28 June 2012

Team P’s Italian Adventure: Milan

Imagine you’re in paradise. Like, say, the Cinque Terre.

And now imagine that you have to leave.

I feel ya, Mr. P. I, too, had a major case of The Sads. (Oh, and yes, that is ALL of our luggage for two weeks of international travel – one suitcase, one backpack each. High five for not being burdened with luggage!)

The Cinque Terre was near the end of our fifteen-day Italian adventure, but we did have one more short visit before heading home: Milan! Which, by the way, is pronounced mi-LAHN. I mean, you know that. Unless, perhaps, you live in West Tennessee, where I grew up, and where there is a town pronounced MEY-lin. I mean, who’s to say which is correct!

(mi-LAHN. mi-LAHN is correct. Please do not humilate yourself by saying “MEY-lin, Italy” at an embarrassingly old, should-know-better age. Not that teenage me would know anything about that.)

Milan is not a particularly touristy city compared to our previous stops – it seems to be more function over form, as one of the major business and banking centers in Italy. So, we only planned to spend one afternoon and evening in Milan, before flying back to the states the following morning.

We did fit in some sightseeing, though, mostly centered around Milan’s Sforza Castle.

The huge citadel of a castle houses several museums, but we only walked around the exterior areas inside the fort. They were still impressive and beautiful.

Also beautiful was the park around the castle. Because it was a Sunday afternoon, many families were hanging out in the park, lounging or biking or playing sports or letting children. It was so charming! I also had to make sure to snap a photo with my beloved green hydrangeas as soon as I spotted them.

You can also see the Arco della Pace nearby, which is a triumphal arch that... has something to do with Napoleon. And maybe the city walls? I forget. Hey, it was a long honeymoon with even longer recaps.

After spending a relaxing hour or so around Sforza castle, we sauntered down Via Dante to the Milan Duomo, the largest cathedral in Italy.

(Did you frown thinking that couldn’t be right, forgetting again that St. Peter’s is in Vatican City and not Italy? That’s okay. I still do that sometimes.)

As it was a Sunday, Mr. P and I chose to celebrate Mass there that evening in its gorgeous main nave:

I felt a moderate amount of Catholic guilt for saying to the ushers that we were there for Mass but then taking photos, so I don’t have a great photo. But trust me, it’s a stunning church. The paintings between the columns were banners that separate the central nave from the side aisles.

Adjacent to the Cathedral is the Vittorio Emmanuel II Galleria, which is an arcade with lots of shops and restaurants. Many were closed (Sunday, remember) but I loved it all the same for its late nineteenth-century architecture:

While in the Galleria we made sure to stop by the mosaic of the Turin coat of arms, which features a little bull. We’d heard that it’s good luck to stand on the bull’s testicles (?) and spin around three times (???). Odd, but okay! Until I saw the mosaic for myself:

Oh my gosh that poor little bull. I let him be. He needs the luck, not me.

We did head on through the Galleria to La Scala opera house, another big tourist attraction in Milan, but that was the extent of our Milan sightseeing. Still, we felt like we’d seen everything we needed to see in Milan, after just a few hours. Although I should note that we skipped one of the biggest tourist draws to Milan, da Vinci’s Last Supper, because it seemed to be a bit of a hassle to see it with the booking far in advance. Also it is falling apart and sad.

However! That’s not to say we didn’t enjoy seeing Milan; it’s just not a place you’d spend days and days exploring. Furthermore, Milan showed me that, if I were an Italian, I’d almost certainly be a Northern Italian. Rome is nice, but the crazy gets to me. I could live in Type-A Milan; I couldn’t live in Type-B Rome.

Oh, but before I sign off, there’s one last thing we did in Milan:

That’s a GROM gelato shop. We tried GROM in Florence, then discovered it was a chain, and subsequently GROM’d our way across Italy. No, really.

There’s GROM in Florence and in Venice. Alas, GROM is only in New York in the states. And they will not ship their delicious gelato to me. Yes, Mr. P contacted the company to ask.

I miss you, GROM. And I miss the ancient ruins everywhere in Rome and the beautiful architecture in Florence and the crazy navigating in Venice and the downright perfection of the Cinque Terre. I don’t miss paying for water at my meals or the pervasive lack of air conditioning or the transit strikes, but... yeah, I miss just about everything else.

But now, I have the edited photos and the written recaps and many, many hours of reminiscing while writing these posts.

And with that, it’s time to get back home and back to normal. Thanks for coming along on the adventure!

If you are for some reason interested in seeing more of our honeymoon, say because you are planning a trip for yourself, or perhaps because you aren’t, Mr. P posted a huge collection of videos from our honeymoon here.


Christal said...

Say, I know someone that lives a stone's throw from NY. And has an inflatable bed. Just sayin'.