Shopping in the Rain, in Milan

Trip Start Oct 09, 2012
Trip End Oct 26, 2012

Flag of Italy  , Lombardy,
Monday, October 15, 2012

From Bellagio, we headed towards Milano, with a stop at the famed Formula 1 race track in Monza. It is here the Tifosi cheer on Ferrari and have for longer that any other F1 racing circuit in the world.  Sorry NASCAR fans, this type of racing requires turning right and using the brakes too, many times per lap.  It is the fastest of all F1 venues.  Cars will slow to 40mph in the chicanes and still top 200mph in 4 different parts of the track, every lap. It was a quiet day at the Autodromo, which provided us a unique opportunity to experience the place and appreciate the racing history that began in 1922. This was another Italian racing stop to check off for John.

We enjoyed dinner on a historic Tram last night, for two hours while dining on a four-course meal, the ATMosfera tram trekked through central Milan, past historic sights such as the fortressed Castello Sforzesco and the high fashion district. This was fantastic..! A recommended MUST, but you have to book over two months in advance, it’s a sought-after experience for the locals here.

Ah yes.. the shopping; we have bobbed in and out of shops all day long. It really is quite a spectacle, there’s some sticker-shock as well, but overall, it is all part of the Milanese experience. All along the streets of the Quadrilatero d’Oro  (Golden Rectangle) the designer clothes are beautiful and classic; the windows are bright and alluring, the people are attractive, the heels are often stiletto, the suits fit just right, and it’s all really quite nice to take-in.  It has begun to rain hard, now in Milan. Lucky for us the famed Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle shopping arcade is enclosed and boasts some serious shopping: Prada, Gucci and others… 

Just as spectacular is the rooftop of the Duomo:  245 steps to reach the top of this beautiful cathedral is a "forest" of Gothic spires with carved statues, angels, gargoyles and views of all of Milan. This is the third largest church in the world, it took almost 430 years to build, starting in 1386. There are 3500 exterior statues carved out of the marble columns and spires. Because it’s raining, we nearly have the rooftop to ourselves, it’s serene and romantic and we enjoy the details of the fašade, the splashes of the rain drops on the white marble shingles and the bustle of the umbrellas down below in the piazza (plaza).

OK...Back to the hustle and bustle and shopping below… it has started to pour, so; wet hair, wet shoes, dripping umbrellas: not so sexy and sort of takes the mood out of haute couture shopping for the moment… we stop for lunch- risotto alla Milanese and a glass of white for Dawn and pappardelle with porcini mushrooms and Chianti for John.

We want to note, although this blog tells the story of romantic travels across beautiful places; let’s be honest- it isn’t always so: Milan is dotted with graffiti, honking taxis and noisy scooters, small street signage and oh, we didn’t get the memo: NO driving in Milan on Sundays…whoops (more from John on his run-in with the Polizia, later). Our hotel is ”fashion over function”, and suceeds at neither.  Unhandy when you’re living out of suitcases for nearly three weeks… the lack of space, shelving, hangers, side tables, towel racks plus 20 euro breakfasts – our patience has been tested and did I mention, our shoes are soggy.

After an afternoon espresso, the rain has subsided (thank God, as it has rained every day that we’ve been in Europe so far), we’re headed back out to enjoy some more sites and of course some more shopping: we’ll have to see if three days in Milan is enough time to get all of this done! The reality of traveling, regardless of the fact that we’re in the higjh-fashion capital of the world: We should probably do some laundry too, instead of just buying all new stuff.

Tomorrow, we have tickets to see Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece: the Last Supper, one of the largest and most ingenious works created by the Renaissance Man from 1495-1497.

Arrivederci for now, from Milano!
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