Milan: a fashion capital

Published by Bo Ko — 7 years ago

0 Tags: Erasmus experiences Milan, Milan, Italy


I have been to many places in my life. One of my ex-classmates at high school would even make fun of me for constantly being somewhere. I am so happy that this is my case. I love travelling. Well, enough spam for now.

I decided to organize a short trip, a.k.a. a long weekend in Milan last year (2011). Just a tip: if you want to travel easily around  Europe, just keep in mind that low cost air companies are usually the best choice. I found out there were two or three Ryanair flights from Madrid to Milan every day. They were quite cheap: the price would vary of course, but it would usually be around twenty or thirty Euros for a two way ticket.

I chose Milan because it was easy to go there. I was supposed to go there from Madrid and my boyfriend was supposed to travel form our home-country. We had to meet in Milan. Since there was a huge difference in the price of my ticket depending on the day of the flight, I decided to fly one day before my boyfriend. I had decided to finally try the famous web site Couchsurfing(couchsurfing.org). For those of you who do not know what Couchsurfing is, it is a site, which offers you the opportunity to sleep at someone’s home for free. That way travelling becomes more accessible and a lot less expensive. I had heard amazing things about the website: you usually meet interesting people, who are either your hosts or other surfers, travelling at the same time as you and staying at the same house.

Finding a host in Milan turned out to be complicated. At the beginning I wanted to find a place both for me and for my boyfriend. After trying in vain, I realized I would not find a host for both of us and we decided to go to a hotel. I was, however, supposed to arrive one day earlier and that is how my quest for a host begun. I sent many many  messages to people hosting in Milan, but all of the responses I got were either negative, or there were no responses at all. I was a bit disappointed and frightened. Where was I going to stay? Was I going to sleep under a bridge or on a bank at the park? :D At the end I found an emergency group. It was a group created by Mina’s couchsurferes and you were only supposed to write a message there if you urgently needed a place to stay in Milan.

I felt my situation was more than urgent and I sent a message in the “emergency group”.  I received several responses, including one from a guy who was a nudist and was walking naked at home. If I have to be honest I thought that was a peculiar life philosophy, but this guy was living in Bergamo, a little bit far from Milan. At the end I chose another guy’s place.

I arrived in Milan early in the morning. I had had an exam the day before. Not to mention, I was sick and the night before my flight I think I might have had fever. Despite my dramatic problems I woke up very early in the morning (maybe around three or four a.m.) and I went to the airport. I caught my plane on time and I arrived in Milan around ten or eleven a.m. I walked around, I read a book in the park and then I went to my host’s apartment. He had explained to me how to get there, and I did just fine. Well, I had a little trouble finding the right bus and taking off at the right bus stop, but I believe I did just fine.  

The guy who hosted me turned out to be very nice. He was form Sri Lanka, which seemed so interesting and exotic to me. He had a nice flat and he prepared pasta with pesto for me. I was so hungry and so grateful. We talked a long time. I was still quite sick and tired, so he let me go to bed early. I slept on a couch in the living room (just as the name of the web site suggests). I did not sleep very well, I cannot tell why exactly. In the morning my host had to go to work, so I went out with him.

My boyfriend was supposed to arrive that very same day in the early afternoon. I went to the train station to wait for him. Oh, I was so sick and tired. I sat a long time in McDonald’s drinking coffee. Then, I went to a huge book store in the train station. I bought a book about web design. I looked at the English books in the store. There were some pretty dirty ones, such as a picture book of the largest penises (I know it is very weird).

I called my boyfriend because he is usually late and in this case he was supposed to go to another city (150 km away) to catch his plane. I was worried that we would miss the plane and I would be left alone in Milan. He did, however, catch the airplane on time. He arrived at the train station and that is where I met him.

Our hotel was very nice, near the station. We decided it was about time to see Milan. The first thing we visited, of course, was the Duomo, or the largest cathedral in the city. It is amazing, very beautiful, and a little bit similar to the Cologne’s cathedral. We did not go inside, but we took several pictures of the Doumo from all sides.

After seeing the Duomo, we decided to go to La Scala, the famous Milan Opera House. It was beautiful. We wanted to go inside, but we missed the opening hours. We saw an old castle and we found out there was no Starbucks in Milan or in Italy as a whole because Italian coffee was too good and the Italians did not want to drink American coffee. We also visited a museum (whose name I do not remember) in which there were old airplanes and trains. It was quite impressive. We could go into some of the planes and see what was inside.

Important information for those who want to visit Italy or study in Italy: In the northern parts of the country exists a useful thing, called aperitivos. You go to any restaurant (I believe it exists in most of them) and you order an alcoholic beverage (e.g. wine or beer). You pay around seven or eight Euros and along with your drink you get food. It is normally a buffet with some salads, French fries, sandwiches, and pasta of course. It is perfect because you eat and you drink for eight Euros, which is pretty good for the Italian standards.

That is how we eat dinner in the evenings. We went to the restaurants around the Milan’s Navigli, or the typical canals (similar to those in Venice, but less in number). There is a flea market around the Navigli plus restaurant, shops, and bakeries. We were very content with the restaurants in the region.

During our stay in Milan, we felt it was our duty to visit some of the fashion boutiques. Milan is the fashion capital of the world (or at least in Europe). We went to several boutiques and there are three things I noticed:

  1. The high fashion clothes could be very ugly. That same year animal-like clothes were popular, along with glittery and shiny materials. By animal-like, I mean  fury clothes, or clothes that look like zebra or leopard’s skin.
  2. Even the sale’s girls are snobbish in the boutiques. They look at you in a snobbish manner, with their chins and noses high up in the air, as if though you had entered a holy land.
  3. The prices of the clothes (as you might expect) are extremely high even if the clothes themselves are not worth it.

Halloween was one of the interesting events we had the chance to see in Milan. Despite the cold temperatures there were many people outside, dressed in costumes. We went to one of the restaurants near the Navigli. The menu was richer and better because of the holiday. There was Halloween decoration everywhere. I was so happy. I am like a child: I love holidays like this one, even though it is not typical for my country.

The day after Halloween we had to go back to our respective cities. Both our flights were very early in the morning and we had to wake up at five a.m. It was difficult. It always is difficult when you have to say “goodbye” to someone you care about. I have the amazing memory form this trip to keep me happy J.


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