22.6.06

Stag Weekend in Milan

It seems like ages since I wrote a blog entry. I went away for another recharging week to the Isles of Scilly (intended to write a new piece about that), then had a hectic week in the office, then had a less hectic week followed by a stag weekend in Milan.

Milan was cool. I’d taken the advice of a friend and, as best man, spent a great deal of time pre-planning bars, clubs and arrangements for the weekend. Unfortunately, none of the major stag companies cover Milan due to an apparent lack of daytime activities so I had to work out flights, accommodation and excursions for ten people. In the end we were booked up under the assumption of being a conference party at the Hotel Mediolanum, a contemporary styled budget hotel in the Piazza Della Repubblica area. The receptionists there could not have been more helpful, they were very good indeed and our conference ‘deception’ meant we were treated with suitably business-like respect. The hotel bar was decorated with buffet food every evening which provided a welcome bit of free sustenance.

On Friday night we took in a few bars along a pretty, totty-adornded street call Via Brera. None of these were exceptional but those of us who were more adventurous found some better places later that night. We elected not to do much at all during the day itself on Saturday to keep the budget manageable and hangovers in check so ended up visiting the Duomo for a cultural fix and a wander round the stunning shopping districts gawping at the designer displays (both on the mannequins and the streetwalking models). In the Piazza around the Duomo they had set up a giant screen to show the football on. On Saturday night we headed out to Corso Como and Corso Garibaldi where a few of us had been the night before. We started at a bar called dotcom I think before heading to Pixel where we were well looked after by the hostess and then (for a few of the group) to Loolapaloosa. The rest of us took in a few other drinking spots before moving on when 3am singled an unexpected closing time. Earlier we’d started off watching the football (Italy-USA) in a restaurant called dot com (I think) which was wholly intentional to soak up the enthusiastic local atmosphere.

On Sunday we took a wander up to the park and then into the Duomo area again for a last dose of totty-spotting.

I used my HG2 guide to pick out the hotel and despite finding some awesome restaurants in there we decided that it wouldn’t be possible to be a complete ‘Hedonist’ on the budget we were on so ate elsewhere. Despite this book being an excellent indicator of the types of things possible we didn’t end up taking in any of the more classy joints – even 10 Corso Como got ‘forgotten’ in the descending alcoholic mist of Saturday night. I would thoroughly recommend this book and have already got it in mind to pick up the other guides in this series for future events.

If you’re planning a stag weekend in Milan, drop me a line and I’ll point out the places we should have gone to. Although, to be fair, the ones we did attend were well worth it.

A few pointers though: Take insect repellent as the city is full of mosquitoes. Take decent clothes and shoes as everyone is impeccably dressed – or at least makes a very Italian attempt to be so – and you will stand out like a sore thumb if you’re pale, overweight and clothed for an afternoon in Norwich (which I’m not and I wasn’t). As a rough guide, rounds for 10 of cocktails cost €100 (£69) and, like the rest of Italy, you can eat very well if you chose a good restaurant, for under €40 (£28). We flew into Linate on easyjet which was delayed both at Gatwick and on the return leg. The total cost of flights and accommodation for one person was £236.61. Finally, take a positive attitude, everyone in Milan was up for a good time and stunningly beautiful women are willing to talk to you, despite your evident lack of Italian, simply because you’re likely to have a wallet full of notes and an intention to spend them.

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