Sunday, October 11, 2009 - Milan tourist day

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October 11th 2009
Published: October 11th 2009
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After a busy two weeks of eating, drinking, and traveling, we crashed last night and slept over 8 hours, very unusual for me (less so for Jennie). Making a late start, we toured around a small area of Milan with our friends Kristine and Mike. Unusually for us, it was a slow casual stroll. We started at the Duomo, more properly Santa Maria Nascente, a beautiful cathedral in downtown Milan. It is the fourth largest cathedral in the world (if you somewhat erroneously include St. Peters basilica as a cathedral), the second largest Catholic cathedral in the world after Seville (if you more correctly keep St. Peters out of the list), and the largest Gothic cathedral in the world (regardless of what you do with St. Peters, and provided you are willing to consider it Gothic since it is actually a mixture of styles with Gothic only being the most predominant). It famously took 500 years to complete, and there is a saying in Italy "Fabricca dal Duomo" (making the Duomo) used to describe a very long and difficult process. The outside is resplendent in Candoglia white marble, but the inside is is somewhat dark and gloomy, and frankly not very beautiful. Most of the light comes from dark stained glass windows, and the main nave is flanked with hanging dark paintings. The exterior is as beautiful as any church i have seen, but the interior would not inspire me to religious fervor or devotion. When we first got to the Plaza dal Duomo, we came upon a group of people singing "Blessed Assurance, Jesus is Mine" in Italian. It has spent the rest of the day with me as an earworm.

A few feet away is the entrance to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a spacious mall finished in 1877 with a two glass arched vaults that meet at the octagonal center, crowned with a glass dome. Small shops, many of high-end products, as well as small eateries, occupy the four stories, and the most luxurious hotel in Milan is connected.

Coming out of the far end of the Galleria from the Duomo, you enter a small square centered around a large statue of Leonardo da Vinci, and to the left the third of the great downtown landmarks, the Teatro alla Scala.

The rest of the afternoon we just wandered around shopping areas, ambled past the scene of a marathon finish, and finished up back at the Duomo. Mike and Kristine went on to explore more, and we returned to our room to back for the return to the States. I will probably do one more wrap-up of final thoughts.

Additional photos below
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Mike and KristineMike and Kristine
Mike and Kristine

Mike and Kristine hoping that pigeons don't mistake them for the nearby Leonardo statue

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