Back in Italy

Bubba was put on a plane in Hawaii by his friends Bill and Shannon.  After a grueling flight he landed in Italy.

Hey!  I know this place!  I’m back in Milan.  I’ve been here before and had a great time.  I do remember missing out on one big item.  It was something that may explain the mishaps in my life since then.  I found out it is a vital act that one must perform when in Milan.  I took a train from the airport to the Milano Centrale Rail station and from there a short walk (for those with longer legs) to the Milan Metro and a short ride to my destination.

Super Store

Yes! The Vittorio Emanuele Shopping Joint.  Last time I was here I saw people performing a strange ritual that promised good luck.

Spider Crusher

You put your heel on the nether regions of the Bull of Torino and spin three times.  Good luck will follow.

The architect of this galleria, Giuseppe Mengoni, fell from scaffolding to his death just a few weeks before the completion of this massive work so to ward off that kind of bad luck, people have been spinning on this spot ever since.  OR, this is the symbol of the rival city of Turin, so a little crushing of the parts is a way to crush the rival.  Don’t know, don’t care, I’m not taking a chance this time.

I waited for this guy.

Dave's Heel

And this guy.

Spin Rick Spin

And this lady who looked like she would rather be shopping for purses.

Marina Turina

Then it was my turn…or my Turin…or something.

Bubba Little Heel

Now that the important part of the trip is out of the way, I think I’ll head down the coast.  The Mediterranean Coast of Italy is a tranquil place where one can recover from a severe form of jet lag.  This is the village of Santa Margherita Ligure just a bit south of Genoa.

Boats on Coasts CIMG4844

Any stop on the coast with a nice jug of an unknown fluid of grape origin is good for the soul.

Vino Del Mare

A stop at Monterosso del Mare is next on the list.  I’ll stop in the church and look for a sign that my good luck from Milan is still with me.

Signore Bones

            Not quite sure if this a good omen or not.

            You can take a nice walk along the shore and take in the great view.

Rock Drop

            I think I can probably find a better place to stand.

            Out into the sea to get a fish eye view of the Cinque Terre shows why this part of Italy is a visitor favorite.

5land CoastCinque TwoCinque Three

On land it is a slice of Italy you should not miss.  This is where the word “Pitcher-Esk” comes from.

Village Life

Gear

Naaaarow Street

            I’ve had bad experiences in water so I think I’ll move inland.

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Milan: Art, Fashion, Bubba

Joining back up with Bubba, we moved on to Milan.  Milan is a wonderful blend of old and new.  Ancient buildings share space with modern works of art.  The Duomo di Milano took over six hundred years to complete…and they’re still working on it.  It may have been the long lunch breaks, but I think it was the attention to detail and the go slow go better attitude.  Bubba came with us on a tour of the city.

        We took the Metro a block from our hotel to the piazza at the Milan Cathedral.  Coming up from the underground we were confronted with one of the tallest church spires in the world, topped by a statue of the Madonna that was for centuries the highest point in the city.  It is said that modern buildings in the city have a similar statue on top to ensure that the Madonna will remain looking over the city.  From my view, it was way, way up there.

Right next to the cathedral was…well…I’m not sure what it was.  It looked like a huge pile of salt…with toy horses stuck in it.  I thought maybe it was the Verona beer coming back at me but I took a picture and sure enough, it is what it is.

We joined up with a tour and walked through the city to enjoy more contrasts.  We walked through the fashion capital of Europe.  Gucci, Versace, Prada, and Armani are all headquartered here.  Representatives of each design house chased us down the street wanting to know where I got my flowered shirt.  The old and new were ever present.  We passed La Scala Opera House.

 We then passed an enormous threaded needle sticking out of the pavement.

Nobody seemed to notice it or the fact that the end of the stitch was across the street.

We then headed to see Leonardo di Vinci’s Last Supper.  It is on the wall of a climate controlled room that can be only accessed for a brief amount of time by a few people at a time by going through an air lock system.  It is in the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie.

This is a solemn and powerful place that even I couldn’t mess around in.  Luckily our guide gave me a radio receiver and earphone so I could keep up with his commentary.  Of course he had to hold both the electronics and me during the tour. 

Finishing up with Milan, we headed for the train station.  We were changing countries again.  Our next stop would be Bern Switzerland and I decided to splurge and buy out a first class compartment, just for me.  Next stop Bern!