Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Una Notte a Milano

I know, I know, I'm living in France, my blog name is French, I'm supposed to love this country, and yet I spend all my time traveling outside of it. But can I help it if EasyJet is cheap and, well, easy?

We had two weeks of vacation in February, so we decided to go to Milan for a day and then to Marrakech, because the flights were actually cheaper that way. We arrived in Milan in the afternoon, found the airport bus with no problem, and were dropped off at the Stazione Centrale. Following my poor-quality Google map, we found our hotel (after only getting lost once), which was pretty basic, but clean and cheap and with the smallest elevator known to man.

We dropped our stuff off, then set off to find downtown, this time with a decent map provided by the taciturn front desk man. On the way, we found a supermarket and spent a lovely 20 minutes looking at all the different brands and products available in Italy. We snagged some lovely buttery cookies and kept going until we found a square with some interesting sculptures:

Somehow I don't think those have been there since the founding of Milan...

Continuing on, we found some lovely covered galeries, which I think are Europe's answer to shopping malls.

There are some in Paris, too, but these were bigger and even more elaborate, lined with super-fancy designer stores and expensive cafés. They also had gorgeous tiled floors:

Go Romulus and Remus! Suckle that wolf!

After drooling over the many pretty things in the windows, each of which cost more than a month's salary, we continued on our way and soon found the main reason to come to Milan:

The Duomo di Milano is the fourth-largest church in the world, and in my opinion, one of the most striking and elaborate. It looks beautiful from far away, then as you get closer you notice more details with every step, so that when you're right in front of it it's just as captivating and intricate. We couldn't go inside, but we spent a long time just standing in the middle of the square and drinking in the beauty. Then we walked around it (there was, of course, construction, there being a European law that requires that the most famous landmark in any city I travel to be covered in scaffolding while I'm there) and marveled at each and every façade, because they were all very slightly different.

By this time, we were cold and hungry, so we found a restaurant. After dinner, we wandered some more and saw a streetcar that had been refurbished as a dining car! It had a little kitchen and tables and lace curtains, and it traveled around the streets while the clients ate. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera out, and my reactions weren't quick enough to grab a photo, but it was really cool.

Then we caught a subway home (hooray one more to add to my list!) and packed up. There are a few more pictures on Facebook if you just can't get enough.

The next morning we headed out to the station with enough time to grab breakfast in a little café. We both had cream-filled croissants and cappuccinos, which were fantastic. Our trip to the airport was uneventful, and our flight had the most gorgeous views: we flew over the Alps, the Pyrenees, part of the Mediterranean, and finally the Rif and Middle Atlas mountains in Morocco. Of course, at the time we didn't know where we were, so we just kept looking out the window and saying "Look! Mountains! And again! And more mountains!" I definitely recommend the Milan-Marrakech flight for those of you who are crazy about mountains (Dad, I'm looking at you).

Our crazy adventures in Marrakech will be up in the very near future - stay tuned for tales of monkeys and insane drivers and bargaining and orange juice!

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