Everything is better in Italy

October 8 – Two days in beautiful Milan start with an easy check-in to Hotel Berna close to the train station.  We drop our bags and head to Santa Maria della Grazie for a 15 minute appointment to view The Last Supper by da Vinci.   Spending time with the painting was moving – it’s fragile based on the technique used, and there was a door cut where Jesus’ feet were painted (I guess no one thought it would be such a big deal). Pictures are strictly forbidden so all we have is this picture of the outside of the beautiful church:

Leaving the Last Supper, we elect to spend the rest of the afternoon at the Museo Nazionale della Scienza e Dalla Technologia Leonardo da Vinci.  It’s a meandering museum with drawings/models of many da Vinci inventions as well as a submarine, airplanes, trains, musical instruments – a veritable grab bag of stuff.   It’s a nice enough place for a couple of hours.  A picture for my Dad who’s a huge train fanatic – here I am in front of a very large steam locomotive:

We head back to the hotel by Metro before supper.  This is a view of the very beautiful Milan train station:

In the evening we go off in search of a gluten-free friendly restaurant.  After trying and failing to find our first alternative (in what was a pretty sketchy neighbourhood), we drop back down inside the Metro to head for plan B.   We quickly find the Panta Rei Club restaurant, but spot an actor in a sparkly vest inside (although we fear this can’t be a good sign, we’re hungry and decide to chance it). A wonderful man having supper acts as our translator and we end up having really good thin crust pizzas in a place that doubles as a performance space and live music venue.

October 9: The day starts out visiting the Duomo (see an earlier post for a photo blog of the most beautiful church I’ve ever seen, including a number of pictures from the roof).   Next to the Duomo is the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a higher end shopping and dining facility (stated to be the oldest shopping mall in the world).  The inside is uniquely Italian and stunning:

Inside the Galleria, there’s a mosaic on the floor of a bull.   Superstition has it that placing your right heel on the bull’s testicles and spinning will bring good luck.  Never one to turn down an opportunity for improved luck, here I am giving it to the bull:

It’s hard to believe this is a shopping mall.  Italy does everything the right way.  Here’s Jodi outside the mall – looks a bit nicer than centre court at Mic Mac:

Just around the corner from the Duomo is the world famous opera house Teatro alla Scala:

After a bit of a walking tour, we stop for coffee.  Here’s the best cappuccino I’ve ever had (by this point on our 2nd day in Milan, I’m really developing the opinion that everything is better in Italy… and at this point, I hadn’t even had any wine yet):

After a day exploring the city, we head out for an eagerly awaited supper at Be Bop.  It’s a restaurant in the Porta Genova neighbourhood not visited by many tourists – there’s a crew of regulars there.  It comes highly recommended and it doesn’t disappoint.  It has a full gluten-free menu for Jodi including really wonderful gnocchi:

A great aspect of this restaurant was the wine.  Here’s the bottle we selected – it’s from Lombardi, was incredibly delicious and only cost 13 Euro (!!!!!).  In fact, the entire wine list was priced less than 16 Euro with some as cheap as 8 Euro.

What sealed my thesis that everything is better in Italy (if not already proven by bottles of wine available for 13 Euro in a restaurant) was that when we went to pay the bill, we were both given a shot of limoncello.  Seriously – it was like “here, enjoy this while we run your credit card”.  Great way to close out our last night in Milan.

Grass didn’t have much time to grow under our feet on this trip.  In the morning, we’d be on a train back to Switzerland heading for Montreux.


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