Visiting Milan, Italy was an incredible experience. Milan is known internationally as the fashion capital of the world and enjoys having a ridiculous amount of good looking people in one geographical area. It literally looks like its inhabitants just stepped out of a Dolce & Gabbana photoshoot. It was also my first stop in Europe after spending two weeks in South Korea.
While in Milan, I stayed at the Malpensa Fiera Milano Hostel, primarily because it was cheap and not too far from Malpensa airport. If you’re arriving from the airport, you can take the train to Saronno for 6 euros and it will take about 20 minutes. Once you get out of the train station, there will be signs directing you towards the hostel.
The hostel itself is a cheery red building and its employees were all pretty friendly. After being in transit for close to 18 hours, I was pretty excited to reach the hostel and settle in. I lucked out because they were not at full capacity yet so I was able to have a 3 person room all to myself. This Europe tour was off to a good start.
For next morning’s breakfast, they had bread and nutella available and I am convinced that something in European nutella makes it better than the one we have in the States. I could get used to this Italian style breakfast.
After satisfying my morning hunger, I went exploring around Milan. I like exploring a new city by having a couple of spots I want to hit up and then leaving room for random adventures. First on my list was the Duomo.
The Duomo is a Gothic cathedral and it is the cathedral church of Milan. This masterpiece took almost six hundred years to complete and the attention to detail is breathtaking. It is probably one of my favorite buildings and it will always hold a special place in my heart because I felt like it welcomed me to Europe. It is also one of the 5th largest churches in the world and even in Italy, a country that loves its cathedrals, it is the second largest church.
After exploring the Duomo and taking way too many pictures to try to get that perfect shot, I was famished and in need of sustenance. Figuring there’d be a lot of restaurants nearby with so many people drawn to the Duomo, I chose a random direction and started walking. This attempt to find food has usually served me well in the past and I was also excited to explore more of the city. Milan is also where I began my one gelato a day habit.
While walking around, I stumbled upon an apparently extremely popular takeaway (to-go) restaurant called Luini Panzerotti. People were queueing up in line for these panzerottis (deep-fried savory pastries) and the line was kept organized by a suited bodyguard/super employee that you can see in the below picture. People spilled onto the sidewalk as they sat down with their food in victory.
After my lunch of panzerottis and gelato, I continued to wander the city. Ultimately, I ended up at the Sforza Castle. Inside the castle there is a museum and garden area for you to enjoy. It was built in the 15th century by Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan and was remodeled several times over the last few centuries.
After exploring the premises, I sat down in the garden, wrote in my journal, and people watched. I realized then that one of the main differences between couples in Korea and couples in Italy is that Korean couples tend to be more cutesy with their relationships (think matching T-shirts, matching cell-phones) while Italian couples are more aggressive (think making out in public areas in day time). Not that one is better than the other, but I actually prefer the Italian way. Too much cuteness tends to overwhelm me..yea, I know I’m weird.
I wound down the rest of the day by walking around and really trying to absorb everything that the city had to offer. Milan contains some beautiful architecture and it was a treat to walk around and see the wrought iron balconies, the narrow cobblestone streets, and the buckets of flowers dangling from long glass windows.
As I returned to my hostel and got into bed, I lay in anticipation of the next day. I would be joined by my college friend Gloria and our journey to Venice would begin.
Stay tuned for the next post on Venice, Italy!