@Adesola.au here 🙂
If you have been following @bellanaijaonline for the past couple of days then I am sure that you would have seen all the wonderful things I got up to while I was in Milan, Italy for the past couple of days all thanks to @KLM and the @Dare2Dreamng Initiative.
I had the opportunity, alongside winners of the Dare 2 Dream Milan Experience – Tolulope Balogun, Cordilia and Khossie, to visit the beautiful city of Milan for a couple of days. The idea was to absorb the culture and appreciate one of the most artsy and fashionable cities in the world.
We left Lagos on Wednesday, 23rd of November, and I have to tell you that the flight from Lagos to Amsterdam and them Amsterdam to Milan were the smoothest flights I have ever been on. Even though we were in Economy class, we got to enjoy KLM’s special “Economy Comfort” section with more leg room, comfy chairs and the amazing service from the air hostesses. Before we left, all thanks to Arthur, we got to enjoy the KLM Lounge at the airport while we waited for our flight.
The three D2D girls had a videographer documenting their trip and experience, so it was fun to watch him shoot the “perfect” scenes.
This trip was a lot of firsts for me – first time flying with KLM (and I loved their unique safety video for the Royal Dutch Airlines); first time in Amsterdam (yes, even though it was just the airport, it counts); first time in Europe , and first time in Milan, of course.
Milan is full of historical sites, museums, good food, and above all it is famous for its arts and fashion. So you can imagine how excited I was.
We got to Milan on Thursday, 24th of November, and for the first couple of hours, I did my best to settle into my room at the Carlyle Brera Hotel at Cosmo Garibaldi before I stepped out to join the Dare 2 Dream team at the Natura Donna Impresa Expo happening at Via Dante.
Kinabuti, which birthed the D2D initiative, was having an exhibition at the expo for a couple of days so we spent quite some time in this area.
Thankfully the Via Dante area was quite lush with high-end stores, fancy restaurants and I think I even spotted a club. The amazing thing about Milan is that you can walk almost everywhere – well, I did that for the first two days till I got blisters under my feet lol. Then it was time for Ubers and Taxis.
On my first day, I generally took things easy, walked around to observe my surroundings and stuffed myself with coffee because of the cold.
On Friday, 25th of November, we kicked things off with a trip to a fashion agency in Milan for the girls to learn a few modeling tips as well as for them do an interview for an Italian radio.
After the modeling agency, we headed to the ongoing Photo Vogue Festival where Nigerian artist Azuh also happened to be showing. The photos were absolutely amazing, and photography books that was sold too! I also stumbled on an interesting book called “African Catwalk” which basically had photos from the African fashion scene including LFDW, Mai Atafo’s collection, designer Deola Sagoe and more.
The D2D girls also got the chance to do a quick lookbook shoot for Kinabuti with the gorgeous photos in the background.
After the Photo Vogue Festival we headed back to the Natura Donna Impresa as the Kinabuti team was doing a presentation on their Dare 2 Dream initiative. Francesca and Catherina, of the Kinabuti team, also received a grant to help them finance their philanthropic services in Africa.
On Saturday 26th of November, the plan for the day was a photo shoot with the D2D girls and international photographer Filippo Mutani. We visited quite a number of places for the shoot including the park and a city gate called the Arch Della Pace (which means Arch of Peace). After the photoshoot, I went exploring some of the retail shops around my hotel and copped myself a fab pair of shoes.
In the evening I went back to the Natura Donna Impresa to have some fun with the D2D girls as we explored Via Dante and got to watch an Indian dance train pass through.
Sunday 27th of November, which was my last day in Milan was my absolute favourite day in the city.
I hung out with personal shopper @ruthymilano and her family and they showed me around Milan. First we went to a beautiful picture perfect park with the autumn leaves on the floor and Ruth gave me a couple of tips on how to take the perfect photos.
