Unlike my two days in Como (read that post here), which were largely unplanned, I had a long (and slightly overwhelming) list of things to do and places to see in Milan and was excited to hit the ground running.
My trip from Como S. Giovanni station to Milan was seamless, that is, once I got over having to carry my rucksack up those four flights of stairs (for the second time) to get into the station. There are trains from Como to Milan at least every 30 minutes, so I purchased my ticket at the station and simply waited for the next train. I sat on the platform and ended up engrossed in a conversation with an Italian lady who had just visited London. We spoke about travelling solo (read about that here) and my time living in Brazil. Time flew and before we knew it, the train eased into the station.
I had to give myself a few minutes to subdue the Londoner in me…and then I remembered something: I was on holiday!
After a pleasant 50 minute train ride, I finally arrived in Milan. I excitedly raced off the train, swerving through hundreds of passengers on the platform in order to “beat the rush” and then I remembered something: I was on holiday! I had to give myself a few minutes to subdue the Londoner in me and to tell myself that it was ok to not have to shave five seconds off my journey time. That it’s not always imperative to know exactly where the train doors open; or that if I had to snail pace behind a hundred tourists, that was ok too. These are the perks of being part of the “not going anywhere fast” club… time to embrace it. I stood inside the iconic Stazione Centrale (Central Station) with my luggage and just stared at the ceiling; as far as beautiful railway stations go, this building is up there with the Grand Centrals’. The architecture, the space, the movement all seemed to flow as one, it had a beat of its own; such a big change from the stillness of the lakes. Coming back to reality, I crossed Piazza Duca d’Aosta and proceeded to find my hostel on Via Lepetit. A hostel that I had once again booked on my iPad the night before; thankfully and unlike in Como, there were no funny surprises upon arrival. I booked two nights in Ostello Bello Grande, which I definitely recommend — reasonable prices, clean, friendly young atmosphere and free food…yes free food. Definitely a great option if you want to do travelling on a budget and also the easiest way to meet new people.
No time to linger. I dropped my bag off in my room, grabbed a map and headed straight for the metro. First stop: Cadorna metro station to see the red-brick castle, Castello Sforzesco, and kill some time before the main event of the evening – Leonardo da Vinci’s, The Last Supper.
Second stop and the main event: Cenacolo Vinciano, a 10 minute walk from the castle. I got to the entrance of the church of Santa Maria delle Graziethe where the museum is housed; and was pleased I had booked my entrance ticket (€8) in advance. I had to dodge past dozens of sad faces being turned away from the museum; turns out it’s impossible to buy tickets on the door and often tickets sell out two/three weeks in advance…sometimes planning ahead works. My ticket got me 15 minutes in front of the mural which depicts Jesus telling his disciples that one of them would betray him. No cameras, no phones, no talking, just a pocket of time to sit in awe in front of the painting that has baffled the world for centuries. A strict 15 minutes…not quite enough time to crack The Da Vinci Code but long enough to tick off my #27daysofnew experience for the day.
After, I proceeded to my final stop of the evening: the Duomo (Milan), to marvel at the famous gothic cathedral, which I heard is best to see at night. But, although marvellous, I couldn’t help but feel disappointment at how they had managed to tarnish such a spectacle with a large, flickering Times Square-esque advertisement on the left side of the building (intentionally not shown in the picture above, but believe me it’s there) – 600 years to build this cathedral and you slab a glowing advert on it, why? *rant over*. I spent the rest of my night walking around the city, doing some late night shopping and eating an embarrassingly huge amount of gelato: “can I have the extra-large please, oh and one of those swirly cone things…ta”.
This was day 6 of my #27daysofnew (you can read the introduction to this series here), more from my time in Milan in Part 2. You can follow my travels here on my blog or by searching the hashtag #27daysofnew on Instagram.
Change and change often. @salome.amakhi
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