Postcard From Milan

Monday, February 22, 2016

This past Saturday, Madi and I ventured out to Milan. (How crazy is that sentence? Just casually taking a day trip to Milan, no big deal. WHAT IS MY LIFE?) Anyways, we took the train into Milan. My other roommate directed me to the website to buy the train tickets. It was fairly easy to navigate (well in the English version), until it kept saying "error" once I put in all my information. Thankfully, I had Madi to try it for me and it worked for her. I guess she must had the magical touch! The train company sends you an email with your confirmation and a QR code. Because of the code, you don't have to worry about printing tickets, which is really nice! That morning when I went to screenshot my codes, they were not showing up. I only had just one, but it didn't look the same as Madi's code.  It was super weird, because I had the confirmation and everything else, just not the code. I tried to follow the link for the company to re-send the email, but that didn't work either. When we got to the train and I showed the code I did have, they wouldn't accept it. I got a little panicked, I showed him the confirmation email and he let me on. I started thinking about what I was going to do for the next train, in case they wouldn't just take the confirmation. My first thought was my mom. (when the going gets tough, the tough run to mom... isn't that it?!?) My confirmation email had a PDF, that was not opening on my phone. I figured I could email mom the link, and she could open it on her computer then send them to me. Of course, I would have to wait until she woke up because it was about 2:00am Texas time. When we got settled on the train, I pulled out my phone to try and figure out the whole thing again. Come to find out, when I went to the link to resend the email I was pressing on the confirmation button. So, It was just confirming that I had tickets. Right next to that button, there was one for retrieving. This option allowed me to put in my info to resend it. I got the email again, with the link to the codes that worked! I now had the right codes screenshoted and I could start to breathe. This might just seem like a little victory, but this was a big victory for me! I also realized I get super panicky in situations like these, when little details just aren't working out. I guess I should work on that, but I feel like this semester will give me lot of opportunities to improve on that!

Now, that you have read a long story all about my train ticket, let's get to the good stuff. The night before leaving, I booked a tour to see Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper. This included a little tour, the tickets, and the promise to "skip the line." When I got the conformation, they did not send a time. I called Friday night, and they explained the tour company was closed for the night and the time would come in an email in the morning. I received the email by the time we woke up on Saturday. The tour started at 11:00am. I put the address from the train station to starting point of the museum in my phone. It would take us about 55 minutes on foot. I decided to call the tour company to explain our situation. (feeling really adult today!) They lady assured me we would make it on time if we took a bus or taxi from the train station. She said she would tell the tour guide we would be a few minutes late. (gotta love Italian time). So all was well, until our train was about twenty minutes late to the station. Which made it pretty impossible to get to the tour on time, unless were superheros who could teleport. I called the tour company again, and they were no more times available that day. She advised me to contact the booking company for a refund. So the closest we got to The Last Supper was this postcard. I'll just have to continue to admire the replicas in my Memaw's house for now.  

The train station we arrived into was about a 45 minute walk to the Duomo in Milan. We decided to walk, instead of trying to figure out public transportation in fear that we would get completely lost. Milan was definitely more of a city feel than Florence. Walking to the Duomo, reminded me a lot of walking downtown in Fort Worth. 

We passed this cute, little flower stand!! I wish there was more of these back home in Texas!

We also did some window shopping! I've come to the conclusion I'm a big fan of the antigue-y looking jewelry!

The way we were walking, we hit the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele before the Duomo. This place is home to the first Prada store. I had to get a picture, obviously. 

We walked around this little area for awhile. It was truly so gorgeous!! It definitely matched the store that were there. 

This hat store made me think of Wello! 

Also, why walking around we noticed people circling around a crest that was on the floor. We decided to go over and see what the fuss was about. People were spinning around the bull in the crest design. After watching a few people, we figured you had to do it three times. Still unsure what it meant, but not wanting to waste a good opportunity, I decided to give it a try! Not gonna lie, I felt a little dizzy afterward. When we got home Saturday night, we looked up what this whole thing meant. Here is what Google tells me (so no promise of accuracy)...... the crest is called the mosaic of the dancing bull. The bull marks the spot of the a man falling from the scaffolding of the building. The man was actually Giuseppe Mengoni, who built Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. He fell and died a few short weeks before the project was finished. The mosaic marks the spot of where he fell. There is a worn spot in the mosaic (actually where the bull's groin area... balls... whatever you want to call it is) where people place there heel and spin around three times. This is supposed to bring you good luck to avoid a disaster like Mengoni's death. 

