We arrived in Milan in the evening, went to a wonderful little restaurant and had some absolutely wonderful pizza!
The official competition started the next morning. It had a very interesting beginning to it, as we were most definitely followed all the way from the hotel to the Central Station by a very uncouth looking man who seemed to be interested in our bags. Fortunately he stopped following us apon our arrival to the station. We bought our transport passes and set out to take in Milan!
The first thing we did was visit the “house of the ear” which is basically just a house with a sculpture of an ear on it. The area in which it is located is absolutely magnificent, and the apartments are now almost always used as offices because, as we were informed, they are incredibly expensive to be used as residences.
After this we went to the Galleria and had lunch. We are both very enthusiastic people watchers, and the galleria is a really wonderful place to do this. The fashion in Milan consists greatly of boyfriend jeans and short boots, as we were interested to note, but there are many different fashion styles represented here. There are also many street performers-harpists, guitar players, singers, dancers (we saw some very excellent break dancers) etc etc.
One thing that we were quite baffled by was the number of people peddling things on the street. The chief things they sold were roses, these little bracelets, and selfie sticks. The rose guys are incredibly bold and just walk up and accost people at dinner, especially couples. It was crazy! If the rose people are bold, the bracelet guys are basically street thugs. They follow you and shove these bracelets at you, and if you say anything or make any eye contact at all they simply will not leave you alone. We basically ignored them, but occasionally we had to give them a very firm “no.” There is also a lot of poverty in Milan, and beggers abound. However, the people are all very lovely, the architecture is astounding, and the food is magnificent.
One of the highlights of our day was a trip to the top of the Duomo. Built in the 800s, it is a huge, graceful building of impressive stature. Its entirety consists of varying colors of marble. There are spindles and statues and lacework everwhere! The history of the building is amazing. We went to the top and looked out over Milan, and it is a gorgeous view. The care and detail that they put into the Duomo is very evident, and the design is completely graceful. It was wonderful!
Our next sojourne was to the Parco Sempione, which is an incredible park behind one of my favorite buildings in Milan, the Castello Sforzesco. The fortress itself was build in the 1300s and has an incredible history of its own. It has housed military members, and when Napolean came to town he blew some holes in the walls to pass through. Leonardo Di Vinci himself was commissioned to decorate it! Talk about history!
The park behind it was so much fun! We had some gelato there and walked around the whole thing. This is an obvious favorite of the locals, and we loved so much how they all congregated there to relax and enjoy each others company and the gorgeous day that we had. It was also a favorite spot to work out in, but we noted that the people exercising there were the ones who were already in the top shape.
When we left there we walked around for a bit and soaked in the city, then made our way to the Rinascente, a rooftop restaurant right next to the Duomo, for some wine and olives and to soak in the view of the Duomo at sunset (another scavenge complete). When this was over we went down the street and had more pizza, then retired to the hotel. Another fun day!