Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Quickstep through Milan
We hit Milan pretty late. Caught the bus from the airport to the central station and then a taxi to the hotel, the ABC Hotel. The location was good and central, the hotel itself looked pretty sketchy from the outside (just a small sign in a row of industrial looking buildings). When you finally wind your way through the buildings to the hotel though, it was pretty nice. Breakfast served in a nice little bar area with a great patio/terrace type thing.
It was late and we were hungry so we headed out looking for food. There was a ‘sinese’ place across the street but we decided to pass that up. Turned out to be a bad idea as every where else was closed. Even the Chinese when we went back was closing. After we wandered for a while we found a nice hotel and asked them. They directed us to Navigli. This worked out b/c I had heard of Navigli and wanted to go there. This is supposed to be a happening nightlife spot and a good spot for apertifos.
We did find our way there but everything was closed there as well. We found one restaurant that would sell us some pre made sandwiches. Nothing without meat though. I bought one but zach had to pass them up. That left, I am ashamed to say it, McDonalds. What else would you want to eat in italy but Micky-Ds? They aren’t kidding about the difference in sizes though; the medium coke I got was maybe 12 ozs.
Woke the next morning and enjoyed the hotel breakfast in the garden terrace. It was a very nice spot and a great way to start the day.
Our first stop was the Duomo. This thing was amazing. There are a few pictures but they cannot capture how vast and beautiful the building really is. It is one of the things that I feel my life is richer for having seen. It is amazing what people will do for their gods.
We tried to find the Bellini gallery but ended up wandering around lost for an hour or two. Milan is the economic center of Italy. The joke being that it is the only place any body does any work in Italy.
We eventually found the big castle park thing (If I had internet access I would look up the name but I don’t). We ate a surprisingly good sandwich from a vendor outside the castle. We headed in and wandered through a couple museums that they had inside. Saw a great, well preserved mummy among other things. There was a half finished Micheangelo statue that was really interesting as well. Only one leg was fully finished, the rest of the statue was roughly sketched out. You could see gross details such the nose and eye sockets but it was still very rough stone. Great to see into the artistic process like that.
After we felt cultured enough, we decided to head back to Navigli for some apertifos. The first place we found didn’t have any so, after a drink, we ended up wandering again. We did find a great pastry on the way. We eventually found a nice bar on the side of a canal well away from Navigli. Turns out, there were doing apertifos too. They had a spread of good food from small bruchetta types to pasta to kebabs to salads and more. All of it was pretty good too. Buy a drink and get free apertifos from 5 to 9. A fella could get used to this.
Wandering around that day and sitting there that evening, I realized why Italy was forced to pass that model law. If you hadn’t heard, they passed a law saying that models had to be at least a certain weight. It is still a pretty low weight, IIRC it is 105lbs or something. When I heard of this, I thought it was kinda dumb. But seeing how many women in Italy were so, so thin trying to emulate these models, I begin to see the need for such a statement.
We eventually wandered on to a hip spot near on the way to our hotel. It is a shell of a bombed out church that has been made into a city park with restaurants and bars all around it. We stopped at one of the bars and met some localish types. (They were half brit but had been in italy for a long time). They were lawyer types and liked to argue so we spent a bit of time in discussion. They did talk us out of stopping in Genoa on the way to Cinque Terra though.
Eventually, we headed back to the hotel. Milan was quite nice. I don’t think you need much more than a day and a night to see what you need to see though.
We woke the next morn and had a breakfast in the garden again. We had realized we had no pics of the Duomo from the outside so we headed up to get some on our way out. One thing I hadn’t noticed the day before was the 100 ft skeleton laying outside in the square. Not sure what the deal was about that, it was basically human but had a pointy nose. Quite odd.
We rushed to the train station but just missed the train. Another leaves in 2 hours so we got tickets for that one. About this time we realized we had lost a hat and book so we headed back towards the duomo. Most likely place was the café we had stopped in, so we went there. Luck was with us and we found our stuff. Now we were back at the duomo with an hour or so to kill so we wandered through some major shopping center. Milan is a shopping mecca. These were all 5th ave type posh shops.
Zach had missed the hotel breakfast so we went looking for food. Everything in the shopping center was too posh. We ended up seeing down some side street a huge line of people waiting in line for some pizza type shop. I wasn’t even hungry but I had to see what the fuss was about. It was Panzerotti, which is more or less a folded pizza, similar to a calzone. I had a spicy Italian sausage and it was excellent.
We headed back to the train station and wandered through some gem/stone shop. Some great carvings there. They knew it too, many were thousands of euros. Eventually our time came and we hopped the train to La Spezia.