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September 22nd 2016
Published: September 22nd 2016
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Best deal yetBest deal yetBest deal yet

2 euros each and a really good cappuccino and brioche
Milan daily life

Now for the real test: walking about the city. The first thing we did (of course) was stop at a local café for cappuccino and brioche for a total of 2 euros per person. Best deal we had found yet. Because we like to know how to get out of town, we took the bus to the train station to make sure we knew where everything was. Dianne also bought the tickets for our day trip to Lago di Como. Nothing like being prepared.

Took the metro to Fortress Sforsa. Nice to look at something that wasn’t a church. Our main goal was to see the town as well as ensure we knew where the events for which we had tickets were located.

The streets in major Italian city seem to change names more often than even those in Victoria. Throw in the various piazzas and map reading becomes a graduate course. We eventually found the Ambrosiana, where a bunch of Leonardo da Vinci’s stuff is on display, and then trudged over to the Church where his Last Supper is painted on the wall of the convent refectory.

Took the tram home to complete
Milano Centrale StatzioneMilano Centrale StatzioneMilano Centrale Statzione

Quite a neat building
the trifecta of transportation. Used bus, metro and tram on the same day.

Sunday we tried to repeat our cappuccino success story. Chuiso! (closed). We needed bus tickets so went to the same Tabbaci agent we had used the day before. Chuiso! Dianne thought we might be able to buy tickets at the cappuccino bar next door. The server told us they don’t sell them but the guy from the Tabbaci store was standing there having a cappuccino before work! The gal in the café was from Shanghai, China so we had a nice chat about China. She came to Italy with her family when she was 10 so we had seen more of China than she had. After our cappuccinos, we went back to the Tabbaci to buy some tickets and had a nice chat with him. Of course, when he found out we were from the west coast of Canada, he told us he had a friend in Burnaby. At least he didn’t ask if we knew him.

On our walk we discovered the crypt of San Giovani in Conca literally in the middle of the road, or should I say under the road. It is
The inside trackThe inside trackThe inside track

Okay, not the tracks but leading to them
managed by the Touring Club Italiano, a group of volunteers. They were very interested in chatting about all the free archeological sites you could visit if you had a couple of years. My guess is they don’t get many people down there and were happy to have someone show interest. There is nothing as rewarding as discovering a jewel like this when you aren’t expecting it.

Cenacolo – The Last Supper

You only get 15 minutes in the room with this famous painting. After going through three sets of doors to assist in maintaining a stable atmosphere, we and 23 other people get to go into a big room (it was the lunch room of the convent) and there it is. It’s way bigger than you might expect and high up on a wall. You can get a better look at the detail in a book but the effect of seeing it in real life is amazing.

Lago di Como

We took an early bus to Milano Centrale to take the train to Varenna, about half way up Lago di Como. This lake is much like a mountain lake in BC: not that wide but very
DetailDetailDetail

All over the walls
long. Walked around town to get the feel of the place before choosing a cappuccino bar.

Picked up a map of the town that showed trails to a castle up the mountain. Should be good for a view or two, no? Quite a hike up but well worth the views. The castle was little more than a hill fort but interesting, none the less. And the restaurant attached to it was excellent. And in the shade. We walked down on the other path indicated on the map. We had chosen to walk up one and down the other but had no idea which way was “better”, if indeed one was. We made the right choice as the reverse trip would have been annoying.

When we returned to the town, we realized a wedding in the main church was about to end so we joined a bunch of other tourists sitting in the shade until the happy couple emerged. Fun to watch.

The rest of the day was spent walking around just looking at the views. Very restful.

Last full day in Milan

Lounged around home, worked on diaries, blogs etc. Took the #9 tram to
Castello SforzescoCastello SforzescoCastello Sforzesco

Originally built in the 15th century on the ruins of a 14th century castle by the Sforsa family, it is fascinating to read about the many changes in usage over the years. Sure, much of it is reconstruction but it is still amazing to walk around
Ticenese area where the canals still exist. I had no idea there were canals in Milan. I was even more surprised they fed into the Po River which empties into the Adriatic on the opposite side of Italy. We went to this area to see San Lorenzo Church but came to the Basilica of San Eustorgio with its museum. Very nice church but really enjoyed the displays on the many Italian earthquakes, wars and floods over the years. The recovery from them has been truly amazing.

