Monday, May 6, 2013

Our New Home

Italy Blog
We left Sacramento at 6 in the morning on Thursday, and arrived in Milan the next day at 10 Friday morning. Intellectually I understand a nine hour time difference. Emotionally I don’t understand it really, especially when my internal clock is going hay-wire. I don’t know how our friends, Josiah and Heidi cart their four children back-and-forth to India! It was all worth it when we saw our friends Gianluca and Egle waiting for us at the airport.
They whisked us off on our next adventure. They live on the sixth floor of a condominium complex. The process of getting into the complex is a bit complicated with all of the different keys. And the elevator is an older style we’ve never used before. The view is great, and Egle has turned their little balcony into a garden. She whipped up a meal for us before going back to work. Pasta with her father’s homemade marinara, sformato ( a quiche with filo dough), and a salad. I was so full I thought I’d never eat again . . . until Gianluca mentioned Gelato. They left us with a set of keys and directions to the gelato shop (they had a concert to go to). We accidentally went to the wrong floor. Here we are trying to open this door, and it won’t open. So we try the key, but that didn’t work either. Finally a man comes around the corner and asks us if we need the dentista? We finally figured out we were on the wrong floor and were trying to break into the dentist’s home.

Saturday morning we took the subway, another first for us, to downtown Milan. First a quick cup of café macchiato, then we set off to see the city. Milan is different than I expected. I thought it was more industrial, but it has an ancient history as the capital of the Roman Empire at one time. Leonardo Da Vinci lived here and painted The Last Supper. Napoleon was crowned king here in Milan. Some of the city plazas date back to medieval times.

Naturally the most astounding site is the Duomo, the Cathedral. It is a meant to be a Gothic style, but being built over a five-hundred year period can influence the design. Our hostess, Egle is an architect. She has given us great insight. Inside the Duomo is a grotesque sculpture of San Gerolamo. He was skinned alive for his faith . . . he stands there with his skin drapped over his shoulders like a fashionable Italian scarf.
We walked until my legs felt like they were going to fall off. Lunch was a deep-fried fried ham and cheese sandwich at the popular street-side restaurant, Luini’s. They have been feeding the masses since 1888. We ended the evening at a small restaurant where, believe it or not we ordered a Tex-Mex hamburger!
The next day we went to Mass in Monza at their Duomo. More  coffee, pizza, beer, wine. Then Gianluca and Egle took us to her public high school. It is the former villa of the last king of Italy, Umberto the First. He gave it to the community upon his death. The grounds are massive and lush reminding me of the movie ‘Count of Monte Cristo’ or ‘Pride and Prejudice’. It had a lake for fishing, an area for hunting stocked game. We went back to the Duomo and had a private viewing of one of the most important church relics in the world, the coronation crown for the kings and emperors of Rome and Italy. It has the nail used to crucify Jesus imbedded into the interior rim of the crown. The outer side is a crude gold band embedded with semi-precious stones, such as amethyst . It was originally the crown of Constantine in the sixth century.

We came home and drank more wine, ate more food, and watched ‘The Tourist’ to get us in the mood for Venice. Now I am trying to stay focused on writing as we rocket through the valley leading to Venice. We just passed Lake Garda and Verona (famous for the story of Romeo and Juliet). It is overcast, drizzling and beautiful. Gianluca and Egle have been amazing hosts. We are going to have our work cut out for us when they come stay with us!

1 comment:

  1. It can be brutal! I hear that melatonin helps with jet lag but haven't tried it yet...