I’ve been having a long term love-affair with Sephora ever since I step foot in the huge-ass Vegas store in the Venetian hotel last year. It was my most enthralling shopping experience to date and as soon as I know I’ll be visiting somewhere that houses a Sephora, my heart melts just a little bit.
Having researched where the Sephora branches were in Milan, I found that there was one in Milan Central Station, a very short walk away from my hotel. But upon entry to the station, I was drawn to the high ceilings, huge windows and marble floors. How could a station, something so domestic and mundane, be so beautiful? Then I realised I was in Milan, Italy, not quite the pigeon ridden London tube-stations I’m accustomed to. Anyway, I didn’t find Sephora in the end and just took it as a sign from the universe to stop buying make-up – definitely time to ‘stop my stash‘.
I wasn’t actually sure of my plan for the day so I decided to of the city sightseeing tours on those ‘hop on hop off’ buses. Having done these in New York and Rome, these are a great way to see a city if you’re short on time. It was €22 for a 24 hour ticket and came with a map, discounts for attractions and you could use all three of the sightseeing routes. Not to keep comparing it to London (but I’m gonna because it’s all I know), a daily travelcard is around £9, a weekly one around £40… so it really hit home how cheap it is to get around in Europe. Not only that, I noticed some solo travellers too; it definitely made me feel more comfortable in myself that solo travel doesn’t equate to loneliness.
Fortunately – it was a beautiful warm and sunny day and I soon regretted bringing all black clothing, I don’t think I’ll ever learn until I get a stylist. But I did have my sunglasses to hand, which allowed me to do one of my favourite hobbies – people watching, in peace. What can I say – I completely understand why Milan is the fashion capital of the world. Everyone (apart from the obvious sock and sandalled tourists) possessed an air of grace and elegance from their body language to their finely tailored clothing. Everything just seemed so effortless. Maybe this is something for me to bear in mind when I next go clothes shopping… not everyday Primark, sometimes Prada (with my Monopoly money of course).
I got off at the Duomo again and for some reason I was still determined to find Sephora (I probably gonna name my future daughter after this shop), until I came across the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. I have never seen something so grand and opulent and it’s a shopping centre – Stratford Westfield, please take note… But you know what really ticked me off about walking around the Duomo, the amount of traders trying to sell me selfie sticks, phone chargers and weird bracelets. They’re kinda like the promoters walking around Leciester Square on a Friday night trying to entice me into their sh*t nightclubs. I get they’re trying to make a living but please don’t continue harass me when I say ‘NO’.
After walking around and exploring Milan all day, I was hungry, tired and ready for bed so I headed back to my hotel to do a few of my favourite activities in life: eating and chilling. When I checked in, they asked if I wanted to join the IHG membership programme and it would give me 20% off the hotel restaurant for the duration of my stay. I happily obliged, signing over my e-mail address to a flurry of spam all in aid of a cheaper meal…
I couldn’t wait to eat, so I ordered the steak and happily tucked into all of the bread whilst waiting for my main. The good thing with eating alone, I don’t have to be conscious about what I order (you know those friends that make you feel that tinge of guilt… ugh). The steak was SO good, albeit a tiny bit salty for me, but it was so tender, tasty and I could slice through it like a lightsaber going through butter. It hit the spot. After my overindulgent meal, I came back to my room to take part in activity number two: chilling.
Hotel showers are a godsend, somehow after a long day of exploring, one long shower leaves you feeling renewed and refreshed. Reflecting on my day in Milan, it was kinda like I had a free day in London but actually did something worthwhile instead of sitting around waiting for life to happen (it’s easy to get caught up in this cycle).
Milan is a beautiful city, full of history, culture and great food. I would seriously recommend a visit if you don’t want to visit somewhere too touristy, not only that – as a lone female traveller, I felt completely safe. This was definitely something I took into consideration when booking my first solo trip. I don’t think I would have wanted to be in Taken 4…
What I learnt from travelling solo is how much I take myself for granted – sometimes I get complacent, bored and compare myself to how others are doing and get down about it. What I really need to do more is congratulate myself for having the freedom and ability to do things alone in the first place when a lot of people would never dream or have the opportunity to do so. So in the midst of my quarter-life crisis (season two), travelling alone really helped me get away from everything that had been grating me over the past few months and much like my hotel shower, I came back home feeling refreshed and renewed. Who knew all I needed was a getaway?
I would definitely travel solo again, as travel gives me everything I need to get back into my rhythm of life, perspective and purpose.