“The most important skill to have is patience” -Jack Ma (Founder of China’s biggest e-commerce company, Alibaba group)
I am glad you have the skill to follow my Milan travel experience to this episode. Unfortunately, I failed to exercise the skill before I left for Milan.
If you recollect, I mentioned last week that something surprising happened when I got to the hostel I stayed. The truth is that it was an unpleasant experience;the receptionist politely told me that he could not find my name on the list of guests expected on that Saturday night.
Though my name was on the list, but not for that Saturday night. I was confident that I booked for that night until I checked my phone to confirm the days I booked, and it was actually for Sunday night.
In a nutshell, there was no space available for me in the hostel, as all beds were occupied. I had to accept this fate, move on and find a place to sleep overnight. You know how difficult it could be to book hotel/B&B on weekend in a city like Milan.
Lesson learnt on my accommodation booking: Patience is truly a skill one should master. The travel experience was not only an investment for me, but also a teacher. I did not take enough time to re-confirm my booking with the hotel,unlike how I did with the transport company.
I ended up exploring the centre of Milan all through the night. In every situation, no matter how bad or good it looks, I try to take the best out of it. My best photos of Piazza Duomo and Vittoria Emmanulle II Mall were captured in the night and early morning, when the places were not jam-packed with tourists.
In the city centre, around 2:45 AM, I met new friends who happened to be lovers ( An Italian lady and Egyptian man ) They were in the midst of an argument until the last moment I met them. As fate wanted it, they got along and we shared a lot of stories. I learnt something about love in this experience. It is a very long story, and I think it is better I save it for another day.
I had interesting time with my new friends, the lady was originally from Rome, but she said she had lived most of her life in Milan. She tried to help me get a B&B for a short stay till the next morning, but all effort was to no avail. We had to move around Milan till early morning of Sunday, and they dropped me at the Piazza Duomo.
My second day experience of Pizza Duomo came with some interesting memories that will stay on my mind for a very long time. I got a picture of an old Asian woman, and the capture looks perfectly timed. It has several meanings to me.
The following day, Monday, I wanted to be inspired not only as a
tourist in Milan, but importantly as an interior design student, so I set out for Politecnico Di Milano, School of Design. I was inspired by the environment of the school, unfortunately, I was unable to meet with any of the professors because it was not an open day; but I was able to relate with one of the students. It is an institution that has so much to learn from.
On the same Monday, I bought two souvenirs of Milan for myself. Two emblem keyholders, one from official City of Milan store, the other from a Tabacchi (Tobacco shop) close to the Duomo. The one from the City of Milan store is more expensive, but it is so beautiful.
After an interesting day in the centre of Milan, I set for the hostel I
booked. This time, I got it right and I have a bed available. I took some time to relax and think about what I have learnt so far about Milan. I got some of the moments written, while the most interesting ones live in my soul. That is why I implore you to take adventure, travel! I agree to someone who said: Money fills your pocket, adventure fills your soul.
I was inspired by the story of the owner of the hostel I stayed. The receptionist was off on Sunday and I think it was part of the strategy by the hostel owner to reduce running cost of the business. Bob, the owner of the hostel invited all of us (guests) for drinks, that it was his birthday. While we were drinking Bob told us a little bit of his story and I was moved.
Bob has one hostel each in these big cities: Milan, Paris, Barcelona and Madrid. Bob has no siblings, he lost his parents with his younger brother in auto-crash when he was 7 years old. He shuttle between these cities through the weekend. He said he attends to guests and work as receptionist during the weekends, which was exactly which he did at his hostel in Milan.
Bob was friendly and humble, which apparently might have contributed to the success of his hospitality business. He is an Italian born Egyptian, with Italian nationality, but through the little time we had, he emphasized so much on his Africaness. After a couple of drinks with Bob and other guests, I had to retire to bed before they choke me with the smoke from their cigarettes.
