Wednesday 6 May 2009

Milano - 3 days of relaxation

Hello to all my readers out there! Yeah, you, the 2 or 3 I know I have...

I know, I know, it's been like FOREVER since I last posted something but:
1. I've been busy;
2. I wasn't in the mood to write;
3. Preferred to go biking instead of sitting on my huge ass in front of the monitor;
4. I completely hate having to rearrange the text each and every time I insert a bloody photo! Because I have so many usually...

Yep, those are my main reasons for not telling you about the last two trips earlier. If you find it in your hearts to forgive and understand me, thank you. If not, so be it, you wouldn't be the last one(-s?) to hate my guts! But I tell you what: life goes on with or without you! *evil laugh*

OK, enough with the blah-blah, should get to writing about the last two cities I visited before my friend Dan arrives and we hurry to Rome, meaning I'll have another story to write! If you wonder who Dan is, your patience will be needed because I'm not disclosing anything at this time. We focus on the past now! Some might say the past is passed and I should focus on the present, but this is for blogging purposes only! :P

Haha, I'm SOOOO funny tonight! Not!

I shall start with Milano!!

It happened just like before. My new found friend and colleague - Natalia, and I were one day walking during our lunch break and talking about feeling like going somewhere else, for a short trip, just to get away from our boring, yet so complicated lives. It was just a thought... Since I'm crazy and all, the moment we got back to the office, I got on Wizzair's website and discovered that they had awesome priced tickets for trips in the following couple of weeks. I asked her if she wanted to go to Milano and she said yes! We then looked up a hotel and found a very cheap 4 star one, very close to a metro station. Everything cost around 90 EUR for each of us, quite a bargain for a 3 day trip, right? We didn't think too much and booked everything, being very excited about it all.

Next thing I did on the same day (if I remember correctly) was to convince my internet pal Joao to join us. We had never met before and talked about meeting in Rome for the 7-8 February trip, but he had other plans and gave up on Rome. Since he had a friend in Milano, it was easier to decide to come and he booked the tickets quite quickly (for him!). :P

We left on a Saturday afternoon, 14 March, and got to Milano around 5 pm, bus trip included from airport to Milano Centrale, the railway station. It took about a lifetime to get to the hotel by metro because we had many many stops in between the railway station and the one next to our hotel. But we had enough time on our hands. The plan for that evening was to meet Joao and his Italian friend, Roberto, for dinner. Believe it or not, we even had time for a bit of shopping before we met the guys. Yes, I know, shopping again! But we're girls, can you blame us? And we were in Milano! How can someone restrain themselves from shopping in Milano? Plus, there's this Italian shop I just cannot stay away from, it draws me in each time... The bad thing is that I go out with a thing or two every time too... Thank God they don't take a lot of place in my suitcase! *ahem*

As I said, we were supposed to meet Joao and Roberto for dinner and so we did. Judging by the conversations we had had and the exchanged text messages, I didn't expect Joao to be the kind of guy who'd stood me up. But then again, you never know. So until I saw him walking in our direction, followed by a guy who looked very much alike the guy Joao had sent me a photo of, I was a bit... anxious. But then I calmed down and everything went ok.

We went to the restaurant that was very very crowded. People were actually waiting outside for the others to finish and just GOOOOOOO! We were getting a bit hungry, but then the waiter invited us in. The food was good, I had a pizza I could hardly finish, different than the Roman pizza I had had back in December. Apart from the food, we had a good laugh. Both guys were very funny...

We next went to the club part of the town because Roberto knew a nice cafe called 10 Corso Como, with a nice covered terrace. It was a new part of the town or at least it looked new, with a lot of clubs and cafes, loads of people on the street, very lively. I really liked it there and I hope to have more time to properly see it next time I'm in Milano. I must admit I was also a bit stressed about getting back to our hotel when the metro didn't run anymore... But that's me, always stressing, thinking, considering... I need a life!

