Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Milano - Day Two

After a good night's sleep, it was time to spend a second full day exploring the place where Meredith had spent the last four months. We were up early and off we went. Our first stop: a sidewalk cafe for coffee and pastry. Italians don't really have breakfast, something that Meredith missed sorely...she had continuous dreams about pancakes and waffles.

[A note about the coffee: I LOVE my morning coffee. Last Mother's Day my gift was a Keurig brewer and an account with Green Mountain Roasters and I have come to love my tall cup of java with milk and sugar. So I was stunned when that first morning the clerk handed me a shot glass sized dinky cup half-filled with a sludge like substance that was gone in one sip. I quickly learned to ask for "Cafe American" which was the same amount in a larger cup with some hot water to "reconstitute" it. Lesson learned!]

This was the building across the street from where we were sitting. I have no idea what it was but it sure looked impressive:

So now we were off to explore the canal district of Milan, known as the Porto Genova. Basically a residential area with some great neighborhood shops and restaurants, it also was the location for a terrific open air market held EVERY day!

We stopped into one of the little shops and I was instantly transformed back to the neighborhood in Brooklyn where Brendan and I lived almost 30 years ago. This Salumeria could have been anywhere in Bay Ridge!

Just hand me a knife and fork and I'll be in heaven!

Say Cheese, Meredith!

This guy was SO proud of that piece of meat! It looked so delicious

And you've GOT to have Vino! This tiny little store had it all!

Next it was on to the Castello Sforzesco, first built in 1368. The castle was built facing the city so that it could be defended from the citizens of the city, a rowdy bunch. Unfortunately this meant that they didn't see the French arriving from the other side.

The fountain at the entrance is one of so many large, beautiful ones throughout the city.

The ancient gate...

...with its massive clock and bell tower...

...and the family emblem. (I think the modern translation of this was "Welcome Tourists! Bring many euros!")

In one of those surreal Fellini-type events, there was a Japanese wedding party in the inner courtyard. They were all talking on cellphones and milling around. The bride and groom were beautifully dressed but everyone else was in jeans. Kind of bizarre.

The details were classic and so beautiful.

There were so many cats wandering around the lower grounds, at the entrance to the moat and in the moat itself.

On the other side of the castle was the gift shop... as well as these guys who were vigorously hawking their imitation designer bags and sunglasses. I was so tempted to yell "Polizei" and watch them scatter. They lay everything out on mats so they can just grab the corners and run. If you buy one of the bags you get a guarantee... that the handle will fall off as soon as you are out of their sight. They were EVERYWHERE!

Our next stop was the open air market. THIS was truly amazing. I'll let the pictures tell the story...

Don't Come here hungry!

My personal favorites were these last two: RV's converted to a meat market and a chicken rotisserie on wheels. Pretty clever, huh?

We were hungry (Duh!) so we found a little cafe and had some delicious Focaccio sandwiches and then it was on to more exploring.

A quiet tree-lined street

Part of the University. It had once been a prison where enemies of the ruling powers were tortured. Those saints above the arch weren't divulging anything.

Plaza Cadorna, outside the train station where I arrived from the airport. The sculpture is a giant needle and thread, symbolizing the fashion industry. (I didn't get it at first and had to have Meredith explain it to me!)

We were getting tired so we went to the hotel. This hotel turned out to be the swankiest one we stayed at during our entire trip. We picked it because it was close to the train station from which we would depart for Naples and also for the airport on our final morning. They also graciously agreed to store Meredith's luggage from her semester there, freeing us to only take the luggage we would need for the next two weeks. It was called the Windsor and I would recommend it VERY highly if you are ever in Milan.

Once we got there we decided to go out and get Kebaps, a delicious lamb sandwich (not to be confused with kebobs!) We found a nearby shop and set off to get them. Along the way I spotted this beautiful flower draped balcony...

... and this adorable "Smart" car (they were everywhere in Milan!)

Wouldn't the 18-wheelers on I-95 just have a picnic with this little guy. They would smash it like a bug on a windshield!

We found the kebap shop and placed our order so the guy set to work...

It kind of gives new meaning to the phrase "shaving your legs."

They were SO delicious. Now it was time to organize our packing for the next two weeks since we were leaving the next day. But first, some shots of the hotel room.

Our suite (sorry it is a little blurry...I didn't use a flash and probably should have.)

Spacious bathroom...little did we realize what a luxury THAT would be over the next two weeks!

Yes, that is a bidet. I can't tell you how much I wished that it had been on the OTHER side of the toilet at 3AM as I stumbled into the bathroom half asleep. It wasn't a pretty sight. Nuff said.

View from our window.

Those streetcars could really move!!

So, after a VERY busy day we headed to bed to prepare for the first day of our whirlwind trip around Italy. We would be returning to Milan for one night before heading to Spain. So much to look forward to! We were excited!!!!

Next post: Naples and Pompeii.



Oh Mary Ann - How lucky you are! A trip of a lifetime with Meredith. I love the marketplaces and the architecture! The pictures are absolutely stunning and remind me of the pictures Lyndsay brought home from Italy. I anxiously await the next installment on the blog! Sue

Anonymous said...

I read many knit blogs, but never comment...I just had to say "Thanks" for sharing your wonderful trip. Very enjoyable...

Busymom51 said...

Thank you SO much for your comment. I'm glad you enjoyed the "virtual trip"...I certainly enjoyed reliving it!

sappmama said...

The flowers on that balcony don't even look real.

Schwweeeet hotel room!