you have to think about fashion (although a lot of Milanese aren’t super extravagant). I thought the most simple thing to buy that I could wear would be a scarf and I found a cart where I bought 3… I definitely haggled on the price but it was pretty easy because I only knew Trenta as a number and the lady spoke no English.. So she felt bad and gave me all 3 for only 30€ rather than the 45€ she wanted.
I also ran back to the hostel to grab my stencil and paper to trace the manhole cover I found near the shop cart. It had the Milanese crest on it and so I stopped sidewalk traffic to trace it. People were a little confused as to what I was doing, but no one was bothered.
And Milan was done. Yup, that’s it. Wasn’t much else to do but walk around. I went back to the hostel where I couldn’t stream the US Germany football match nor find a bar that was playing it (they’re upset because Italy is no longer in the World Cup).
And so, I found myself some gelato, cooked dinner, briefly talked to my roommate Delia from Romania, met my two other roommates from Tulane University and then passed out.
Until next time: PICTURESSSS – Instagram: jlwright12