Salone Del Mobile Milano,2017 official opening day was on Tuesday, 4th April and it was a day I have been waiting for, so I left for Rho-Fiera Exhibition centre earlier enough. There is a specific metro train line dedicated for the Rho-Fiera exhibtion centre, the ticket costs €4. I bought the ticket and got to the exhibition centre in no time.
China is everywhere. Right at the exit of the metro station, I was welcomed with a sack bag by one of the promoters of Furniture China 2017, to promote similar interior design event holding in China on 12th – 15th September,2017.
I also received a complimentary anniversary issue of IFDM – IL FOGLIO DEL MOBILE ( Interior/Furniture Design Magazine). I relax with the magazine every evening, and I have been inspired by products and stories of companies and designers in the magazine. I will definitely subscribe for more issues during my summer holiday.
As an interior design student, I got a discount on the one day entry ticket to the event, which costs €22. One entrance ticket costs €30 for general public. It was opened for free to everyone on Saturday, 8th and Sunday,9th 2017.
Since the ticket I purchased gives me only one day entry into the event during the week days, I had to explore every opportunity, possibility and inspiration I could get. After all, that was why I went to Milan.
I started with the furniture companies. I know Germans are the best in engineering, but I never expected much from German furniture company until I went to the stand of Walter Knoll, which was also the first company I had experience with.
Radu, one of the representatives of the company took his time to listen to me, as I explained to him that I am an entrepreneur and design student. He was eager to show me some of their products. He showed me how some of their furniture work, and I even made a video of how one of their furniture was assembled, which I shared on my Instagram page.
“Our standard quality could be compared to Mercedes Benz, who is our neighbour in Stuttgart” Radu said.
Before I parted ways with Radu, we shared contacts and how we could cooperate to bring their products to more homes.
I moved around the pavilion dedicated for furniture manufacturers at the Salone Del Mobile, and I met some companies I have only been reading about in magazines or seeing on TV commercials. The likes of Living Divani, Flexform, MisuraEmme were some of the interior/furniture design companies I had encounter with.
Lighting is another interesting part of design which attracts me. I went to the pavilion sponsored by EUROLUCE and there was light! Being a big name in light manufacturing in Italy, I did not expect anything less, and I was not disappointed. The young man who attended to me, made sure I got satisfactory answers to my questions about their products.
At EuroLuce stand, I saw different kind of chandeliers that could make the blind see, and some are like the mythological Medusa head, which could blind someone who stare directly at it. Ha ha ha!
I also met David Trubridge, a New Zealand light company. I was attracted by the display of creativity in there art theme light designs. I met some Italian light companies as expected, and some from other European countries as well. I have direct contact with some of them, while I only took photos of the products of others.
I had a delightful experience at Salone Del Mobile,2017 with Story of DeLightFul. It was a wonderful experience which words of mouth alone cannot explain. I left the exhibition centre with a whole lot of inspiration. I joined the metro back to Lampugnano where I eventually connected to Pavia for the night.
On Wednesday, I did not do much in Milan, I explored the city of Milan for the last time, took some photos of the city. Oh yeah, I got a photo of the Bosco Verticale (Vertical Forest) from afar. I will try all my level best to get closer to this edifice when next I visit Milan, so that I can get a clearer photo.
I moved around the town of Pavia with my friend who hosted me for 2 nights in the town. I met a Cameroonian and a Zimbabwean lady, both studying Medicine in English and Italian respectively. I admired their courage and I was excited meeting them. They are the kind I call beauty and brain.
On Thursday, 6th April, I woke up and realized that I have gained so much experience within few days, and since I have catch-up to make in Rome, I had to say Goodbye to Pavia, Arrivederci Milano!
He is an entrepreneur, writer, barber and interior designer. Abiodun discusses and writes about entrepreneurship, leadership, business and economy.
He has interest in luxury, art, fashion, travel and technology.
Abiodun is passionate about sport, particularly football (soccer) and boxing.