Published: March 18th 2009March 4th 2009
Up On the Roof...
And so, we end our European travels, almost where we began a year and a half ago, in Milano.
Within days of our arriving in Poland, at end of September 2007, visiting Milan was our first venture. At that time we had not perfected our tourist skills, and missed seeing one of the most important sights Italy has to offer, da Vinci's The Last Supper. We really did need advance reservations!
I figured that we should make up for this faux pas, and we decided to exit Poland by way of Italy. And I just about panicked when I could not get tickets to see the painting, by telephoning the museum. We only had a two days available to be in Milan, before we flew home. With luck on our side, I contacted a recommended guide, who was able to get tickets for the time we needed!
Leaving Krakow was quite bittersweet. The people we met are unforgettable, especially knowing that we may not see many of them again. Our life as expats, was unlike anything we had experienced. But, the movers came in and packed all of our little souvenirs up and off we
go to Milano!
It was a very quick trip -arriving late one evening and out after 35 hours. But seeing the da Vinci's painting, and standing on the roof top of the Duomo was a perfect way to end our travels.
Just in case you don't already know, the painting is in the dining hall of the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Of course, now, it is a climate controlled-viewer controlled-museum. 25 people are allowed in the room for 15 minutes. This has been determined to produce the least humidity, thereby helping to preserve the very fragile surface. Restoration was completed recently.
I am at a loss to describe it. Masterpiece. To look at the apostles, and imagine da Vinci sketching their expressions, their gestures. He catches them in the instance they hear from Jesus, that one of them will betray Him.
Fifteen minutes spent in this room, is much too short a time to have it all sink in. As we walked to the back of the room, the painting became part of the structure. This technical perspective, his rendering of the vanishing point, at this time in history was an accomplishment only a few
others had mastered.
Since we had hired the guide to get us in the church, we were also able to see the La Scala Theatre opera house, another Milan-must-see, that we hadn't toured the first time. What a beautiful place. Elegantly draped in velvet, and gilded in gold. There was an engagement beginning that night, and the stage was alive with the crews setting up.
The cathedral was being cleaned in the fall of 2007, and had a cover across it's front. Today, it is gleaming in the afternoon sun.
Up on the roof of the Duomo there were endless places to snap pictures. That morning, the roof had been closed to visitors, because the sloped surface was icey. During our lunch at the restuarant next to the cathedral, we could see people walking around. A short climb up to the top, and we were among the spires of this huge church. Something like 3000 figures adorn the cathedral! There was a wonderful atmosphere, being among the stone figures that have looked out over Milan for centuries, from their perches on top of the spires.
Another tourist custom that has been fun, is the practice
of touching, rubbing, or even kissing the local "good luck" statue, or plaque, or what-ever. Here, it is a picture of a bull on the mosaic floor of the Vito Emmanulle galleria. The little bull has a divot where his balls should be. This is where you place your heel and spin for good luck! Needless to say, with all the changes our life is about to take, we spin and spin till we are dizzy! We did this back in 2007, and sure enough, we have enjoyed good luck, so far!
True to Keith's nature, he has us scheduled to depart Italy for our long trip home, at the earliest available fight. That morning I see him toss his boots into the waste basket. He has worn them out, he says a new pair are in order. I don't think he will come close to wearing out the next pair.
...we are on our way home...
There are more photos below