Found what remained of a Roman amphitheater. Amazing to think of what was happening there so many years ago. San Lorenzo was a bit anticlimactic after the first basilica.

Appertivi is a great idea: you buy a drink and get to eat all kinds of neat things for free (well, included in the price of the drink). But we had wanted to go to the Nottingham Forest pub near our apartment but couldn’t remember the address. We took the #9 tram which went close to our place and walked the rest of the way. We noted the pub was about 1.5 km away so took a bus half way to the pub.
Roman RuinsRoman RuinsRoman Ruins

Just walking about the city one keeps finding these random ruins.
When we walked the rest of the way we discovered the #9 tram stopped right put in front of it. Had we checked the address before leaving home, life would have been much easier. Especially since we would have got there much sooner. By the time we got there, it was full and there was a queue.

We decided not to wait and walked in the general direction of our place, figuring to stop somewhere appropriate. The place where we ended up wasn’t the greatest but it was certainly adequate and had a good variety of cold dishes. Just after our drinks arrived, there was a total blackout. It didn’t last two minutes, just long enough for the bartender to assure everyone it was the whole area, not just this bar. We figured they were just trying to remind us of Pender!

Time to go

We were travelling mid-day so we had a leisurely start to our last day including packing. Off to our café for cappuccino and brioche then home to pick up bags and head for the station. Bit of a wait so we had another cappuccino. Still a bit of a wait so had
L.O.V.E.L.O.V.E.L.O.V.E.

Acronym for Libertà, Odio, Vendetta, Eternità (Freedom, Hate, Vengeance, Eternity). 36' sculpture in the middle of the stock exchange area. Never explained by the sculptor but an interesting read on the internet. Controversial.
a gelato. Who said travelling had to be tough?



Roma here we come… To Be Continued


Additional photos below
Photos: 30, Displayed: 26


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The beat of a different drumThe beat of a different drum
The beat of a different drum

Our tram was late arriving because a giant Hare Krishna parade was blocking traffic near the Duomo.
San Giovani in ConcaSan Giovani in Conca
San Giovani in Conca

The crypt is literally under the road. Fascinating place with two volunteers who really wanted to tell us about everything.
Famous statuesFamous statues
Famous statues

You never know when you are going to run into one. Sometimes they are just reproductions but it is nice the see a real statue rather than a picture in a book.
Different ChurchDifferent Church
Different Church

This one was quite long but has a screen across it that divides it into one third main church available to public and two thirds available only to the nuns when the convent was active. The screen allowed the nuns to participate in the Mass without seeing the rest of the world.
Nuns areaNuns area
Nuns area

The nuns got the better part of this church.
Cenacolo - The Last SupperCenacolo - The Last Supper
Cenacolo - The Last Supper

A picture doesn't do it justice. Interesting to see the bit where Jesus's feet should be is where some monks punched a door in the wall years ago.
The other end of the roomThe other end of the room
The other end of the room

The Crucifixion, by Giovanni Donato da Montorfano is on the wall opposite the Cenacolo? For some interesting background, check https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Supper_(Leonardo_da_Vinci)
Museum mapsMuseum maps
Museum maps

The museum was full of maps and models of the city at various points in history. Very interesting.
StatuesStatues
Statues

Lots of statues and fragments. A sign mentioned the fig leaf was added to this one in the 1800s.
DormienteDormiente
Dormiente

The name said it all.
Interesting architectureInteresting architecture
Interesting architecture

The polygonal tower was fun.
TramsTrams
Trams

Trams criss-cross Milan and are very useful if noisy, once you understand how they work.
Varenna rail crossingVarenna rail crossing
Varenna rail crossing

When we got off the train, the sign says "Do not cross the tracks" but the only way into the town is to cross the tracks.
Across the lakeAcross the lake
Across the lake

Not too wide, the lake looks pretty nice.


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