Last weekend,three friends and I embarked on our first trip out of England– to Milan, the Mecca of fashion and great food. Our trip started late Thursday night at the Rosemead Guesthouse beside Gatwick Airport, where we decided to stay in order to ensure our 5am arrival to the airport and I’d be remiss to not take a second to rave about the guesthouse. It was the embodiment of English quaintness: nestled in a small neighborhood of Horley, the two-story house was operated by a sweet lady accompanied by her adorable dogs (who according to signs in our room, loved to explore the town of Horley with guests), AND provided much-welcomed cookies and tea upon arrival.
On Friday, we landed in a snowing Milan at 9am. Four hours, two bus rides and a metro ride later, we arrived at our Airbnb flat right outside the center of the city. Starving, we found a quaint cafe on a nearby side street and kicked off our weekend of proper Italian feasting. Returning to the center of the city, we explored a museum featuring Italian art ranging from the 12th-20th century, got swindled into feeding a mob of (or, rather being mobbed by) pigeons, and walked along the Navigli District along the gorgeous canal, all while taking in breathtaking roads and street art. We ended day one in Milan with the traditional aperitivos meal complete with fantastic bread, wine, pasta and gelato.
The next morning, we began with some delicious chocolate croissants and coffee before heading out to see the Duomo Cathedral. While the outside (and inside) of the Duomo was stunning, the best part of our tour of the cathedral was the 360 degree birdseye view of Milan on the roof, an alleged 915 steps up from the ground floor. Attempting to squeeze in as much as possible, we walked through the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (one of the world’s oldest shopping malls, home to the first Prada store *insert fan-girling here*), visited the Sforza Castle, and the Arch of Peace. Before heading back to the Airbnb for a very early wakeup call of 2:30am for our return to London, we ended our day by checking off the top of my to-do list for Italy: pizza, wine, and cannoli. We returned to campus early Sunday afternoon with all the signs of a well-executed trip: absolutely stuffed, exhausted, and glad to be home (and it was a strangely wonderful feeling for London to feel like home).