Thursday, 8 February 2018

Couchsurfing in Milan

Dublin, Ireland

Following my post after seeing Call Me By Your Name in which I divulged my desire to travel somewhere for the weekend I visited Milan last December. Was it planned? Not entirely, the desire was there and when I started my study for Christmas exams, I knew I wouldn't want to be around the stressful exam season energy, I also didn't want to be cooped up in my house so I decided to go away to Milan.

I chose Milan for the main reason that it was quite cheap to travel at the time with Ryanair for just under €30. As it wasn't entirely planned in advance there was only so much I could do and I also needed to study for my exams while away without spending all my time cooped up in a house in a different country.

Therefore I decided to Couchsurf. It was my second time Couchsurfing following my time spent in London and just like before, it was a very memorable time I spent there.

I could travel the world alone and visit every place you see on a postcard but for me the times I've enjoyed my travels the most are the times I've met locals who have been able to show me around so I could experience their city just like a local. Which is why I think finding the right Couchsurfing host for you makes all the difference when it comes to using Couchsurfing. I wrote down a few tips I've used to find all my great hosts so far which you can find here.

Due to the length of time I had to plan the trip and the fact that the weekend I travelled was the beginning of the Christmas season in all of Italy, a time where most people leave cities like Milan to visit family, finding a place to stay was not...easy. However I stuck absolute gold and arranged to stay with two CS hosts, Michele and Sophie.

Within the three days and 4 nights spent in Milan, we shared a little small adventure after finding out by coincide both hosts lived in the same complex but had never ran into each other! From there most of our excursions were spent together.

Milan as a city is not a place I would've enjoyed if it had not been spent with these two individuals speaking Italian and English constantly. I returned to Ireland with my brain on Italian mode. It's quite similar to Dublin and definitely a competition for the cold ( I had to buy heated hand pads in Tiger on a snowy walk because it was so cold!). As a result there's not much to do in terms city that would've entertained me were I alone. But throw in Michele with his many friends we kept running into and some company for breakfast, lunch, dinner and Coldplay tribute bands and have a holiday like none other.

I enjoyed taking in Michele's vast knowledge of Milan and it's history. I arrived with no itinerary and Michele filled each day we had together with knowledge, tasty food and fun activities together. I even met a few other Couchsurfers because of him. We went to a gallery exhibition, explored Eataly and Milan's shopping districts, ate lots of Ciobar ( that's chocolate pizza and hot chocolate for free! ), went ice skating and even saw flamingos, in a private garden, in Milan at winter time! I also ate a lot of crepes!

Sophie introduced me to the Korean drama Goblin which took over my life once I returned to Dublin and I'd recommend it to anyone. She's also a great walker so we enjoyed a lovely evenings walk in Milan whilst it snowed and enjoyed some Aperitivo which is amazing cost saving idea where you pay for a drink and enjoy and all you can eat buffet for as little at €8 in some places. We went to Mas along The Naviglio Grande canal and paid €11 for a feast that was both delicious and filling. The restaurant was quite generous with their alcohol portions too.

Returning to Dublin was bittersweet as I truly was enjoying my time there and o also didn't want to sit my exam. However I'd done the work and needed to put it to the test, literally. In hindsight I think it's always a good idea to plan your trips a bit better before going to a different country and I'm lucky to have had such great hosts to fill in the time.

I'll be returning to Milan again to better explore it's countrysides and the snow covered mountains I could see from where I was staying. I think this trip was so much more about the people I met and speaking the language I love so much. Without Couchsurfing I'm not sure how memorable and experience it would've been and yet we did so much I still feel like I'm forgetting something! I also miss having Michele's photography skills to utilise! 

Have you visited Milan before? What did you think of it?

Let me know below in the comments.

Till Next Time


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