The Local Tourist In Milan

Sundays in various cities across Europe tend to be quieter than us Canadians are used to. So when I had flown to Florence, and booked a train day trip to Milan on a Sunday, I hadn’t quite thought it through. You see, across my various journeys, I try my very hardest to implement a growing hobby and passion of mine: vintage shopping. I’d love nothing more than to have a closet full of vintage items from across the world one day… I mean, who wouldn’t!

So, on my way to Milan not having done my research on the subject, I inquired with my host when I arrived. He informed me that, Well, you see, it’s Sunday today… and at that point I remembered a particular Sunday in Vienna a couple years ago – where literally nothing was open and no one was around. It was as if the entire city closed down every Sunday.

I sighed. Oh, well, next time, I thought to myself.

And being the type of “local tourist” I am – which might truly just be pure laziness – all I had to create my day in Milan was a set of verbal instructions from my host, and a blinking blue light on my iPhone map (sans wifi). So I wandered around relying mostly on my inner map to guide me, passing many barred, closed-down shops which confirmed my host’s assertion, every so often looking at that blinking blue light to see where the heck I was in relation to the capital letters that mark (supposedly) the center of the city: MILAN.

I was out of the center by this time, and started to wonder if perhaps I was making a mistake. Maybe I should have done some research. I passed a cafe on my right, and decided to stop in, ordering an “un cafe” and a bottle of water, asking politely for the wifi code (always an embarrassing task) and settled in for some on-the-spot planning. I attempted to download a travel app, which quickly frustrated me. Again, I found myself resorting back to my map.

I noticed a body of water not too far from where my blue light indication told me I stood, and though I wasn’t sure whether it was a murky pond or a glorious river, I decided it couldn’t hurt to check it out. When I arrived, I stumbled upon the most marvellous thing I could have ever wished for, and generally the type of thing you must do your heart’s content of research to discover. An entire, completely vintage market, set along the edges of the modest body of water that had first intrigued me to the area. I almost died of a happy heart attack. There must have been at least a hundred vendors, and hundreds of people, with thousands of antique knick knacks and beautiful vintage clothing.

I left the crowded market with a giant smile on my face, yes for the beautiful vintage Italian made, pastel bluish-grey trench I had got my hands on, but also for something much more powerful.

This came as a sign to me that being an unprepared tourist is perfectly okay, but moreso, that when you’re happy and thinking right and on the right track and feeling good, life just has a way of working itself out.

Oh, but I forgot to mention. This vintage market? It takes place in Milan just once a month, precisely on the last Sunday of each month.

Coincidence? I think not.