Now that we had good luck, we ventured out to the Duomo. It is stunning! I think I'm still a little bit more in love with the one in Florence, but the one in Milan is just a little different.  I could have just sat there, admired the details, and people watched all day. We took some pictures, but after seeing the line to get in, we decided to find lunch before we went inside. 

We ended up at a restaurant called La Locanda del Gatto Rosso. (Megs, the cat on the sign made me think of you!!) It had high ratings on Yelp and Trip Advisor, so that was good enough for us. They seated us at little two person table by the window. They took our purses and hung them with little purse hangers #fancy. He also brought us a basket full of bread, so I was already loving this restaurant. Madi looked up earlier in the week, typical dishes in Milan. One was risotto with saffron. This happened to be on the menu and we both ordered it! The risotto came in a parmesan crust. Truthfully, the color was a little of putting at first. I think it reminded me of mustard..... and I hate mustard. After the first bite, that thought was no more because it was SO GOOD! They even bring you a little treat at the end. All in all, a very good meal. 

The waiter might or might not have commented on our matching purses. Oops. 

With our stomachs full and satisfied, we headed to get tickets into the Duomo. The ticket included entrance into the Duomo, the Duomo museum and entrance to the top of the Duomo. The windows inside the Duomo were breathtaking!! I was also a little obsessed with the tile........ can I recreate that in a future home?? The museum was nice, they had a small replica of the Duomo. Madi and I both wondered how long that took to make. Going to the top of the Duomo had to be my favorite part of the day!! The stairs up were not my favorite, but it wasn't worth paying the extra money to take the lift. They just were a little to crammed for my taste. Once you reached the top, it was gorgeous. It was crazy how detailed everything was even at the top. You could then climb up one more flight of stairs to get even higher. I'm not one to be scared of heights, but I sure did hold onto that rail going up. It was crazy to look down and see all the people below you.... they all looked so tiny!

We could still hear the street performers from the top!

Gelato stop for all the climbing that we did!

From the Duomo, we headed back into Galleria Vittorio Emanuel to sit down at the benches they had inside. While sitting, we noticed two men in capes walk into the center. They seemed to be like police of some sort, but we not really sure. One thing is for sure, was that they were tall and GORGEOUS.... well really just the one with the beard! As we continued to see what they were doing, people started walking up and taking pictures. I knew we had to go join. My new motto is that if I want a picture, I better take it because who knows if it will be there next time. As we were about to walk over there, the caped men started to walk away. But, the story does not end there! The caped men eventually came back, and as soon as people started taking pictures, we made our way of there to grab a picture! I look so awkward in the picture, but that's okay!

We still had a little time to kill before making the walk back to the train station. We decided to go into a department store called La Rinascente. They have one in Florence, but the one in Milan was HUGE! It was at least 5+ floors. You could do some serious damage in there. We rode the escalator to the top floor, where they have restaurants and a market type of thing. I ran into more chocolate, this time purses and shoes! 

By the time we walked backed to the train, Madi and I were ready to be home. It's funny how much of a home Florence and our little apartment has become. We might have only been here for three weeks so far, but it certainly feels longer! The train ride home was uneventful. But once we got to the train station in Florence, I had to take off my shoes..... they were killing me! I know, I know what y'all are thinking. Trust me, the thoughts went through my mind as well. But every step hurt, and I knew I just couldn't make it back home. Madi even offered, to switch shoes, but I declined. That is when you know you have a good friend, when they offer to switch shoes! While it might have been the grossest thing I have done so far in Florence, my feet never felt better! So much for new boots, I guess i'll have to stick to trusty Nikes for now. When will it be socially acceptable for me to wear sandals here?? I'm already counting down the days!!


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