Here is where I once again ponder as to whether early flights are worth it…
Yes – You get to your destination early and make the most of your trip.
No – The flight may be cheap, but the cab to the airport isn’t! I could have got a coach or train down the night before but that’d equate to…
So much tiredness – the constant yawning, not really knowing what time it is leading onto confusion and disorientation.
Fast forward to the last Thursday in April, my solo adventures to Milan started off with as much drama as you can get. I left home around 4.45am (super early, I know) for my 8.20am flight and things were all going smoothly until my lovely taxi driver went in the wrong direction. You cannot turn around on UK motorways meaning we headed towards Cambridge instead of Stansted airport in Essex. Thankfully, as I’d left early and I was only carrying hand luggage only (first time ever!) I still had time to kill before my flight.
After going through security and have a quick browse of duty-free, I headed towards Giraffe for breakfast as the queue was short and it was nice to avoid the champagne bar and Wetherspoons for once. The breakfast was surprisingly good and it gave me time to catch up on news before checking the departure boards for my gate.
I don’t mind Stansted airport at all but I can’t help feel it’s a little cramped with holidaymakers spilling out of shops and restaurants eager to get to their next destination. However, you just have to remind yourself it is about the destination – not the journey (unless it’s a cruise or road-trip!).
I can only describe Ryanair as organised chaos; for some reason it seems that everyone loves to run to the gate and be the first to get on the plane. Why? I really don’t know – everyone has an allocated seat, so why the rush? I’m quite sure there is plenty of room for baggage, so please find some semblance of relaxation! After the mad rush to get on the plane (I had a window seat yay), we soon took off towards Northern Italy, bound for Milan.
All in all it was such a pleasant flight, only taking 1 hour 30 mins and I managed to have a quick nap to with my headphones in playing Lemonade all the way.
I’m actually really embarrassed I’ve never travelled with hand luggage only on short trips before, instead opting to bring half my wardrobe with me. Wittling down what I actually need liquid-wise for a few days in a small 20cm x 20cm clear plastic bag was easy enough as I always keep a hold of minis and sample size products. I knew they’d come in handy one day. I think the best thing about travelling light was not having to faff around at the baggage carousel – it was a simple case of grab and go!
I’d researched before how to get from Malpensa airport to the city centre and as I was trying to keep this trip cost-effective (Yes I know I took a cab in London ugh), the Terravision coach was only €14 return. The journey took around 45 minutes in total, with the final destination being Milan Central station and according to CityMapper, my hotel was less than a 5 minute walk away.
As I wheeled my suitcase along the narrow Italian pavements, I was actually proud I’d made it so far without losing any limbs or myself in general. It was just such a good feeling to be away from all the stresses of London life – even if it was only for a little while.
Arriving at my hotel (Crowne Plaza City Centre, Milan), I noticed there was a metro station (Sondrio station) right underneath it as well as a bus stop. I knew I’d be using both throughout the course of my time in Milan. Check-in was very smooth and I was soon opening the door to my room reminiscent of MTV cribs…
I really liked the decor in my room and the artwork theme running throughout proved I was in the fashion capital of the world. I chilled in my room for a few hours after as I needed to charge my phone and freshen up before going exploring.
Tackling the metro was a little confusing as my Italian is terrible (Why I have a tattoo in Italian, I don’t know) and all I could do was stare at the ticket machine before almost giving up. Luckily a little boy was behind me and saw me struggling with the ticket and showed me what to do. I was amazed at his kindness and kept repeating ‘Grazi’ in return. Getting around in Milan worked out really cheap as single tickets were only €1.50 (roughly £1.20 depending on the exchange rate) meaning that this trip was going to work out pretty cheap.
Within 15 minutes, I was at the Duomo (Italian for church) and as I exited the station I couldn’t believe how stunning the building was. If you’ve ever been to Barcelona, it might remind you of some of Gaudi’s work. I would love to visit early in the morning before the crowds (and the pigeons) or in the evening when the daylight gives into the night. But as I’d mentioned before – are early starts possible on holiday? For some, definitely, but I will always find it difficult.
Anyway, after taking in the magnificent Duomo building, I did a little exploring around the side streets as well as some shopping (I picked up some bits in Kiko and Bershka). Can I also just mention how LOVELY the weather was – it was around 18C, which may not sound hot but if you live in the UK anything above 15C is positively glorious. I had seriously overdressed, wishing I’d worn dresses and sandals instead of jeans and a leather jacket.
After a good few hours of exploring, I headed back to my hotel to chill out, watch some Netflix and most importantly…
I conked out around 10pm (tired as ever) and was so glad to have some alone time and thinking space. Reflecting on my day, I had confirmed to myself that travelling solo was one of the best decisions I’d ever made. Whenever I told people my plans to go to Milan, the first response was ‘Who are you going with?’… which re-confirmed my thoughts on doing things alone in general. Sometimes you just have to do it for YOU.