March 18, 2013

Milan doesn’t really do ‘corner shops’ (and I like it.)


I promise I am not dissing London but recently I’ve been having city-envy. I don’t know if that’s a word but that’s what I’ve got. I’m not one to diss being British either, I am very very proud of the things we have: Pippa Mid’s bottom, the scone, the crumpet, Michael McIntyre. But sometimes when compared to our European counterparts we often look like a bit of an uptight old bunch, getting an extra grey hair every time we leg it to the tube whilst slurping our coffee-chain latté and tapping our Blackberry’s.

This weekend I went to Milan. I knew it was going to be an atmospheric city, full of coffee shops, loud transport and busy people. But it had a different vibe. A bit more chilled out. On Saturday evening, me and Polly (one of the bestest girls I know) went and had aperitivo at a busy bar near her flat and ordered cocktails. There were people milling about on the streets in large groups and everything was noisy. The difference was, it wasn’t lads out on the town or girls wearing shorts that reveal 95% of their bum cheeks but people genuinely just having a grand old time, fully clothed, and better still, they weren’t drinking WKD blue.

I looked around me in the bar and yes it was boozy, but far from the horrors of Bravo’s Booze Britain. Instead of flashing ambulance sirens it was just the flashing of the cheap key-rings the street hagglers were trying to sell people at their tables. I asked Polly, who is currently residing there, if there was a corner shop for us to pick up a bottle of wine on the way home. Milan doesn’t really do ‘corner shops’ and I quite liked it. It had class. I got some gelato instead.

The streets were full of people barging you out of the way either. It was busy but not in a ‘me first’ kind of way which is what I’ve been accustomed to here in London. Polly was also telling me the supermarkets are shut on Sunday’s and Italians normally shut down for a few hours in the middle of the day too. This would totally suit me, days where it’s OK to completely shut off and go into Sunday hibernation mode. It’s also nice to feel relaxed in a restaurant or a cafe. In London sometimes I feel like the minute you sit down in restaurant they are planning how to quickly get rid of you so they can get the next person in. Talking’s not really allowed if you’re not ordering another drink. I didn’t feel like that once. I know it’s a selling point that London is always moving, I often wonder what it would be like if the city took a big puff on a giant inhaler and chilled out a little.

I’m off to Florence in a few week’s too and I can’t wait to go back and have another taste of Italy (literally: hello pizzeria). I don’t want to moan about London, there are so many things I love… but sometimes it’s nice to not be in such a mad rush.

No Responses

  1. Sascha says:

    Really? Wow, I’m glad my former home town made that impression on you! In the two years I lived there, I often felt that I had to drink my coffee in two minutes, standing up at the bar, while all I wanted was to sink into a nice, soft Starbucks sofa with a huge latte. I spend quite a few afternoons like this now that I live in London!

  2. I love Milan…and I especially love aperitivo bars!

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