Through Milan to the Piedmont Region, Italy
The 4th largest church in the world - the Duomo in Milan.
Day 13: The long journey to Milan this morning. A 45-minute traffic jam prepared us for the metropolis. We slowly passed many SOS phones along the highway, prompting me to think, "What does SOS mean in Italian?"
After parking, we walked down a very rugged looking street to a big square with a big church (the 4th largest in the world) but with no dome. It's still called a Duomo, though. Go figure.
On the way to the La Scala Opera House, we walked through the glass-topped Galleria, and some of us took turns at what looked like a painful experience for a mosaic of a bull on the floor [see the video at the bottom of this page]. La Scala was unexpectedly closed due to an opera rehearsal, although they had an interesting museum.
We scattered for a quick lunch, then I returned to the mega-church. First to the museum beside it, to understand the history, then to the church itself. A little dark inside, but the cool thing was that you could "dance on the ceiling" by walking on the roof. Actually kind of hot, now that I think about it. You could see hundreds of spires from the rooftop walkways, each of which had statues attached. There were also some nice views of the Milan skyline beyond.
As we regrouped in the Piazza Duomo (and everyone admired the Italian suit that Jon bought), a rock group starting playing on a stage set up for a festival on the square. The thumping was so loud the pigeons took flight at every beat. We left shortly later.
After Milan we entered the Piedmont region and took a long winding road up to the hill town of Bossolasco for a one-night stay. It was a very scenic drive. We had a couple minutes before dinner so I visited a church, with its colorful interior, across the square from our hotel. The hotel [Hotel Bellavista] was very friendly and they had really good food waiting for us for dinner. The wine was free (because we had missed a wine tasting earlier), and it was perfect with the meal. I don't ever remember having better pasta (wonderful baked ziti). I had seconds of everything.
After dinner (and just after the sun went down) many of us took a walk around town. Fireflies bobbed up and down in the fields next to the road we walked. Don and Marsha were transfixed by them because they had never seen fireflies before. So we caught a couple.
[A firefly on Susan's hand with simulated glow (click it for the original).]
Susan and I tried some grappa (brandy made from the skins of pressed grapes) in the hotel bar after the walk. We both agreed it was strong stuff (it's often known as the tequila of Italy). She had a headache the next morning.
My room, by myself again, was a suite with two bedrooms and a large balcony. Space for 4 people easy. I did some laundry and hung my clothes on the balcony.
The view from the balcony was expansive.
Bye bye Italy. I'll miss you. Arrivederci! To bed.
Click the pictures for enlargements.
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Last updated 03/18/2006 . Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.