I have a really bad habit of booking things for the wrong date. Whether it is flights, hotels or restaurants there is always something not quite running as smoothly as I would like. This trip to Italy was no different. 30 seconds after booking my super cheap flights from Madrid to Milan I realised that I was flying during my 1st year Basketball class. Good one Watton. Unfortunately at the time I didn’t realise that Ryanair have a policy that if you make a mistake with your booking, you have a 24 hour grace period to sort it out and get yourself back on track. I wish I had known this as it would have added some cents to the pizza fund.
So December came around and I was almost ready to fly to Milan. Strangely I had a really really bad feeling about this trip. Only 4 months before I had boarded a flight solo to the Philippines without a care in the world but a 2 hour flight to Italy had me quaking in my boots. Who knows why I was experiencing these kind of feelings but I had a strong word with myself and got on the flight. Think of pizza and pasta I told myself.
My flight was with Ryanair to Milan Bergamo direct and only took a couple of hours. Before arriving at Bergamo I had booked a bus from the airport to the city centre (yep for the day before…oops). I had decided to book a bus in advance to be organised but I suggest you just arrive to the airport and buy a ticket when you get there. It gives you a bigger selection of buses and means you aren’t restricted to traveling on the bus that you have booked in cases of delays or early arrivals.
Beware!! Hostels in Milan can be quite pricey so if you have been travelling around Europe be prepared to pay slightly more in this city. I booked into a hostel called Ostelo Bello that is located right next to the Centrale Train Station where the bus drops you off from the airport. The hostel was fantastic. The price of a single bed in a room of 6 with a private bathroom also included breakfast in the morning. During the day there is unlimited tea, biscuits and cakes located in the kitchen at the top of the building. In the evening in true Italian style, an apertivo is served. An array of dishes are displayed on the large kitchen table where people can just help themselves. Remember to not eat too much, you want to save room for some true Italian Pizza.
So instead of having to continue to read my ranting and ravings about my journey and travels, here are the top 5 things I recommend that you see/eat/do in Milan.
1. Climb the stairs of the world famous Duomo and see Milans vast landscape. The Duomo has an endless amount of statues and spires that make for a spectacular photo. Make sure you bring someone with you to take the snaps…this is where i failed!!
2. Join the line and buy a panzerotti or 5 from Luini’s. This fried pastry triangle stuffed full of tomato and oozy mozarella is a perfect lunchtime treat. Located right around the one from the Duomo, this hole-in-the-wall would be hard to miss with the locals hanging around outside tucking into their treats from greasy paper bags.
3. Take a day trip to Lago de Como and Belagio for a spot of fresh air and pretty lake views. Take the train straight from Milano Nord Cadorna to Como Nord Lago. From there you can take the bus to a little town called Belagio, which is home to quaint little streets and spectacular lake views. I especially loved the bus journey that took me there on the twisting roads with steep drops down to the lake below.
4. Down near the canal in the Navigli District, there are endless amounts of bars and restaurants. The river is lined with beautiful sparkling fairy lights and the atmosphere is that of hustle and bustle. This is the old part of the city but has recently been refreshed and given a new lease of life. About 100m away from the bridge crossing into the Navigli District sits a little shop shop and a take away stand by its side. The take away stand allows the opportunity to try and buy some of the fresh delicacies on offer. In my little poke I had calamari, gambas, cod and a variety of other species that I honestly couldn’t tell you the name of. in my mind it was healthy seafood but in reality it was covered in a fine layer of batter that just added to the deliciousness.
5. MUST DO. You have to have a Aperol Spritz during aperitif time!! This is the drink of Italy. If you leave without having one you will seriously regret it, Many bars will put on a buffet style feed ahead of dinner time. Basically it is an extremely cheap way to eat and fill up! Unfortunately I ended up eating so many aperitivos that I didn’t always require a big juicy pizza.
Well I hope you enjoyed my snipit on what i enjoyed doing in Milan. I visited the city for 2 days and one of which i ventured out to Lago de Como. I would suggest 2 day trip would be sufficient enough time to wonder around, enjoy the shopping and food over a long weekend. Enjoy the photos.