Sunday, March 10, 2013

Boun gournio from Milano

Back again.  Yesterday was a traveling day.  We left our cute apartment in Florence at 10 AM and said goodbye to Marjan our landlady.

Wheeling our 2 bags and carry-on we were again reminded that we brought WAY too much stuff.  Really, I could travel with 1/2 the stuff I brought and be fine. Maybe 1/4th of the stuff.   All I wear is black pants or jeans, and a black shirt with a scarf and my fleece.  And of course, my ugly black shoes, and my Gore Tex jacket when it is raining.  Jerry too.  You just can't believe when you are home, you will only wear that, but you end up doing it.  I brought 7 shirts, 5 of which I have not worn, 4 black pants, 4 pairs of capris, 1 skirt (duh!) and one dress in case we were invited to the palace by Louis XVI (oh yeah, he's dead) 7 shirts, 3 sweaters and a fleece.  If I didn't like this stuff so much I would leave it behind.  Anyway, we hauled these bags to the train station (only a few blocks) and waited for our train.

Trains are such a part of European life, and so foreign to us, I thought I would write a little about them.  They are so freaking cool!
At the cafe waiting.  All kinds of food, even McDonalds,  but you have to be
eating, or pretending to, to wait there.

Now by the tracks, the yellow lights on the sign above tell which train is coming in where.
They don't tell you which track until the train is just coming in, so you have to watch.
We were waiting for #9520 from Veneito (Venice).  It was late.

Once the train arrives the board tells you to get on.  This is a
"fast" train (or bullet).  In France you call it a TVG, but I don't know the
Italian.  From the time it arrives, to the time it leaves you have 7 minutes to get on.

This is the kind of thing that drives Jerry CRAZY, so we waited like cats, staring at the board.  Anyway, on our ticket we know we have to get to car #11 which is at the back of the train  so we hustle with our luggage (no checking it, you are in charge the whole time) down, down down to car #11.  Long way. 200 yards.  Our seats are 16 and 17 so we are at the end of the car, so we go to the last door on car 11 and get in.  Nice young girl there to help us up the steps with these heavy suitcases, then she helps us get them on the overhead rack, then puts her hand out. She is a beggar!!!  We give her change, and she wants more, but Jerry says, NO, and she leaves.  Our seat partner, an Italian, says to us, "Welcome to Italy" and shrugs.  This girl didn't try to help anyone else, just the two old suckers from USA.  Oh well, at least she did something for her money, which is more than most do.

The fast trains are FAST, as a matter of fact, we took some video.  Let me see if I can add it to the blog.

Unfortunately, it is sideways, because I don't know how to turn it, but you get an idea of how fast it is.

  I took a picture of the speed, at one time we were traveling 300 km/h  which for those Americans who never learned the metric system is 100kmh=60mph so 180mph!  The cars next to the train are on an interstate and you know they are clipping along, but they look like they are standing still.

When we arrived at Milan we decided to drop off the dead weight of the suitcases at the hotel, which was very close.  We are at Hotel Garda, which is very Italian, but nice.

Street out our window

Looks like the inside of a candy box

Then we went back to the station to secure our tickets for Lyon on Monday.  When you wait in line in Italy you get a number (like the bakery) and then the # shows up on the screen and which line to get in.  Takes a while to get used to the system. 
train station, designed by Mussolini

When it was our turn we found out since we were traveling to another country, we were at the wrong station, so we took a cab to the other station, and figured out how to get to Lyon, France.  We will have a layover in another French city, and then on to Lyon.  Good thing we did it today and not waited until Monday.

The day was pretty much shot by now, but we had 2 more things to do.  One of the reasons we came to Milan was to see d'Vinci's The Last Supper, which we had advanced tickets to see at 6:30.  We had no idea where this place was, so we decided it was money well spent to take a taxi from the hotel.  It was raining, and dark.  Good thing we took a cab, we would have NEVER found it.  

The Last Supper was painted on a wall in a monastery by Leonardo at the request of a Duke who wanted the monks to have something to look at during dinner.  It is a masterpiece that is falling apart because it was painted directly on the wall and not done in fresco.  So they only let 15 people in at a time, and make you go through de-humidification chambers before you get in, and then you can only stay 15 minutes.  Now, I am not a particularly religious person, but this was Magical.  You can't take photos, but I took a photo of a photo.

I honestly didn't want to leave, and I have seen it on TV, in books, etc. all my life.  The perspective is perfect.

Now, we are hungry  so we taxied back to the hotel and asked for a recommendation.  We walked and walked and never found the place they recommend, but this one would do.  Pizza for Jerry, tortellini with ham and cream for me.  Yum!

Even these little joints have linen tablecloths, real wine glasses.

Back to hotel, and bed.  Well, bed for me, Jerry was up half the night, but.....what can you do?  Today is see the famed Milan Duomo and just hang out.  We have to leave tomorrow EARLY (our train is 8:40 AM) so nothing too exciting.  Looks gray but not raining.  HOORAY!  Ciao!

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