After seeing the Last Supper, described in Part 1, I planned on going to check into the hostel I had booked for the evening. However, I walked a few blocks, and noticed to my left, in the distance, what appeared to be a park. I decided to walk there and check it out.
It was the Sforza Castle and the surrounding garden, built for the Duke of Milan some 500 years ago. The garden is now a large public park.
Here’s a panorama of the front, but you’ll have to click it for the full size version.
A few more pictures:
Behind the castle, there was a large arch. (Arch of Peace, built in the early 1800s. Many wars occurred after the Arch of Peace was built).
After viewing the castle and garden, I went to the hostel and checked in. Hostels, for those who don’t know, are sort of a combination of a hotel and a college dorm. They are targeted towards the college age and twentysomething crowd. You can get a bed for anywhere from $15-$50 per night, depending on how expensive the city is, and stay in a dorm room with several other people. They do exist in the US, but they are very common in Europe. They are a good way for young people on a budget to be able to travel. The other nice thing about it is that it’s possible to meet other travelers due to the shared rooms and social atmosphere. The negative about it, obviously, is that you have to share your room – and I typically am somebody who likes my space, so I didn’t know how I would like it.
This particular hostel, called “Ostello Bello Grande” (literally, “big beautiful hostel”) was sort of the Cadillac of hostels so I thought it would be a great pick for my first time in a hostel. They have a free breakfast as well as a free “apertivo” buffet in the evenings. Apertivo is basically the Italian version of happy hour, but it includes food instead of drinks. It’s an unlimited selection of lighter fare like pasta and vegetables. They also have a bar, a rooftop patio, a game room, and a large kitchen so that you can buy food and cook if you want to save money.
Below is the room I stayed in. My bed is in the lower right. Note the locking drawers under the beds… this is where you keep your things so nobody can steal them.
I went for a walk in the early evening around the city but returned the hostel for dinner. I sat quiet for a while but eventually I met several other travelers. I met a guy from Mississippi, a few girls from the East Coast of the US, a guy from Turkey, two guys from Germany, and a girl from China. We stayed up talking until relatively late and shot some pool.
Later, I went to bed. I didn’t know if it would be hard to sleep with people making noise, etc, but it wasn’t a problem. I did get awakened a bit early in the morning because some of the roommates had flights to make.
In the morning I had breakfast and checked out. I went to Milan’s Duomo before leaving town. See part 3 for more. As always check out my Flickr for more photos – it’s accessible from the menu in the upper right corner.