It’s still raining and pouring outside as I write this, but with the harsh combination of bitter cold and wet weather, my spirit is far from dampened. In fact, I spent day one in the fashion capital warming up to the city – a necessary transition activity pointed out by my Canadian cousin as a time when you acquaint yourself with a place and its people so that you gradually begin to feel comfortable, while it begins to welcome you with open arms in return.
Living outside the city centre, in Segrate for the first time, I decided to figure out my public transport route to the Duomo at the heart of Milan. My journey goes something like this: a three minute walk from the apartment block through the sloping gardens to the bus stop outside the NH Hotel. I catch bus line 925 which takes about five minutes to the metro stop on the green line called Cascina Gobba. I then catch the metro in the direction of Abbiategrasso, swap over to the red line at Loreto and head off towards Bisceglie.
Today, I chose to hop off at San Babila, where I a nearby Vodafone store could get me connected to the world again. I watched marathon runners brave the tar and the drizzle before sitting down to lunch – a mozzarella and tomato panino and spremuta d’arancia (freshly squeezed orange juice) – at the quaint Pasticceria Bastianello. I then walked down Corso Vittorio Emanuele, mainly window shopping because I had a very clear destination: La Rinascente – a stack of floors brimming with the best of clothing, footwear, accessories, cosmetics, jewellery, home ware and food – all under one roof! Sure, there were many distractions along the way there, like Motivi’s floral dresses, Nadine’s pretty summer prints and flattering designs as well as Intimissimi’s window display but when I finally made it to La Rinascente, I scanned the ground floor for Guerlain and took a few minutes to single out a hot new KissKiss shade of lipstick; a cerise red – colour 523.
I walked through Via MonteNapoleone pretty briskly, only stopping at the Miss Sixty store to greet my friend, Martina. She took me through their summer must-haves. A collection dominated by bold colours and lots of delicate lace. I walked all the way to Brera where the sunday antique market was in full swing. This time, I even caught sight of the National Library and Pinoteca, an incredible art collection, within the palazzo. My next stop was the Amorino Gelateria 🙂 I paid 3,50 Euros for a medium-sized cup filled with my chosen flavours of natural ice cream: mascarpone and fig, nutella and pistacchio. My seated indulgence here was made even more entertaining thanks to a group of architecture and medical students who sat with me. They were a lovely bunch; a well-spoken Arab girl, a smiley Palestinian guy, a shy Lebanese girl and three Italians from Calabria, one of whom was a mischievous and good-looking guy named Antonio.
I headed back to Duomo through the Galleria where a free-spirited group of youngsters were literally offering complete strangers FREE HUGS 🙂 I watched them spread love and affection for a few minutes before turning my attention to a window dresser at the Stefanel store who was meticulously making up a wall of multicolour flowers in block patterns. I tiny voice inside my head suggested that I wander down Via Torino and pay a visit to the FNAC store – a regular stop on a previous trip when my cousin and I needed to check emails and browse Italian CD’s. Just as well I listened, because singing sensation Katie Melua was right there before my eyes, to launch her new CD in Italy. wow!! – A definite highlight of my day! With two annoying stalkers trailing me, I eventually made it to Cairoli where Napoli pizza topped with tomatoes, anchovies and capers was a salty end to a superb day 🙂