Milan. It looks so much better in the sun. There’s a stiff breeze and rays of sunlight are warming the kitchen. It makes a nice change from the grey grey fog that has been hanging over Milan for the past few weeks. That said, they did stop the traffic in central Milan yesterday due to the air pollution being so bad.
Aside from blacker lungs I have also had the time to acquire a map and a metro card and I have news for you. Milan is growing on me.
When I first came here, I wasn’t impressed at all. January cold – these are the days of the merla and concrete concrete everywhere. The outskirts of Milan, where I live, are it must be said, a bit of a dump. No restaurants, no cafes, hardly any shops, (well there is a travel agent’s) and no green spaces. First impressions did go rather against it. My housemate got mugged on the dark and lonely path. There isn’t a bakery nearby. Oh, and the place is a building site full of cranes. However I would like to point out that if you squint when you look at the flooded pit in the building site in the sun it looks like a lake, the coop is not THAT small, and there are plenty of people walking dogs after dark.
As for Milan city centre, the Lonely Planet is right when it says at first glance Milan "can appear like one of the models gracing its catwalks: great bone structure... extravagant taste and no obvious soul.” The Duomo is undeniably breathtaking and the castle and parks are very lovely. However you’d be forgiven for thinking why on earth people live in this city when it’s freezing cold and damp in winter and hot and humid in the summer. It left me cold at first, but it really does have its plus points. Here are some things I’m learning to love about Milan.
1)The city is really multiracial and multicultural. People-watching in the park and on the metro is a very rewarding pastime here.
2)There are lots of exhibitions. Including for example the one I saw by Steve Mccurry. You know him because he took that picture of the Afghan girl with the green eyes for National Geographic.
3)People are open to meeting new people. I have met some people for conversation exchange several times already.
4)The public transport system is pretty good and it only costs a euro for a single on the metro, unlike another city I could mention. Ahem *London*
5)There is aperitivo. You pay seven Euros or something for your drink and can eat as much as you want from the buffet.
6)It’s very close to the lakes of northern Italy. A day trip to Lago di Como or Lago di Garda anyone? Or would you rather spend a weekend in the mountains?