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Thursday, November 03, 2011

Milan

Day 3: Up early and headed to Maria Delle Grazie where the original Last Supper painting by Leonardo DaVinci is to be found. Unfortunately you have to pre-book to see the painting and as our trip was a bit last minute we were unlucky with the tickets. So I thought we'd still go there and hope for the best. Luckily where we stayed was not far from all this and it amounted to about a 5 minute ride on the train every morning. And once there we could walk everywhere and the streets are so pretty that it's pleasant and fun. We took Tau's stroller of course so we didn't have to carry him though he enjoyed sitting on his dad's shoulders than the stroller half the time. We got to the Grazie and sure enough it's fully booked and we're obviously not the first to think that there may have been cancellations as they had a big sign on the desk to say that there were no cancellations!
DaVinci Codes
However we weren't to be disappointed as in a smaller chapel they had an exhibition of DaVinci's original notes and sketches regarding his works and interest in the universe. We paid our 10 euro each and went in to have a look. The man was a genius. He figured that earth was part of a universe of planets and there were calculations of the distance of the earth from the sun. He tried to figure out the movements of the tides and it's relation to the lunar cycle! It was just awe-inspiring stuff. The relation of the sun's rays and that of a mirror were sketched on the pages. And in the room where these notes were displayed there were cameras everywhere and laser beam security system that they obviously activate at night. The notes were framed in bullet proof glass and within other frames! Apparently it was the first time DaVinci's notes have gone on display and they will make their way around the world to different museums! 


We left the Grazie and walked back through Sforzesco Castle and through to Montepoleone that the hotel receptionist pointed out was more a local area with really good restaurants. On the way we saw a photo shoot going on. I was happy to see that, it being Milan it was nice to see with my own eyes a fashion shoot in progress. Of course the model was freakishly tall with legs that went on forever. She looked a younger version of Claudia Schiffer (hubby's description) keep moving lol. Well as we emerged in yet another piazza there in front of me was a shoe shop. I went inside and found walking boots that I was happy with. I sucked in my breathe and asked the owner how much they were but they were on sale! well hello, what a bargain! Off came the trainers and on went the nice boots and onwards we went.


We found the nice restaurants and stopped to have a snack and a coffee before we continued on to Via Brera where the Brera museum was located. Tau was a bit antsy then so we gave that one a miss. Just our luck it was All Saints day so the town was quiet and a lot of things were closed. We walked on Via Manzoni which was just fashion shops galore. From brands I'd never heard of to Prada, Gucci, Versace and passed the Armani hotel..hello. We went all the way back to the Duomo via Reale Piazza and caught the metro back to our hotel. In the evening we went back Montepoleone the locally popular area and chose a random restaurant. We let the waiter did the choosing for us and wow it was a yummy meal. They have this Italian thing of a vegetable flower stuffed with cheese as an appetizer, that was so yummy. We went home happy once more and what a lovely end to our Milan trip. Next morning we had our last breakfast at the Ottolina on the way back to the airport.


My take
All the restaurants and cafes we ate didn't disappoint us. The food was good. The city is generally expensive but if you make your way away from the main plazas then it's slightly cheaper and this goes for the shops as well. There are some outlet shops around town I didn't go into but through the window the prices were cheaper than the shops on the main streets. 


The Ugly Reality
So there were beggars in many areas, some homeless people with cups asking for money. One scene which was very ironic was on our last night at 10pm as we were walking down another beautiful fashion street, the shops were closed and there in front of the 200 euro for  pants shop window, two homeless people had laid out their blankets for the night. Such a contrast! From ridiculously expensive clothing to people who can't afford a roof over their heads!!! It was also common for people to ask us for money. On the train from the airport a guy comes up with a 2 euro coin, I took it he wanted change so I got out what I had in my pocket and all I had were 2s and one 1 euro so I showed him what I had and he grabbed the 1 euro said thanks and walked off! I was so surprised and he actually had made a grab for the 2 euro as well!! After he walked off hubby then told me that he was warned about people asking for money! No wonder the guy didn't even hesitate to take the money with no intention of paying back! 

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