Why are there no shows in Venice or Milan.
25.07.2011 - 26.07.2011 25 °C
We are the only ones this morning for breakfast. I thought I heard some one leave early this morning. I have squirreled away a couple of yoghurt and crackers for the train rides and we will pick up water closer to the station. The walk is lovely, but gets busier as we near the termini. We watch the masses arrive (especially the ones with loads of luggage ... yah for back packs) and try to figure out where to go from here.
The train does not indicate what track until just 15 minutes before it is scheduled to depart. Coach 6, seats 11 & 14. Only it turns out these tickets are for the 25 of MAY! Same train, same couch, same time, same trip as the one we should be on in, now in July ... The nice conductor sold us new tickets and confirmed our connecting trains to Paris in the evening were for the correct date. Whoops. I guess with planning for over a month I am allowed one mistake (the conductor realized it was an honest mistake, as we had a print out with our ticket for May sandwiched in between two other tickets for July, but he could have charged us an extra 100 Euros fine for not having a valid ticket). We had great seats too. The last row in the car, which are three together and only the two of us taking up 3seats ...
We navigate Milan fairly well with just the city map. This is a bigger, newer and more cosmopolitan city (plus wider streets and many of the guys dressed in suits and women in dresses ... Milan is a fashion centre after all). We are in the banking section so we are able to pick up some cash to replace the money we spent on tickets. It was not that much.
Roger was hungry so we had the crackers and yogurt and then went off to find Teatro alla Scala. We were taking a photo in front when a local man stopped to tell us it was closed. We knew that, but he directed us around the corner to the La Scala museum. Wow, the insides are amazing. We got to go in the theatre, in several of the audience boxes where they would normally have chairs for people watching the production. The theatre is huge! They had the large chandelier lowered down and were cleaning it, plus the curtains were open and we could see the whole stage ... wow! It was incredible! Of course, the stage is an opera stage, so it's raked at an angle from the very front to the very back, but it has trap doors here and there, plus lots of hydraulics so the can raise or lower chunks of the stage whenever they need to. It's a technician's dream stage! The audience boxes, the velvet, the historical displays were all worth it. Roger of course was over the top. He had been on stage with La Scala when they came to Vancouver in 1986. He sang quietly from the box we were in ("Caro Mio Bene") so he can now say he sang at the theatre itself ...
We had heard shouting in the square across from the theatre the whole time we were inside it so we crossed the street to the square to find out who was protesting about what. A tiny group had signs Alpha Romeo and the word Cobras? I'll look that up later. Needing a WC we stopped at a McDonalds. Roger had a huge meat craving and bought two meals for us (yes they have meal deals at McDonalds in Milan too...) The price was right, the fries were better than ours at home and the location was great for people watching. Venice has one McDonalds, which we never actually saw, and Rome and Milan have piles of them, only they call them Mc Cafe.
Across the square from the McDonalds, is the Duomo, an amazing cathedral/church/structure with figures all around and a very short line up. We decided to go in. While we could take backpacks in, I had to just about empty mine for the security guard before I was cleared. Once again an amazing vista. There are two Cardinals here who have been made saints. I would not really wish my decaying body on display, but I think there is no chance I will ever be sainted.
We walked past all the upper crust stores that you see in every big city and sit in a park serenaded by the toilette in the corner of the park that is beeping, insisting it needs to be serviced.
Milan has mosquitoes!
We enjoy the park and find our way towards the stazione through a very interesting neighbourhood. Lots of Chinese food, Japanese food, Indian food and big groups of men, so I prefer to keep on walking to a more "family area" to stop for a drink. I would have loved some Asian food, but felt a little overwhelmed. We end up at a place that gives you a plate of food with your drink plus a functioning bathroom and a TV with the local news. Major bonus! The wine is good, the toilets so so, the snacks are decent and the news shows a fire at a train station. We finally figure out it is Rome and won't affect us. We have a game of cards in front of the station, watch an animated phone call by a young woman, watch a kid ride his bike around selling Birra, buy some yogurt for breakie, watch some pod casts by Rick Steves on Italy and our train is here and leaves on time. Weather is hot, but not too hot and sunny.