Milanese Gelato and Espresso.

Milan. The capital of fashion. Surrounded by the biggest and most expensive brands known to man. But if you ask me, at this point in my life I would not be able to afford or justify shopping here. But that’s fine, because just 10 minutes away from the city centre you will find the real life of Milan.

Milan was our second stop after Barcelona and we needed a quick break after all that excitement. We stayed in the Naviglio Grande area by the canal, which is known for being a hipster bar and restaurant hub. Our Airbnb was great as it was not only close to centre, but also cheap, relaxing and beautiful.

If you are worried about how to get around in Milan – don’t be. It’s very easy to navigate and you can buy day tickets for just a few euros. Speaking of which, if you are just a little outside the city centre, you will find that the people and public transport makes you feel like you’re back in the 90s. I suppose not everyone is up to date with fashion trends!

Stunning shopping centres like the one above make Milan famous. The men and women are very stylish and professional. City is buzzing with young professionals and tourists.

As well as fashion, Milan can offer some historic places such as Garibaldi square, the cemetery and Sforzesco castle. If you are interested in history that is intertwined with religion, these will be great places to see. We did a city bus tour (not something we usually go for, but we were knackered after Barcelona!) and we ticked off a lot of the main tourist attractions pretty quickly. Milan, for us, didn’t have any areas that particularly amazed us culturally. I would say a 2-3 day stay would be the maximum you would need here.

Despite feeling a bit lackluster about the places to visit, the food more than made up for it. We visited places such as the Grand Italia for lunch most days. We were sat opposite each other, in between other groups, so you really felt part of the Italian lifestyle. People were having pasta, risotto or even pizza accompanied with wine or beer, at lunchtime! As much as it would be nice to have a beer during lunchtime I don’t think my employer would allow that!

In this lovely over crowded place we tried risotto and pasta which was quite nice, but if you are ever around I would recommend pizza. It looked fabulous, especially with a cold lager.

Most places you will get traditional Italian cuisine, but if you want something that they specialise in – try the Milanese risotto, which is yellow in colour.

Our food addiction was slightly reduced when we came to Milan, as we had already tried so much in Barcelona and we knew what was waiting for us in Vilnius. But we did visit some nice cocktail bars and one of them was Sanuk! As mentioned before all of our nights were spend in Naviglio Grande or Pavese areas, as that’s where all the nice bars and restaurants are. Sanuk! opened recently and most of all they were welcoming. If you order a cocktail or two they will bring you homemade tapas. We didn’t expect that, as in Spain they charge for everything, but in Sanuk, the tapas were free. They kept on bringing it all night! The place was full of the owner’s family and friends, which is always a good sign. I would suggest looking for that rather than tourist-filled bars 😊

During our stay Barcelona we didn’t have chance to spend some time making our dinner. But in Milan we had such a beautiful Air BnB, we couldn’t resist. Fortunately for us, our host had all the essentials and all we needed to do was get some ingredients and cook!

Wine, olives and cheese for appetisers and tortellini with mushroom and cream sauce. It will take you up to 30min to make this and all you will have to do is to play some music and enjoy your meal. Eating out in Milan can be pricey and this is a great alternative if you want to save a few euros!

Just before I finish our quick stay in Milan, a quick word on the ice-cream. Everybody knows how good gelato is in Italy. And it’s not a myth, they take pride in it. La gelateria della Musica was recommended to us and apparently they serve not only insane ice-cream but sometimes have live gigs. Try the pistachio – you won’t be disappointed.

Overall Milan is great if you are interested in shopping and seeing flashy streets with hot brands, but if you are looking for nature escapes and spectacular cultural experiences, I would probably suggest other Italian cities. If you are bored and want to run away for a weekend, it won’t be a bad place to go.

Augustinas 😎

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