Next we went to the Sforza Castle. It was built in the 15th century by Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan, on the remains of a 14th-century fortification. The castle now houses a museum and is a tourist attraction.
After, we went to have lunch at a homely little Italian restaurant at the Duomo. I wanted to try Italian pizza; Ruth and her hubby made sure I had the best pizza ever. It was so yummy.
The Piazza del Duomo is in the heart of Milan and after lunch we took a walk through the Duomo mall and visited the Milan Cathedral called “Il Duomo di Milano”. Fun fact: the cathedral took nearly six centuries to complete!
I got the chance to let the pigeons eat out of my hand, but I have to admit that I was a bit scared (not a lot, ignore the screams in the video).
Milan is famous as one of the fashion capital of the world. And the best shops are just around the Piazza del Duomo. The very luxurious Via Montenapoleone and Via Della Spiga are just a 15-minute walk from the plaza. The La Rinascente is just beside the cathedral. No need to get a taxi, buses or trams. You just need a pair of good walking shoes to go shopping. Going to buy your first Gucci or Louis Vuitton bag or souvenirs to bring back home? This is the place to be.
The Yellow lined streets are the middle-priced zone. Famous trendy shops like Benetton, H&M, Zara, ALCOTT, Mango, Bershka, Celio, and Stradivarius are all lined up in these streets. The La Rinascente is just beside the Duomo. It’s a 7-storey department store and has a wide collection of cosmetics, designer’s clothes and shoes, home furnishings and souvenirs.
On the last floor, there’s a scenic bar and restaurant facing the marble spires of the cathedral, a sushi bar and a gastronomy market.
At the mall I also got to partake in a little tradition. There is a bull on the floor with a ball at its tail and it is believed that if you spin three times on the ball, whatever you wish will come true. I gave it a shot and – fingers crossed – when my wish comes true I will let you guys know.
Soooo…there’s this belief, that in the Duomo Square on a bull, if you go round there times on the ball whatever you wished for would come through. It worked for @ruthymilano so I decided to give it a go. Can you guess what I wished for? Sorry I can’t tell you ?#BNxKLMDare2Dream #BNTravel #KLMDare2DreamMilanExperience
After the visit to the Duomo we visited a new district in Milan, the posh Corso Como and Porta Nuova Milan neighborhoods. The district had so many skyscrapers and stunning urban infrastructures that are changing the skyline of Milan.
There was so much to see from the 10 Corso Como store which stocked high end brands to the Unicredit Tower, the Piazza Gae Aulenti (which is famous for its art installations, water features and a sculpture by Alberto Garutti that has 23 golden “trumpets” which provide an audio connection with underground sounds – so cool) and Milanese architect Stefano Boeri’s innovative “Vertical Forest” building that involves two residential towers and over 900 vertically planted trees.
It was a beautiful experience.
After our outing at the Porta Nuova, Ruth, and my special tour guide Mr. M dropped me back at the hotel so I could start packing for my early start the next day but on the way, they showed me the Cimitero Monumentale which is one of the two largest cemeteries in Milan.
Apparently, the Cimitero Monumentale, opened in 1866, is 250,000 square meters (YES!) and there are so many famous graves there. Designed by the architect Carlo Maciachini, it was planned to house a number of small cemeteries – for individual families.
The next day, Monday 28th of November, I was up by 3AM and out of the hotel by 4AM to catch my 6:30AM flight to Amsterdam and then a 1:20PM flight to Lagos. Again, the flight ride was super comfortable. I watched three movies on the plane and had so many cocktails *wink*. The air hostesses were super accommodating and kept bringing snack after snack for us.
When I got to Nigeria, I immediately started to miss the Milan weather which I adapted to pretty quickly but I was also excited to tell my family all about my fun trip.
Special shoutout to KLM and D2D for making it happen and of course, much love to BellaNaija for giving me the opportunity.
Next stop…Dubai? Rome? Venice? I’ll let you know 😉
Ciao for now!