Out of the places that travel bloggers write about in Italy…
I’ve noticed that just about all of them shun upon Milan. All I read before I went on my trip were titles like “Why 24hours is enough in Milan” or “Milan is not quite the authentic Italian experience.” But hey, I’m not one to shift focus because of a couple of nay-sayers so I was determined to experience it for myself and you know what?
I LOVE MILANO
…with the hoodie to prove it, because I’m just a sucker for souvenirs
In fact, I am convinced that the Milan nay-sayers are simply travel bloggers that equate poverty to culture or the lack of development to authenticity… (ooh spicey! lol). But here’s the thing, I’m African – born and bred. Poverty is a reality living in my back yard and I’m not spending a little fortune going out to find a picture of poverty. You know the ones that tourists define as the real Africa? Yep those ones. Nothing about that feels authentic to me. Those pictures of African people are not cool. In the words of Jordan Belfort – “There Is No Nobility in Poverty.”
Anyways, spice aside and back to the topic at hand. Milan is pretty much the corridor of opulence which I suppose is what puts most travellers off. But on the other hand, Milan is the backdrop of beauty and I absolutely wish I could have been there a little bit longer and here are my 10 reasons why:
…to still get lost in the parks.
In the midst of the many ancient buildings and flurry of tourists parading the streets of Milan, you take a right turn and end up in the quaintest of parks. Love! Love! Love! Okay the parks aren’t exactly the garden of eden but I enjoyed the contrast they provided to the city. Most people insist that you should visit Parco Sempione (Simplon Park) which is a beauty – Oh yes! But please don’t let that be the only park in Milan you visit. I stumbled into about 4 different little havens where I got to sit and appreciate watching children walking their dogs, look at toddlers chasing birds, their mothers catching up with friends and overall just catching a little city life peace (if there is such a thing).
I long for this “park life culture” in Johannesburg but perhaps I’m asking for too much. Oh and because I’m obsessed with campus culture I took some time out at Parco Alessandrina Ravizza (above). It is a park opposite Bocconi University in Milan. Trust me, the energy of being on campus is the one thing I have found the same all around the world. OutClassers my obsession with you is real!
…to walk off everything I ate.
Walking is the best way to experience a new city. You get to touch and smell your surroundings. You can hear the vibe and stop to (in Milan’s case) taste everything! And oh did I taste! I’m a sucker for baked yummies and had I not walked the streets of the Navigli District I would have missed the freshly baked pizza, cake, ciabatta that became my regular staple during my stay in Italy. Milan isn’t too big so walking was my main way to get around and luckily for me walking is a calorie killer so walk and eat and you can maintain the Milano look!
…to embrace hostel living.
This one is something especially for me! I hate bad accommodation with a passion and the thought of staying in a hostel or backpackers creeps me out on every level – well that was until I got to Milan! Taking that I did this trip solo, I decided that I wanted to meet as many people as I could on my trip and unfortunately hotels and apartments don’t really provide that. So after scanning through all my options, one hostel in Milan looked like the best fit… Ostello Bello!
Ostello Bello has brilliant reviews – like I mean really outstanding, detailed and precise reviews everywhere you look online. Ostello Bello (ah such a sexy name to pronounce in the Italian accent… then again everything is sexy in an Italian accent) is everything for a twenty-something year old traveller through Italy. They speak English. The staff are a sight-for-sore-eyes. The rooms are immaculately clean. It’s a walk away from everything including the Duomo Cathedral. You interact with guests from all over the world. I can’t go on enough about the food, the dessert and the layout of the hostel. Oh wait for it – they give you free wine on arrival and you can rent mobile routers free of charge! Ostello Bello also does this Aperitivo thing – an Italian tradition that needs to be sent around the world as soon as possible. For more info check out my review of on tripadvisor.
Aaaaahhhh if all hostels were like this I swear I would have opened up to this alternative style of living a long time ago! I really could go on and on but this article is already long as it is.
…to up my fashion game.
So fashion isn’t really my thing. I’m a pretty simple – jeans and top kind of girl and Milan is everything but that! It is fashion models walking the streets, designer houses around every corner, grand shopping experiences and just all things A-line and drop neck lines (I think that’s how fashion gurus speak lol).
Milan is the fashion capital indeed. I might provide a bit of warped view taking that I was there during Milan fashion week but nonetheless I get the feeling this is the norm. I had been advised to take an empty suitcase so I could do a lot of shopping there but let me tell you –
…this is the worst advice ever! The clothes are really really expensive…
Maybe it is because the ZAR is just a setback in Europe but even with 80% off original Michael Kors – I would’ve championed the nude trend had I listened to that advice. So sure, I would’ve stayed there to appreciate and be inspired by the fashion trends but that’s about it when it comes to me and designer clothing.
…to explore more street art.
I couldn’t tell whether or not graffitti is the unwelcomed guest in Milan as it is in other countries but I hope not – because it was one of the things I just loved to see on my walks. Although I came across some of the unappreciated ‘tags’ – I also found some really skillful showcases. The kind of street art that lifts your spirits a little. Its not only graffitti though – I noticed that the city showcases some art along the streets as well… properly framed and hung alongside walls in the city.
So this is just part one of my list of 10 so far. I know you are going to want to get on the next flight out when you see the full list. So hang ten and give me a week or two – next post on the way soon….