Earlier this year, myself and Jack Alexander took ourselves on a mission to Milan to photograph, video and overall document the city plus a handful of models. It’d would’ve been incredible to document the whole trip entirely with a Planet Earth II, David Attenborough style Voice-Over but this time round, we’re hopeful words will suffice. So only, expect some slightly helpful guide information, cool snaps and fun-filled adventures getting around an untravelled city. Honestly, this will not be the most comprehensive post, as the few days we were there didn’t allow ample time to explore the more traditional tourist attractions of the city but we ventured out and there’s a little compilation video at the end to tie it all together. Right then let’s begin with…
Nandos, where better to start? Yes you heard right Nandos, a casual breakfast or some might say “humble beginnings”. Just think “5AM Gatwick airport with a Nando’s breakfast? Legendary!” Feel free to check out the Nandos Gatwick breakfast menu here, they’ve got quite a few dishes to fit all the dietary requirements and if you look carefully at the image, you might just spot the addition of a portobello mushroom and half an avocado from their “eggs-tras” section. That’s enough about that but “woiii”, it was nice.
Accommodation in Milan
In most countries and major cities you can always find great accommodation, the hard bit is finding those secret quirky places to house you for your stay. Besides, not all hotels, hostels and villas are listed on the internet let alone Airbnb, usually for ease my personal favourite at the moment is Travel Republic, they have great low cost holiday combinations, hotels and deposits. Somewhere fast was needed but despite this fact, shopping on other sites was more advantageous and advisable. ALWAYS look for deals and voucher codes that could be lingering about on social media and or voucher code sites etc. Think about it, just as much as you want a roof over your head during your stay, hotels need to find humans alike to put beneath them, so someone or someplace, somewhere will be offering some sort of incentive. In the end we snapped up this small hotel via Bookings.com called Hotel Royal and it served its purpose, breakfast and decent WIFI. This got us through our day, especially for downloading basic offline navigational information and allowing updates to ‘The Weekly Digest’ ;).
Best Travel Apps
When it comes to navigation, technology can either be super useful or utterly useless. Of course Milan isn’t the jungle with zero sight of network cell towers, so apps like Google Translate, Duo Lingo, City Mapper, Maps and Easy Jet’s App to name a few, are ridiculously useful. Learning basic phrases and words “Hello”, “Take Care” “Goodbye”, “Thank You”, “Sorry” “Excuse Me”, “Can you give me directions to” etc. are paramount went venturing to unknown territory. Also more times than none, when a local citizen sees that you’re trying hard to speak their language and struggling, the effort alone will have them laughing but going the extra mile and pointing you in the right direction. To be honest this happens frequently and you’ll always find people who speak English. On top of this doing even a few stages on duo lingo helped and anything you hear day-to-day from locals but don’t understand can be found on google translate, which also has an incredible photo feature where if you hover over an available language like a receipt or even in some cases a hand written document, it will translate it before your eyes. Thankfully enough data has been collected with transport app City Mapper, which proved to be a god-send and got us out of some sticky situations when lost and sometimes without data.
Milan’s transport system is one to get used to, when you’re so familiar with the contactless and Oyster systems in the UK, it wasn’t something we researched heavily beforehand but was definitely different and something to rapidly get used to when throwing yourself at a city and wholeheartedly relying on your phone (bearing in mind we didn’t catch any taxis, trains, metro or ride bikes.) In Milan, *Milan AMT* are solely responsible for the transport network and also responsible for BikeMi, (there own version of self service city cycling – think Barclays Boris Bikes / Santander Cycles) for us the Bus was our Uber everywhere, even to and from the airport. It was that easy and in hindsight, before any trip to Milan get to know the ATM website / app (one we missed out on). Within three days of practise on the app, no doubt you’ll have your way with the city, knowing the ins, outs and best routes to take when getting around.
Don’t worry, Nandos wasn’t a thing when in Milan. Your local Supermarket becomes Carrefour, this was the spot to stock up on supplies, water, dry foods and sweets because there was no fridge in our room. This didn’t stop us from feasting on Milan’s finest, hands down, possibly one of the best dishes I’ve had, had to have been at Pasta Eat.
If you ever get the chance to go there, DO IT! You won’t be disappointed, the experience is left up to you and less words here. Really you’ve got to try a pasta dish and that’s exactly what was done. Real Spaghetti Bolognese. If there is ever a return trip, this place is getting an instant booking. Just when it comes to the next day, go light and treat yourself to a Gelato, (the Italian word for Ice Cream) life changing.
I’ll leave you with this, it’s definitely interesting to cast your mind away from being a tourist and completely putting your mind into a creative frenzy, so featured below are some of the highlights of the trip. To check out some of Jack’s Portrait collection across Milan peep over to his Instagram here, featuring the likes of Alexandru Gorincioi and let’s not forget some boomerang shots from myself!
Justice wouldn’t be served correctly if finishing off this post went without mentioning the art of talking to yourself (an audience) on camera. It isn’t the same as on Snapchat, or like any other social media stream where your content disappears straightaway or after 24 hours. It takes serious skill and or confidence but here is our trip in a 60 second nutshell… Ibiza post next up.