Kaffee Klatch

Little of this, little of that...from an avid coffee lover and wanna-be world traveler.

Location: Houston, Texas, United States

Would knit all day if my fanny and my hubby didn't get so sore.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Giornali Milano Finito

April 18

Only one more day in Italia. Can't sleep, can't rest, gotta catch a train! Had seen Sandra the previous night in hotel restaurant and she wanted to trek to Milano with me...brave girl! So we took the bus into Voghera and bought tickets. Luckily the train was 10 minutes late.

Sandra wanted to shop a little, so we headed on foot toward the guidebook's suggestion for inexpensive shops. No Gucci or Ferragamo this trip - ha! We walked for a good 20 minutes and window shopped a bit. But as we neared the shops (at least I think we were near), perhaps she thought we had too much walking still to do, so she said let's see the Duomo.

On the way, we strolled by La Scala, where Salieri (Mozart's infamous rival) reigned supreme and composed the inaugural opera. Next we entered the Galleria Vittoria Emmanuele II, a colossal glass roofed shopping arcade (okay we window shopped a bit more). Lunch at McDonalds was really, really crowded! Then we watched all the soccer fans parading with Italian & Spanish flags (I think Madrid won).

Around the corner, the Duomo soared above the city like a huge wedding cake with hundreds of spires and statues piercing the sky. It was truly the most magnificent sight on the entire trip. And the inside was every bit as impressive, like walking through a forest of marbled columns as large as redwoods.

My main goal in Milan was to see the Santa Maria della Grazie and Il Cenacolo or the Last Supper by Leonardo DaVinci. I knew that you had to order tickets in advance, but just felt I had to try. Miracle of miracles, as we were catching our breath from the walk to the tiny church, someone came up and said (in English, no less) that she had extra tickets for the next showing since her tour group had last minute cancelations. WOW!

We didn't even know if we had time to see it, and the tickets were $20 each for a 15 minute viewing! I offered to buy Sandra's ticket, since I felt she was more dubious than I. So 20 minutes later, we walked through the vacuum-sealed foyer into the darkened room and listened to the guide (an extra from being with the tour group) and watched as the lights came on. It was amazing to see something alive that you had seen in photographs, books, and framed posters your entire life. And that a poorly-done fresco (not even properly prepped) in a tiny monastery refectory has received so much attention all these years. All I can say was it was pretty cool to be there.

While we were waiting to go in, I asked about buses or metro to get back the stazione, so we made it easily to the Metro but how to buy tickets? The information desk was extremely helpful and so was the nice Armani-suited businessman who told us which stop to get off. Took us about 8 minutes to return from our 3 hour walk. Next time, I won't listen to those people who said the metro is dangerous. It was so worth it to get somewhere quickly. I didn't feel any less safe than in the Paris metro.

Ted and I had our own cenacolo at the hotel with a glass of champagne followed by a stroll about town. And at 6:30 am, my driver arrived to deposit me at the airport. Such a relaxing end to a hectic (and self-imposed) schedule!


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