Milan

I went to Milan using direct flight from Merignac Airport Bordeaux to Milan Malpensa Airport. I didn’t plan to spend much time here. Therefore, once i arrived in Milan, i went straight to Milano Centrale Station and deposited my backpack for about 12 hours. It was not even one day, only 12 hours before i departed to Verona. How could i experience Milan for only 12 hours? Lets start the clock now, on 5 pm in the afternoon.

My intention was to hang out near city centre where my hostel was, Ostello Bello. I booked this hostel because i saw a piano in the its photo. The piano was the thing that made me click the ‘Book’ button. Ostello Bello may cost a bit more compare to other hostel, but dinner and breakfast were included. To reach Ostello Bello, i took a metro from Milano Centrale Station to Duomo Station. It was astonishing to walk up the stairs and to see Duomo Cathedral as my first sight in Milan, welcomed by “Love Yourself – Justin Bieber” sang by street musicians in the centre of Piazza del Duomo. Such a perfect combination.

Ostello Bello was not far from here, it was 15-mins walk via Torino. The receptionist was very friendly. She did not only welcomed me with sweet smile, but also accompanied me to my room and introduced me to my roommates. Something i never experienced before in staying in a hostel. With her introduction, i had a dinner with three lovely ladies from Finland, US, and France. It was really easy to mingle with people in Ostello Bello, mostly because of its staffs made sure that everyone felt comfortable and went extra mile to introduce people around. Soon, our table was full of people from Germany, Turkey, Switzerland, France, and many more.

Over dinner, i found out that tonight was the Supermoon. We decided to walk around city centre to catch a glimpse of it. After walking a while, we ended up in Duomo and found the Supermoon, but it was not as “big” as we expected. I was sure the “almost” Supermoon in Bordeaux was bigger than this Supermoon in Milan. We laughed at it and walked back to hostel.

We continued our adventure back in the hostel by getting to know each other more over two bottles of red wine. We talked about where we were from, what we did for work, why did we travel to Milan. Then, the conversation went to our experiences, like working in service industry, being a songwriter, and so on. Yes, one of them was songwriter and signed by international music agency. The highlight of the night was watching him singing and playing a guitar for his masterpiece song, “Flawless Imperfection”. Unfortunately he wrote this song for a live performance, but not released for recording. I wish i can share this with you. It was a personal song for him and it was such a privilege to listen to this song directly from him. It was a great closing for the day.

The next day, we sat again for breakfast. But not all of them, only Sarah, Chris, David, and I. Sarah was a lovely lady from Seattle (US), Chris was the songwriter, and David was the one from Germany. We planned to visit Ilona’s store; Ilona’s was the one from Finland. She was working in Finland before her boss asked her to manage a store in Milan. She welcomed us warmly, took us around the store, and got a coffee for each us. We chatted a bit about her plans for her shop and a contestant from X Factor UK which apparently from Finland. Then, we said goodbye to Ilona and thank you for the coffee and her hospitality.

It was noon and just three of us left; Chris, David, and I. Sarah didn’t make it to Ilona’s place, but as a spoiler, her story didn’t end here. All of us had a spare afternoon and we decided to have lunch then explore the city. We had lunch in a sandwich place near Garibaldi, explored Piazza del Cannone, and walked all the way to Milano Centrale Station. That’s when i got to know both of these gentlemen a bit more.

David (write: Davijdowicz) works in travel agency in Frankfurt, Germany. He is originally from Italy but moved to Germany since he was a kid. He speaks English, but not very well. Sometimes, Chris need to be a bridge between both of us. David would speak in German and Chris would help to find the right word. He came to Milan to watch a soccer match. We talked about a lot of things. Like how Frankfurt’s residents are so proud with Frankfurt Airport. We discussed on what are the factors to determine an impression of a city, like the first people we meet and the weather. If we found people who was kind, fun, and we were able to connect with that stranger, we undoubtedly would fall in love with the city. But, if somehow, we found people who was impolite and unhelpful, we would not have a good impression with the city. He knew a bit about South East Asia, like Bali, Singapore, Bangkok, and popular destination places.

Chris came to Milan from Berlin for work, to find inspiration to write songs, funded by his agency. He studied music for one year, scouted by his agency, and now become full time songwriter. He started  with classic piano during his childhood. I think he plays other instruments, such as guitar for sure, but i don’t remember the rest. We asked him some artistic questions. Like which one is more interesting for him, writing lyric or music? He answered, writing lyric. Do you want to be a singer? No, i prefer writing song. How is it like to be a songwriter? Its different than day-to-day job, i need to be aware all the time to find inspiration. Who is your favourite singer? Sara Bareilles. Why? She writes music with her vulnerabilities. He later on recommended me to read a book wrote by her, “Sounds Like Me”. It was indeed a good recommendation.

We also talked about our cultural differences; Asian vs. European. How Asian and European somehow age differently. How we couldn’t guess each other age, perhaps because we don’t get to see how Asian/European age in each of our own countries. As the conversation flew, i felt that every time i went somewhere, i became Ambassador of Asia or Ambassador of Indonesia. And, otherwise, they became Ambassador of Germany. Each time we spoke, we enriched our knowledge about the world.

What was more interesting was how we explored the city. Chris walked in the city a day before us, so he knew the road more than David and I. We found “hidden gems”, places that had different vibe than Milan trademark – fashion city capital. In some moments, he said, “Lets stop here to appreciate and feel the place. Its amazing.” Indeed, we stopped for a while, following his advice. By doing this, i remembered most of the moments i spent with them, i never wrote Milan in my travel journal, but the story still stick with me after four months. In one intersection, he asked us, “Which way we want to go?” I answered him with another question, “Which way you haven’t go yet? Lets go that way.”

We stopped by Mediaworld to buy soccer ticket (i use soccer to clearly differentiate soccer and American/Australian football) for David. But, he couldn’t buy it there. Later on , he shared that he managed to buy the ticket in the stadium. He sent a picture to us and the match ended with 0 – 0.

Our adventure was ended by a dinner in McDonald in Milano Centrale Station. We said goodbye to Chris first as he need to catch a flight back to Berlin. And, David was kindly accompanying me to buy a train ticket to Verona. I was a bit confused with the ticket machine because i was not able to find Verona Porta Nuova Station. He was really helpful with his Italian language. He then dropped me in front of Luggage Service. Thanks, David!

So, what can happen in 12 hours? A lot. I was lucky enough to meet bunch of people who made my whole 12 hours in Milan amazing. Thank you and i hope to see you all again someday.

Last but not least, have a good day, everyone! See you in “Verona”! 🙂

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