The next day was for sightseeing. Not that you need a lot of time to see what's really interesting in Milano, but still there are a few things not to miss. You can imagine that I DID miss a few, starting with The Last Supper because the moment we called to book places they were full. Mental note to self: next time, decide to visit Milano at least two months in advance and call for bookings! But instead of telling you about the places I haven't seen, I guess it would be better to tell you about those that I managed to see... Moving on?

Joao was supposed to join us, but since he wasn't up at the moment I texted him, we went to have breakfast and then to visit Castello Sforzesco. The castle hosts an art collection, but the most famous has to be Michelangelo's Pieta Rondanini. The marble statue is unfinished because Michelangelo died and never got the chance to take his work to the end. We couldn't see everything because the first and second floors were closed, only the ground floor was open. This means I couldn't see Tintoretto and Titian... It was unfortunate, but I always see these happenings as reasons to return to that place! ;) But the courtyard was very nice and there was a wedding of little Asian people. They might've been Japanese, but I can never say the difference... Oops! There was also a cat that I found adorable!

It was a beautiful day outside, so sunny and warm! We eventually met Joao in front of Il Duomo and we decided to go on its roof. Of course, my stupid claustrophobia was waiting just around the corner in case I wanted to take the stairs, but I didn't give it the opportunity to show its ugly face, I just took the elevator. The roof of the huge cathedral is interesting because of all the sculptures and because you can actually spend your entire day there, sun-tanning and reading a good book. It's also great for photo sessions, as you will see below... And I love the photo I took of Natalia!

From the Dome, we went through the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II that connects Duomo's Piazza with the Scala Theater. The Gallery is full of shops, especially designer shops like Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, but there is also a Feltrinelli bookshop, so I stopped there to buy a book in Italian.

I was very keen on seeing Pinacoteca Brera because I had read that it contained many beautiful paintings, including Caravaggio and some paintings I knew from childhood because my parents had brought some pictures of them from Italy (by Canaletto). I have a thing for Caravaggio's paintings, I totally adore them! So you can imagine how happy I was when I saw that they had brought three more paintings from the Metropolitan in New York, the National Museum in London and one from the other Pinacoteca - Ambrosiana - in Milano. So instead of seeing only one Caravaggio - Cena in Emaus, I got to see four! Yoopee! Loads and loads of icons. Beautiful paintings by Mantegna, Tintoretto, Bramante, Raphael, Flemish painters (I also adore them!) like Rubens, Van Dyck, Jordaens, then El Greco... Beautiful! It was really worth it!

From Pinacoteca Brera we walked back towards Scala and we managed to see the opera hall from one of the balconies. I don't even want to think what great names got up on that stage and how many of them were boo'ed by the spectators who had the music sheets and could hear any off-key note... It was interesting, indeed... In addition, we saw a display of many very old musical instruments and there was an exhibition dedicated to Herbert von Karajan.

After Scala, we parted our ways with Joao who was asked by Roberto to step in a football game because they were missing a man. We decided to meet again the following morning and spend the time we had left in Milano together. Which we did... The morning passed quickly enough, after a dress searching by Natalia. In the meantime, Joao, who was flying out from the same airport as us, decided to join us to the airport even though he would've had to wait like two hours more. We spent the last time in Milano in front of Milano Centrale, some of us dozing off in the sun... some of us getting annoyed at the timer showing how many days, hours, minutes and seconds there were still to pass until yet another Alta Velocità line, this time from Milano to Torino, would be put into operation... Yet again I remembered the "tragic" project my Italian buddies and us are stuck into... No, we will never have such things... It's like against our religion to take action... We are dreamers and get stuck into our own inability to take a f&%king decision!!!! Grrrr!

I can't say that I loved Milano, but I certainly liked it and I felt good there. I know I have to return for The Last Supper and Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, at least! I don't know when that will happen, but I have a feeling it will not take too long until I'll just decide to book the tickets and just go! It was nice meeting Joao after about a year and a half of talking over the internet about all the things in the world!

Keep close, Florence is next!