This trip has been absolutely wild. I was in Milan from December 26th to the 28th.
I never shy away from living out of a backpack. The military has made me perfectly capable of it, and I’ve learned to pack efficiently.
So I began this trip on Christmas night. Thankfully, my night flight went smoother than the one to Barcelona. I even forgot two different things, and had my father circle back to the house to retrieve them. Meanwhile, he kept laughing that I’d miss my 9 P.M flight 😅.
I arrived for a 7 hour layover in London at 9 A.M, where an uncle (Jyoti) picked me up. Considering the 6.5 hour flight, from EWR to LHR, I was pretty jet-lagged. (Time zone changes are weird, bruvs.)
Jytoi Uncle hadn’t seen each other for approximately 20 years, but social media is a beautiful tool for connecting individuals far and wide. We stayed in touch through my Instagram and Whatsapp!
After my layover (7 hours) and a hearty Indian lunch on December 26th in London, I took my next flight to Milan, Italy to begin my journey.
Milan exists as a fashion hub, a metropolitan with combinations of various cultures. English was commonly spoken and it caters to a wide variety of cultures. I stayed in a hostel called Ostello Bello Grande. There’s actually a couple Ostellos: mine was near the Centralé Railway station. It costs about 8 Euros to grab a bus from Malpensa Airport to Centralé.
My Italian isn’t the best at all, so I mostly relied on English and Spanish. I had to explain a bed mix-up to a housekeeper, entirely in Spanish. We were able to figure out that someone else was sleeping in my intended bed, so I was adjusted to a nicer one in a 5 bedroom suite. (This was probably one of the nicest hostels I’ve had the pleasure to stay in, and it wasn’t too costly. Definitely shop around on Hostelworld.com.) I also had the pleasure to meet a married couple named Joel and Isabel (from Texas) who are traveling around all of Italy!
The next few days, I explored. I walked EVERYWHERE. It was really shitty when I realized that I forgot my Ultraboost sneakers and would have to walk around in my heavy Timberland boots. Though stylish, these things are essentially cinderblocks strapped to my feet.
Something weird did happen (which honestly always happens in my life). There was this guy who walked into the hostel room and cursed at a John Muir quote, painted on the room’s wall.
He introduced himsef as Sam, and he was kinda drunk and angry. I’m in decent shape, so I wasn’t too concerned. (But I did remain cautious of any sudden movements.) At one point, he asked me if I read a book called The Beach and talked about a suicide at the end. He said, “Now I understand everything”. Trying to make light of the situation, I asked him where he was from. He responded, “Fuck you, that’s a fucking insult. Why does it matter where I’m from?”
As you can imagine, I calmly grabbed my things and went downstairs to the front desk. I told them about Sam, and all details of what happened. Thankfully, everything was settled. Sam still slept underneath my bed, but he gave me no trouble.
All in all, I loved Italy. But I personally think I should’ve gone somewhere other than Milan. While a beautiful city, there really wasn’t all too much to do after Christmas.
Some tips. Download offline Google Maps. Try to find a cheap international SIM card. Cash is preferred. Duolingo Plus is a good investment for learning basic sentences and words in foreign countries, to truly immerse yourself. Practice offline, during the course of a flight. (Google Translate is a solid option as well, though it may take some time to decently converse using it.)
I apologize for any font issues, or alignment. I’m writing this while awaiting my next flight, in 6 hours 😂.