General News

Milano Pt. 1

Day 1:

Arrive in Milano 7pm after rising in Koh Samui at 8am the day before. A trip of few highlights. Delays due to sandstorms. Some surprisingly yummy airline food. Bangkok airport has some treats for travellers. In particluar a thai store that sells thai products (and the odd german beer in 1L cans) at street prices. Bangkok doesnt have ridiculous liquor laws like Australia, so you can buy a beer and rather than being treated like a criminal for that offence, you can walk around the airport sipping and savoring it like a free man. So much better and weirdly no one was trashing the place or throwing punches……….

So, 7pm in Milano. Time for some good cheap eats a shower and 10 hours sleep. There was a little bar come restaurant next door, so we popped in there for pizza any topping 8 euro and spaghetti al ragu 6 euro. The pizza was a frozen pre made base with spaghetti sauce and cheese microwaved with shaved ham placed on top afterwards. The spaghetti was out of a tin and microwaved. It was worth the 6 euros to watch the waitress trying to carry and juggle the hot bowl to the table. Welcome to Italy where you will find some of the worst food in the world. Id forgotten our house rule from our 2014 trip here. Only order food you see before buying and always ask how much (pricing is fluid in Italy, if you just order they will hike the bill). Sigh…….

Day 2:
 An early rise and downstairs for a 9 euro all you can waste breakfast (i hate waste. Its one of my pet hates, so the all you can waste breakfast always annoys me. Im at one now writing up yesterday and people around me have taken far more food than they could ever eat and half of its destined for the bin. I said to Robin they should weigh the plates when you are done and add uneaten food to the bill.) Anyhow, priorities are easy at this point. COFFEE! So, I ask the lovely Italian lady in my best Italian for two cappuccinos. She smiles and directs me to a machine that adds powdered milk to hot water mixed with a shot.

Italian Cappuccino….


And, i got another reminder. Some of the worst coffee in the world is in Italy. Australia is blessed in that we have access to fresh milk. We have this wonderful product available everywhere and I think we have forgotten how wonderful it is. A proud Italian/Australian friend of mine (chef/travel writer) tells me Australia rules the world in milk based coffee. I think hes right, but the Italians own espresso and macchiato. Anyhow, back to my cappuccino. I pointed to an espresso machine right beside her and said hopefully “Cappuccino?” No. ☹️. Damn. Anyhow, i got my crappacchino and went to the buffet. Nice cheeses, sweet treats, fruit but it was a slice of prosciutto that restored my faith in Italy. Time to hit the streets.




First stop a winebar (which wasnt open) near the Castle in Milano. A very cool young guy was talking shop with a rep and sipping an espresso. Cappuccino? I said. He said, we arent open. Im a sommelier, not a barista. But, if you are patient, I’ll make you one. Im just slow. Perfect! Id only just said to Robin people who love wine always understand coffee. I wasnt disappointed. He nailed it. A true lifesaver! It was a bit slow though. Coffee pricing in Italy is based on where you drink it. A table seat is dearer than a spot where you stand. So, i got charged 2.5 euro for a table seat. Doh! Anyhow, he delivered. Then, a quick tour of the castle. Amazing place.

Then, a quick look at some local cars and the church (what an amazing thing to build 700 years ago) then off to Peck. Peck is a grocery store come bottleshop. Maybe the best of both in Italy. Maybe…….


The bottleshop has a massive array of large format bottles and wines by the glass. We shared a sparkling a white and a red then went upstairs to the outstanding produce on offer


Huge olives from puglia, massive dark cherries, saturn peaches (so delicious) and black figs. Just beautiful. This store is not for the faint hearted. The pricing is liable to cause heart palpatations, but if you want absolute quality they deal with it daily. So, we bought handfuls of this and that and went for a siesta leaving a bottle of moscato to chill in the fridge.

So, 8pm back on the streets. Its pretty busy. The church is lit up. The winebar is rocking serving what we would call tapas for 2 euro (3 for 5 euro) and wine by the 100ml, 200ml and 750ml. A perfect place to wind down and pretend canned spaghetti never happened………

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