Day with the dead and a night with the living: Day 4

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Europe » Italy » Lombardy » Milan
September 10th 2017
Published: September 10th 2017
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As you can see after four days my Italian has improved dramatically, today I got to do some exploring on my own but before I head out to see the city I have to eat breakfast. Today we had enough of the paparazzi at the hotel restaurant so we decided to head down the street to try out one of the local ristorantes for breakfast. We just walked around the corner for breakfast, it was a beautiful morning so we sat outside, the waiter came and asked us what we wanted to drink, we had got water. In Italy they ask if you want still or sparkling water, still is just normal spring water and we got a cup of cappuccino. he got us some bread for the table, after that we ordered and we both ordered a ham and cheese omelet, I have to say the omelet was delicious. Their is a dessert tray behind our table and it's spinning slowly catching our attention, the waiter notices and asked if we want dessert. Dessert for breakfast you say, we're on vacation why not? I ordered green apple gelato with brandy sauce, and my wife had an apple tart with ice cream, I'll just say this won't be the last dessert we eat today. So after eating that we head back to the room, their is nail salon by the hotel so the Mrs goes to get a mani/pedi and I relax in the room for a while watching tv. She comes back and says she wants to relax, so I tell her I'm going to the Monumental Cemetery and I know she is not interested in that, she says have fun and I'll see you later.

Now it's time for some exploring, first stop is always the train station to get a pass for the day and I only need to catch one train to get there I head downstairs to one of the stores to get a 24 hour pass before I find the M2 line to get to my destination. The train runs about every five minutes during the day so I don't have to wait long for the train and before you know it here comes my train, the cemetery is about a ten minute ride and the train stop is called Monumentale so it's kinda hard to miss the stop. I get off the train, walk up the stairs and the entrance to the cemetery is only a few feet away. I just finished reading a book called Beneath a Scarlet Sky about an Italian boy who joined the Nazis as a spy for the Allies during World War 2, it's kinda eerie reading that book then seeing places that are described so vividly by the author. The reason I bring it up besides it being an incredible book their is a section of the cemetery dedicated to 800 citizens of Milan killed in Nazi concentration camps during World War 2. One chapter of the book talks about how citizens of Milan came to the Monument Cemetery to claim dead family members during the war. The cemetery is also known for it's artistic tombs and monuments. I grew up in New Orleans so I'm used to mausoleums and beautiful tombs but this is whole different level of artistic achievement. The cemetery is huge, you can just wander through it for hours looking at the tombs, some were built for families, couples and some just one person. It is a cemetery so it is very quiet out of respect for the dead, I consider myself a pretty brave person but a tree branch did fall and I almost broke out in a sprint like Usain Bolt, it was just the wind well I hope it was the wind. I walk around for a few more minutes, taking some pictures and looking at the beautiful tombs, then I make my way out and it's own to the next stop.

I jump back on the M2 train and head to Castello Sforzesco which is about two minutes away, it's also know as the Sforza Castle and was built in the 14th century. Many local Milan artists including Leonardo Da Vinci helped to the decorate the castle, their is also an area dedicated to DaVinci and his art work at the castle. When you walk up the castle it has a drawbridge straight out of medieval times and when I walk inside it's people everywhere, the castle is also connected to a park. I walk through the walkway to the right and it leads me out to the park where people are outside enjoying a beautiful Milan afternoon, so I walk down one of the trails and it leads to Port Sempione which is the gateway to zone 1 of Milan and stands the Arco della Pace which means the Arch of Peace, the arch was built when Italy was under Napoleon's rule. I walk back through the castle and head out the opposite entrance where a water fountain stands, their are some street food stands out there and I get myself a calzone, a bottle of fanta then head to train. The train ride from the castle to central station is very short then I get off the train head upstairs and down the street to the hotel, the Mrs is relaxing in the bed watching tv looking pretty rested. I unwind for a while, then I take a shower and change clothes so we can head out for a night on the town.

We head out to the Navigli District to hang out on this night, back on the M2 train to the Navigli district, it's about a 20 minute ride. We live in Texas where everything is spread out and you must have a car but coming to Europe where the whole continent is connected by the train and you can go anywhere from Paris to Brussels to Amsterdam is pretty nice, also not very expensive. The Navigli district is in southwest part of the city, there are two canals the Navigli Grande and Navigli Pavese, it's a vibrant area with shops and restaurants all up and down the canals. When we get off the train and walk up the stairs, we follow a walkway then we see a few cafes with people outside enjoying each other's conversation and of course some drinks then we head down the way some more and their is the Navigli Grande canal, and nothing but a sea of people. We make a left walking past some shops that are closed but all the restaurants and bars are open, we wander about just enjoying the night. We make our way to the end then cross over to the other side, we walk some more and see a restaurant that doesn't have a big crowd and we take a look at the menu, it looks good to me so we have a seat. The waiter says ciao and gets us two glasses of water then hands us the wine menu which is the size of a small phone book so many choices, my wife wants red wine so I ask for a recommendation and she says she knows the perfect wine for us. She comes back with the bottle, let my wife taste it and she likes it, so we get two glasses then look over the menu, I order lamb chops and my wife orders smoked duck. The waiter starts with bread then the appetizers, the waiter tells us the order to eat the appetizer which he calls a mush bush to fully appreciate all the flavor and it was very good, once that is done then comes the main course. While we're sitting outside it starts to see lightning so the waiter said it's best for us to come inside to finish our meal, we don't disagree especially since we're sitting right by the water. We grabbed our glasses of wine, definitely can't forget that and head inside. My lamb chops was amazing, my wife says her smoked duck is the best meal she has ever had, that's high praise but I did get a small bite, that's all she would share and it was delicious. Main course is done so the waiter gives us the dessert menu, I told you I was going to have dessert more than once today. The dessert menu has dessert and also has the recommended wine to pair with it, so I order tiramisu with a glass of moscato, my wife gets cheesecake also with moscato but she gets a different kind of moscato. I'm finally drinking moscato the way it was intended with dessert, the waiter comes out with the moscato first to let us sample it, it's really good with a slight bitter taste to it and then the desserts. The tiramisu and the moscato are a perfect combination, we enjoy it while their a group of about 10 people in the next room probably in their 50s or 60s, singing Italian songs having a great time. I want to enjoy life that much when I'm their age, they start to leave some of the wives have to go back to make their husbands leave, they all say good night with a smile as they leave the restaurant. We sit around talking and don't even notice that the rain has stopped, we were having such a good time, the owner comes back to ask how was the food, we tell her it was wonderful. I get up and pay the bill, then we say good night then back to the train stop to head back to the hotel. Its almost midnight so the crowd on the train is a lot younger compared to the business crowd usually traveling during the day, we get off at our stop and walk to the hotel, today was a great day in Milan.

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