Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Catherine and I in front of one of the many cathedrals in Milan.
The first stop on my Eurotrip agenda was Milan (although technically, London, was my first encounter in Europe even if only for an hour layover). I arrived around noon and the first thing I noticed after leaving the airport were the small cars and, of course, the fashion. It took some time before I finally met up with one of my travel buddies, Matt, because we couldn’t use phones and we hadn’t specified an exact meeting point at the large (and beautiful) train station. After about two hours of waiting and meeting lots of people who did not understand English, I finally ran into my friend at an internet café (thank goodness).

Grand Central Station
Hostel: Pop House
Having never stayed at a hostel before, I didn’t know what to expect. This place was, overall, a nice first experience. It was very small and cozy (5-7 people max), which I liked. I also liked the various pop art décor for which it was probably named after. The location was very good as it wasn’t very far from the train station and there was a grocery store nearby. My favorite accommodation was the laptop with free internet in the living room. What made our stay here even better was that we had some pretty awesome hostel-mates, two Swiss girls named Alice and Lea who were both so friendly and fun.

Beware of the owner (and her uni-brow), however. Make sure you checkout on time. She will try to rip you off.

The view from my room.
 By the time I had gotten settled at the hostel and was ready to eat, most of the restaurants had closed for the afternoon. Fortunately, Matt and I came across a cute, little place run by a guy who knew English (very helpful). Due to the time, the menu was very limited but I ordered the pesto pasta with some white wine, followed by some dry red wine (hey, it’s Italy) and tiramisu for dessert. Everything was very good. On our way back to the hostel, we found some super cheap wine (2 euro!) and grabbed some Sri Lanken food which I tried for the first time. I found it to be good, but a little too spicy for my sensitive taste buds. That first night, Matt decided to treat everyone to a cooked dinner that consisted of rice and sausage. While the sausage portion was delicious, the rice was a little off (he blames this on the fact that the rice was long-grain instead of short).

The next day, after meeting up with our third travel buddy, Catherine, and doing some shopping, we all stopped by a little café and shared a pizza. This was also my first encounter of having to pay for water in Europe which would become one of my least favorite things about this continent that I otherwise fell in love with.

Finally, the last place I ate in Milan was… McDonald’s! Chicken nuggets with Coke to be exact. I told myself I wasn’t going to eat fast food during my stay in Europe, but I wasn’t off to a great start. Fortunately, I wasn’t paying for my meal so I didn’t feel so bad.

Both nights I went out with Matt and our hostel-mates, Alice and Lea, along with Lea’s sister and her friend. The cover fees for the clubs were outrageous, especially by American standards (10-15 euro to get in, but at least you get a drink). After your complimentary drink, however, be prepared to pay at least 10 euro for another. The music played was older pop music which was fun because everyone knew the songs and could sing along while dancing.

Once Catherine had joined us on the second day, we went shopping in Montenapoleon. Although I didn’t buy anything, it was fun looking around in stores like Chanel, Gucci, Lanvin, and Dolce & Gabbana. Matt did buy some pretty cool Hugo Boss shoes and a Guess watch.

Since Milan was our first stop and also our rendezvous city, we were just figuring out what to do which meant little time for sightseeing or tours. Not seeing more of the city and what it had to offer is my one big regret in Milan that I hope to remedy by coming back someday.

Unfortunately, I forgot to bring a charger or new batteries for my “glamour shot” camera that I had brought so I took very few pictures while in Milan to conserve what little charge I had. Being a big fan of taking pictures, this was pretty irritating.

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