Shopping Centre Milan Style
Our first stop in Italy was Milan, well known for its extravagant fashion and was an amazing way to start in Italy.  We arrived at our hostel which was incredible.  Ostello Bello is easily the best place we have stayed to date, when we checked in we weren’t even allowed to put our bags upstairs without a welcome drink.  After enjoying a cold beer we checked into our room dropped our bags and set out to explore the surrounding designer boutique shops.
Church by Night
After doing a bit of window shopping we returned to our hostel for an Italian tradition known as Aperitivo – essentially our hostel was doing free food when you buy a drink, and this pasta tasted pretty good for free pasta!  I have said all along that the best part about the trip has been the people that we have met and there have been a lot.  In this hostel it was not possible to sit by yourself if you tried which I loved!  We met a couple of American guys who were teaching and studying in Metz in France, as well as a Canadian Girl teaching in London and a Kiwi travelling around Europe it was fantastic to listen to all of their stories and get to know them a little bit.  We quite literally spent hours trading stories over a few beers and getting to know these people and that was fantastic.
The next morning we enjoyed a free breakfast at our hostel and then set out on a self guided tour of Milan.  We started at the Cathedral in the Duomo, a magnificent building and apparently one of the most spectacular in Italy.  Inside the Church is amazing decorative art and sculptures, and spectacular stain glass windows.  From there we found a well known Italian bakery, Luinis, to enjoy some of their famous Panzerotti these had a particularly different taste, and they smelt like a donut but inside were filled with Mozzarella and Tomato.
After our Panzerotti experience we continued onto the famous Monte Napaleone district that is known for high fashion and the prices in some of these shops were enough to rival even the highest tier in luxury fashion I was most surprised at a document wallet (for travel documents etc) that was more than what we paid for a round the world ticket.  That was incredible.
Peace Gate
We continued past the Milan Opera House and headed into the Parc Semboine which was situated behind a remarkable castle, complete with draw bridges and what I am pretty sure was once a moat.  The castle was interesting, and the gardens were certainly beautiful and peaceful when we weren’t being bothered by people trying to sell us crap.  At the end of the gardens there is a ‘peace gate’ which is quite similar to the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.  This gate can trace its origins back to Roman times where the gate (then referred to as Jupiters Gate) controlled an important supply route for the Roman Empire.
After evading the crowds of hawkers and enjoying the sights in the park we headed to a local Italian place for lunch before heading to the convention centre area to check it out.  Sadly this was not what we were expecting and after spending a while finding the centre it was fair to say we were disappointed.
After returning to our hostel we took the chance to finalise some more of our European travel plans and catch up on news from home before meeting a couple of our roommates.  We were staying in a 6 person dorm and we were sharing with a Canadian girl, Melissa, and a couple of American guys Stefan and Ben as well as a Japanese traveller, Yuto.  That night we also met another Australian guy, Myles who lived in Melbourne and was doing a bit of travel in Italy.
The Church in the Duomo
Halloween is much bigger in the states than what it is in Australia, so the Americans convinced us that a night out to celebrate one of the years better holidays was in order.  We rustled up what we could costume wise, and while they didn’t match those of Sonny and Cher (Stefan and Ben) they were enough to get into the Halloween spirit.  We spent quite a while drinking in our hostel before we headed out to check out some of the night life.  We wandered around the city for a little while before deciding exactly where to go (a few wasted cab rides may have also occurred) before we decided on Club Banque.
Our Halloween Party!
This club was supposed to be popular and was supposed to be quite good however unfortunately the idiots they had guarding the door had decided that if you couldn’t speak Italian you weren’t getting in and threw one of our friends out of the line.  Fortunately one of our friends spoke Italian and was able to ask why but when the bouncers decided no he decided to at least tell them where to go in Italian before we had to leave.   While we were out we decided to get a few drinks at a nearby bar, we tried one place that wanted 50 euro for a half bottle, and that was enough to put us off.
The Castle
So we returned to our hostel and had a few celebratory drinks with the locals who had made their way to our hostel as well as our fellow travellers.  Not the night that we had planned but we still had a great time sharing stories and getting to know all of our new friends.
After a surprisingly good sleep and some post drinking breakfast we decided to head out and do a bit of shopping, until we caught the train to Venice.
Highlights:
The Hostel we stayed at was so cool!  It was great to meet so many different people from so many different parts of the world.
Relaxing in Milan, exploring the Parks and Gardens, seeing the sights and seeing all of the designer shops and boutiques.
The funnier things I saw.
There are dodgy sales people everywhere in Milan who will try and sell you ‘friendship bracelets’, sell you bird seed to feed pigeons or when it starts raining try and sell you an umbrella – even if you already have one!
The Gardens at Parc Sembione
Final Word:
Great city! Loved Milan!  Were a little disappointed we didn’t get to see the last supper painting because you need to book however I would love to come back and spend more time in the city, especially at the Hostel.  Easily the best we have stayed in to date.

 

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