Monday, 9 January 2017

Italy- Milan

We arrived at our hotel early in the morning after a long tiring journey. We stayed at Hotel Terminal chosen for its location near the main railway station a monument to fascist architecture. Breakfast wasn’t provided but we found a little café a few doors away where we could buy a typical Italian breakfast at a very reasonable price.

As our room wasn’t ready we left our bags at the hotel and explore the city. My mobile had frozen I had tried to fix but nothing seemed to work and I panicked as I might need it for hotel confirmations etc. I bought an Italian brand smartphone placed my SIM card in and all was OK, except it was not an easy phone to use.

After lunch we then went to the Duomo, the third largest cathedral in the world and took three centuries to complete. The interior is impressive, and has an altar made entirely from silver but compared to the gold altar in the Santiago de Compostela in Spain it was ‘plain.’

We then climbed the stairs to the terraces, the view from the roof is magnificent, being up high close to the flying buttresses and columns with their intricate carvings and statuary is awesome.
On the terrace of the Cathedral

We walked around the main square and not surprisingly security was everywhere. We visited the amazing Victor Emmanuel Galleria with its high-end boutiques and restaurants.

We then returned to our hotel to have a rest and shower. We then found a restaurant close to the hotel for dinner.

Castello Sforsco
The next day we were refreshed and ready to explore more. We were unable to find the market we were looking for and ended up close to the Castello Sforzesco one of Europe’s most elegant Renaissance residences was built by Viscontis in 1368 then later rebuilt by Francesco Sforza it is now an extensive museum and has an amazing collection of instruments. It is astonishing the wide variety of stringed instruments that have been developed over the centuries from a wide range of places. There many artistic exhibits also. The huge building backs onto a beautiful park.

We headed back to the centre to see if we could buy opera tickets for La Scala for this night as Mozart’s Magic Flute was being performed. I suppose it was not surprising that all the reasonable priced tickets were sold out. Just as we left the ticket office a guy offered us tickets in the gallery for €60 each, a good markup for him considering the price on the tickets. We paid the ‘scalper’ as they were considerably cheaper than any of the ones available over the counter. I only hoped they were legitimate.

In the afternoon we went to the Pinecotteca Brera which has one of Italy’s most important art collections. It has 38 rooms with works arranged in chronological order. Though not massive like some of the major galleries in the world. A smaller gallery is less overwhelming and you have more time to appreciate the works of art.

We returned to our hotel before going to the opera, a few hours later, refreshed we returned to La Scala and had a pre-theatre snack at the restaurant next door.

I was relieved when we were ushered to our seats, our tickets proved valid. We enjoyed the performance but one aspect of the production wouldn’t have passed muster in Australia, England or U.S.  The protégés of the ‘Queen of the Night’ were ‘blacked up’ as primitive African natives. Not a good look.

We went to the Naviglio district with canals designed by Leonardo Da Vinci still I use. It is a very pleasant are with an array of restaurants and shops. On the day we visit there was a ‘Trash & Treasure’ market in full swing.
The Grand Canal Milan

We had an enjoyable lunch then went on the grand-canal boat ride very relaxing. We then popped into the Basilica di Sant’ Eustorgio which was built in1462. On the left wall can be seen material about the miracle of the healed foot!

Hazy Lake Como
We had a day trip to Lake Como, unfortunately George Clooney wasn’t there to entertain us. We had an enjoyable day anyway. A boat trip around the lake, then a ride on the funicular for a panoramic view of the area. A great lunch, then back to Milan. To get ready to leave early morning for our trip to Monterosso.

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