Milan: a home away from home

Oh Milano. After studying here for a semester back in 2014, I swore I’d be back as soon as I could. Even though that’s true, it’s still taken me a full 5 years to make it back to this not-so-secret love of mine.

We arrived in Italy after what can only be described as our worst day yet. The Bernina Express from Chur to Tirano was certainly beautiful, but a lot less so in the rainy conditions we had. At Tirano, we were refused the sale of tickets to Milan as there was a ‘problem with the line’. Blindly, we got on a train without tickets that was running over an hour late where we then transferred to a bus and two more trains before we eventually arrived at a different train station in Milan! It almost goes without saying that I didn’t hit my daily step target, for the first time this trip.

Milan itself was an absolute joy. We were the beneficiaries of not just perfect weather, but also the most amazing hospitality from our friends Marco and Marika. To say we were spoiled is an understatement. Their apartment was so central that those underground  pickpocketers didn’t even know we existed. We ate the most delicious food: homemade pastas, authentic salads and traditional Milanese veal with saffron risotto. And don’t even get me started on the desserts!

Our first stop was the Duomo. Still one of my favourite cathedrals on the planet, it remains just as pigeon infested as ever. The Galleria was as glorious as I remembered; and the photo shoot occurring was a timely reminder that it was the beginning of fashion week. This meant a trip to Monte Napoleone and a lovely meal in Brera. We went to Parco Sempione, saw the castle and stopped for a bit to watch the beach volleyball tournament that was happening outside.

Of course, my return to Milan would not have been complete without a sentimental visit to the California Bakery, tour of my old university, Bocconi, and gelato from La Gelateria de Musica. We ambled along the canals through Navigli, by day and night, and soaked up the ever radiant atmosphere. Despite the hectic, sprawling streets of this gritty city, I think I did a better than average job of making the others fall for it in the same way I did, once upon a time.

Next stop is Cinque Terre, where I can hopefully burn off some of that Italian deliciousness hiking (hopefully, for now, without too much of a compromise on consumption!).

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