Gentlemen, start your engines!!!

Trip Start Aug 29, 2007
Trip End Oct 01, 2007

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Where I stayed

Flag of Italy  , Lombardy,
Monday, September 10, 2007

At this point my Mum and split up - she went home and I continued with my journey. I had opted to travel around Europe by train using a Eurail pass. It is an extremely convenient method of travel around this very well connected continent. I have to admit I was now starting to get nervous about the prospect of travelling alone. I was so nervous that I ended up at the wrong station to take my train to Milan.Luckily I had learned to give myself time - so I had loads of time to get to the correct station. I didn't blog back then so I had lots of postcards to post..Naturally there wasn't post office in sight. Eventually a little old French man helped me (initially I sort of followed him around trying to get his attention). He took me to the mall across the road and waited while I posted my cards. We had a lovely chat - him in his broken English and myself in gesturing and English. Just a bit of digression, I realize that language though challenging is never an insurmountable barrier: A pen, gestures and a lot patience always seem to get you quite far. Boarded my train and met the most amazing young lady from Genoa. We chatted for the five hours that it took to get to Genoa (once again in my broken Italian, English and sign language). I had made a friend - something that I would do alot more in my travels - everyone of those people taught me something. Some I will never see again and some I occasionally contact. All mean alot to me. She was an amazing person who gave me my first glimpse of the people of Italy. She shared my passion for ice cream - and stated quite frankly that she won't eat ice cream (gelato) anywhere else.Belinda Carlisle didn't get it wrong - I'll modify a bit :  Heaven is a gelateria in Italy (well that is my place anyways. Eventually I got to Milan - very late at night and when I emerged from the subway station into a darkened street with very little lighting  - my overactive imagination had to be stilled. I got to my hotel very late, and I soon realized, very alone with help of some very helpful guys who would not see a young lady scared. I love Italian men ;)

The next day dawned and I realised that I was completely alone in this world and I had to survive. I remember sitting on the bed in my room after breakfast with my head in hands wondering why I was doing this - I wanted to sit in the room and watch tv the whole day.So I made a deal with myself - I would go out to one place and if I didn't like it or if I didn't feel comfortable, I would go back to the hotel and to watch tv. I started walking and I never came to the hotel to watch tv. I walked along the streets of Milan and marvelled at the beauty of the place. Not a skyscraper in sight. It was so - well Italian!!!! I thought that I would go to see "The Last Supper"  at the Santa Maria delle Grazie but to my dismay I had to make a booking to view the painting 3 months in advance. I hoped that there would be a no show but no luck.!!I guess it just means that I have a reason to go back. I did roam around the streets which are filled with beautiful fashion and very beautiful, chic people. Case in point, the police uniforms are designed by Armani.

Spent time at the Duomo which is an eclectic mix of architectural styles. The result is in my opinion a wonderful combination.I then wandered down the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele - it was just as much an exhibition of architecture as it is shopping arcade. The Galleria is the link to the Piazza della Scala with the Leonardo da Vinci memorial sculpture. Leonardo da Vinci was truly a man of vision..we don't find men like him anymore: artist, sculptor, engineer,mathematician, architect, writer. The personification of  renaissance man.I guess like him many of us are striving for knowledge - maybe not the same grand scale but we do it in our own way. As I was going to the F1 grand prix at Monza the following day, I decided to pop into the Ferrari shop. Ferrari supporters would love Italy for obvious reasons. The Scuderia are in full force in Italy which creates an atmosphere that is unique to Italy. Then I was off to the Castello Sforzesco. That was fun - visions of knights saving their ladies from a bygone filled my mind as I wandered through the castle. Afterward I ate my first gelato - my legs went week from the pure pleasure. Have I mentioned that I love Italy.

I spent the following day at the F1 grand Prix. It was extremely well organised event at Monza with a free train service that operated from Milan central station. I had great seats at the end of the start - finish straight before the first corner.It was my second grand prix but my first at Monza. I truly enjoyed the day. Met interesting people and learned another good lesson: Sometimes it causes more trouble to helpful than it does good. The less said about that the better.

Well I seem to be doing well - I think its time to have a holiday.So I am now off to my next destination :)
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