So after a particularly stressful check in at Heathrow’s T5 we finally made it out of the country. I will explain. Mr is diabetic and as he is also a man this means I constantly check that he has all of his appropriate medical supplies about his person on a daily basis. After being dropped off an hour earlier than needed at the airport I had just purchased a couple of coffees and was planning to sit and enjoy 5 minutes peace when I casually asked if Mr had picked up his injection. His normal “yesss of course I have” then a cloud of dread descended over his face and a “oh fuck… my insulin”. He had left six months worth of his life saving drug in the fridge at our friend’s house an hour away. Fortunately though one of our friends had been on night shift and as it was nearing lunch time we thought he would be awakening soonish, so after a couple of frantic phone calls he was hot footing it to Heathrow in the nick of time with the said drugs and we breathed a huge sigh of relief, then got through airport security with 50 minutes to spare before departure. Crisis averted.
The second stress of the day came when we reached our hotel. After a surprisingly easy journey halfway across the city with our luggage on the Milan underground, we had walked, dragging our bloody heavy cases for 15 minutes in the early evening sweltering heat only be told they had changed our reservation to another hotel. 20 minutes back the way we had just come!!!! Aghhhh. Then upon check-in at the other hotel we were told it was only for 2 nights not 3. But we got it all sorted in the end. In all the years and all of the places we have ever travelled to we have never had such a nightmare day to get from A to B. Oh and the hotel happened to be in an area popular with trans-gender/transvestite Asian prostitutes!! (One looked about 50, he just had ladies clothes on and a long red wig, no attempt to look like a woman apart from that at all, hilarious! I don’t know what is more worrying, them or the people that pick them up???)
But it was all to be worth it. Milan was stunning. Not what I was expecting at all. It was calm, beautiful, clean and much more grand than I had ever imagined. The city centre is filled to bursting with jaw dropping architecture and the city’s cathedral and surrounding piazza was one of the most incredible sights I have ever set my eyes on, I actually could not stop a “wow” escaping my lips as we entered the square from the underground, all lit up for the evening, it was an amazing sight.
I had always envisaged Milan to be a bit like London, busy, congested, dirty, chaotic and hard work but it did not feel like that at all. It was elegant and relaxed and oh so stylish. Around every corner was a plethora of cool bars, uber trendy restaurants and old style marble clad café’s. All full to the rafters with people to match. The people and the place were turned out in their very finest and it was a pleasure to be immersed in all of its splendour.
And that brings me neatly on to the more important aspects of the city, the fashion and the shops! Oh my! The shops were every bit as sumptuous as you would expect, set in beautiful old baroque buildings in cobbled streets, ivy tumbling down from their balconies and the windows full of the most incredible things. Shoes dazzling like jewels, stunning arrays of bags and don’t even get me started on the clothes. Sigh…………
And then there were the beautiful people. Dressed impeccably and oh so chic. There is only one way to put it, the Italians have got style. Bucket loads. Although I would’nt fancy trying to get to the mirror to get ready with an Italian man in the vicinity!!!! One of the rules they live by is fa la bella figura (to cut a fine figure) and they take it very seriously, I think it is as important to make sure they look the part as it is to breathe!! Being from the vainer side of the spectrum myself, I find this brilliant!!! Mr thinks it is ridiculous. But it is lovely to dress up, put on some heels and not have anyone bat an eyelid, although they will look just to check out what everyone looks like! Posing and people watching is a compulsory past time here.
Then of course there is apertivo, I have mentioned this before on a trip to Turin. It is a genius thing, between 6-9pm almost every bar will have their aperitivo time. Every drink is the same price (€6-€10), second drink is cheaper though, and you get to help yourself to a mountain of fresh, delicious Italian anti-pasti, breads, cheeses and pasta etc. So with when in Rome (or Milan) and all that, it would have been rude not to partake, it is also a very budget friendly way of eating out. Mr and I went to one particularly funky bar and for €30 (for us both) we had a cocktail and a glass of wine each plus basically a 2 course meal in fabulous surroundings. They even do nibbles and drinks in style!
So all in all I loved Milan, I would go back in a heartbeat (although some lottery winnings would help on the shopping front!) and even Mr could’nt complain about this city, my love affair with Italy has been reignited once again.