Last Friday I got back from a week of traveling around Italy, and after seven days of recovering from the experience, I think I’m ready to talk about it. So I’ll start at the very beginning of the trip:Milano.
The very first thing I learnt on my trip is that Milan Bergamo Airport is a very liberal name, as it’ll take you over an hour to actually get into the city*. So if you’re a budget airline connoisseur like I am, plan accordingly. My flight to Milan got in at 23:20, and the busses aren’t as regular at that time of night, so I didn’t end up getting to Milan until 1:30. Which was great, as I only had one full day in the city and obviously wanted to experience it with sleep deprivation.I stayed at the Hotel Ambrosiana, which I would recommend if you’re only in the city for a short time like I was. I didn’t spend much time in the hostel other than sleeping, so I can’t really comment much on the place, but they have a 24 hour reception was useful for my awkward ass flight time and the staff were polite and accommodating. And most importantly, it was clean. My room had a private bathroom, which helped, and the prices were affordable. It was definitely a good base for my trip, as it’s 15 minutes walking distance from the train station (where the airport bus drops you off), although I did end up taking the metro to the city centre. Which, by the way, is very reminiscent of the New York Subway in its aesthetic. I’ll keep the Madrid metro thanks. Far less dingy.
The centre itself is very catered towards tourists. I’m sure if you wander off into the side streets you’ll eventually find some less extortionately priced cafés and restaurants, but I only had a few hours and was running on very little sleep, so I stuck to the main areas. The plus point of this was that everyone spoke English, which don’t get me wrong, is definitely the opposite of what I look for when travelling, but living in a major city with such poor English skills (and y’know, teaching it for a living), I’m always interested in a place’s use of the language when I visit.
Now, I know Milan is a major fashion capital, but I didn’t get a chance to check out the fashion district or any of the fancy expensive stores. I did, however, go to the highstreet because, hello, have you met me? If you’re a fan of shopping when travelling, then Milan is definitely the city for you. Gorgeous,mosaicked, pedestrianised walkways with stores at either side; I could definitely see the perks of living here as a young fashion lover.
On a more cultural note, I have to mention the Duomo. When I was obsessively googling ‘things to see in Milan’ and ‘Milan in 24 hours’, all signs pointed to one thing: this giant ass cathedral. And it was definitely the highlight of my time in the city. Essentially you pay money to climb up a tiny, winding, ancient staircase with people trying to squeeze past you coming the other way. And that’s it. Loljk, you’re climbing to the top of the cathedral. To walk around, talk to gargoyles, and marvel at the amazing views of the city you get. I can’t remember how much it cost me (#BestBloggerAward), but I can remember thinking ‘wow, this view was worth the money’. Mainly I just admired the architecture and sat on the roof overlooking the city. And thought intently about why the Duomo is guarded by army men in gnome hats. Conclusion: no idea but it’s pretty unnerving.
The ticket price also included entry to a religious relic museum. And if you like depictions of God surrounded by tiny, burning babies, it’s the place for you.
But I’m afraid that’s where my positive view of the city ends. Milan, for me, was underwhelming. It could be any European city, so if you’re looking for something Italian, it’s gonna disappoint you. You certainly don’t get a Mediterranean vibe from it.
Overall, if you’re looking to go to somewhere like Venice but want a cheaper flight, I definitely recommend flying into Milan and getting the short train ride to Venice… but only stay a few hours, or a day maximum. My two nights were pretty excessive. It’s a nice city, but to be honest I barely felt like I’d left Madrid.
* If you want to experience something cool, stay in one of the Zzzleepandgo pods at the airport. I did this before my 7am flight back to Madrid and thoroughly enjoyed how stress free the entire experience was. Sleep pods are great!