Day 8 - afternoon
After leaving Pisa at around 11:00am, Chico drove for a while stopping only at 12:30pm along a deserted road at one of those rest areas which in my opinion was in the middle of nowhere! Regardless, it was nice just to get out of the bus, stretch, walk around and take a deep breath of fresh air!
We had a one hour stop here for lunch! While some of the group elected to eat inside at the small cafeteria, others decided not to eat at all. As for us, we ate outside! Why not…it was a pleasant sunny day after all!
We had brought with us some snacks, again gratuity of this morning's breakfast which comprised of some fruits, yogurt and croissants! We had our own little pic-nick while sitting on a three feet high concrete wall and feeling the warmth of the sun’s rays on our face. A brief walk was taken afterwards just around the small building but nothing eye catching was worth taking pictures of.
Back onboard the bus and exactly three and a half hours later, we were entering the city of Milan or should I say the second largest municipality in Italy with a population of over 1.3 million! We were here to admire the Gothic Cathedral with its marble fašade bristling with 135 pinnacles and over 2000 statues! Yes, you read it right…..2000 statues! Should be interesting to see I told Michel!
However, you should know that before we were able to set eyes on it, we had to make our way inside an enormous gallery by the name of "Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II", a four story high structure covered by glass-vaulted arches with numerous elegant designer shops in the likes of Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Prada on both sides of it. Well, no complaints here! These stores made it quite tempting to go inside but, looking was cheaper if you know what I mean!
Restaurants, cafes and bars were also seen in abundance in this gorgeous looking Galleria and guess what! They even had a McDonalds! I should probably mention here that it wasn’t any kind of McDonalds but a fancy looking one because after all, it had to be on the same wave length as all the other luxurious stores right next to it don’t you think! It had this real expensive looking fašade! I wonder if the food was more expensive too!
The central part of this impressive structure was topped with a huge glass dome. Our guide told us that the entire building was built in between 1865 and 1877! Still looked amazingly good considering its age! Ha, ha, ha!
Interestingly, in the middle of this Galleria and right underneath the monstrous dome, there was a floor tiled mosaic with a design of a horse! According to our guide Ernesta, the story went like this….if you put your foot on the horse’s tail and did a complete circle while spinning, your wish will come true!
Say no more….I had to do it….get out of my way, it’s my turn! Ha, ha, ha! I just couldn’t resist a good thing when I see one! So, I spun around, not once but three times looking probably like a fool, while some Chinese tourists standing nearby kept taking pictures of me! Do you think I overdone it, was it too much! They probably thought I was doing a movie of some kind or was probably someone of importance because they wanted their pictures taken with me afterwards! Ha, ha, ha! See, I’m just a lucky charm!
By walking straight down this glass covered street and way up to its end where “light could be seen after the tunnel” kind of thing, we now stood in a square named after the Cathedral. We were in the Piazza Duomo square and there it was right in front of me, the one of its kind in the entire world, the Duomo di Milano! I stood there with my mouth open as I couldn’t believe the impressive sight I was looking at!
After all, this cathedral had 2000 statues! A lot more that I've ever seen in my entire life all in one place!
From details provided to us by guide, this Gothic cathedral took nearly six centuries to complete and is the fourth largest one in the world! Its construction started in the 14th
century. Interesting facts! Well, since I was here, I did go inside of it but just for a few minutes.
Tons of pigeons were in the Piazza square right in front of the cathedral and flew all over the place as seeds were given to them by some local people. For a few bucks, I could do the same which of course, is what I did!
Pigeons came from all over the place and from all directions flying all over me as I stood still with my arms wide open looking just like a scarecrow! These were Michel’s comments whereas mine are “a nice looking scarecrow”! Ha, ha, ha! While I was being attacked by all of these birds, I felt as if I was part of a scene in the horror movie “Birds”! I just hoped they wouldn’t poo on me while I was standing! It was quite fun! And no, they didn't! Ha, ha, ha!
It was around 5:30pm when we left Milan and headed north towards the Italian Lakes.Monique :-)