Milan Tour

We took a full day tour of Milan with a guide named Donnatella because we only had one day to see it all.  We were out a good 12 hours and our feet were killing us right after.

Here’s  what we did and saw:

Rode an old trolley car

imageimage

 

 

 

 

 

Saw Leonardo

image

 

 

 

 

 

and his beautiful Square and buildings which is now a shopping mall.
image image image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then there is a cool Unicorn on the floor of Leonardo’s building. Take three turns on the shoe of the unicorn with the heel of your shoe for good luck.

image image image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The incredible Duomo

image image image image image image image image image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By the way, we learned of a rich family named the Baromeos who helped finance this church.  Thought you’d like that one Maria since that is your last name! Decendent perhaps?

More gelato

image

 

 

 

 

 

Leonardos and Sartinis Last Supper (I would have loved to talk more about it, but I’m soooo tired, I can’t stay up any longer!)  Sorry.

image image image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

imageimageimage

 

 

 

 

 

Beautiful Medieval Churches with gorgeous frescos (paintings on plaster).

imageimage
image

 

Contemporary Art shops with pics of the Queen with a nose ring and Van Gogh doing a selfie.

imageimage

 

 

 

 

 

image

 

The Giant Finger, strategically placed in front of the Italian Stock exchange, but is meant to signify “Love”.

Little garden
image

 

 

 

 

Back at the apartment we had an appetizer (bread, cheese, salamis) with our host. One minute he was fine and talking to us the next he was disappearing and making himself a steak. I think he was manic depressive. He was getting over a two year relationship with a girlfriend.
Bumpy plane ride to Frankfurt…Mary had a German beer on the plane.  It was HUGE. I had a red wine. We aren’t sitting together unfortunately. My ears need to pop. Ouch!

Going to get our car soon!

Advertisements

Day 8 Florence to Milan

image Thank heavens we are out of this apartment today. I’m allergic to something in here…and so is Mary. I think it’s mould. Tonight should be interesting…we are sharing part of a house.

  1. imageDid a bit of shopping at Ponte Vecchio (first bridge) and bought Frick some Pandora charms of Italy. Bought Bobo some postcards of Firenze and 2 Christmas ornaments.

imageimage

 

 

 

 

 

Writing my blog on the Frecciarossa train. Mary got us Business class tickets. The seats are leather and super comfortable. The waiter popped open a bottle of champagne for us. We are going about 300 miles per hour on this train. So FAST!!! Love it.

Arrived in Milan and met our host Rodolpho. I think he’s weird. Mary & I didn’t realize AirB&B meant we were sharing a place (until it was to late to do anything about it).  I think he was suppose to provide us with breakfast.

I almost died when we got there and all I could smell was cigarette smoke. That isn’t going to help my lung situation. Seriously thought we should leave and try to find a hotel, but there is a furniture design convention in town and I knew the pickings would be slim and terribly expensive. We were stuck and would have to make the best of it. We had a full day tour the next day and would t be in the apartment long anyway. At least our room didn’t smell.

image

We went to an interesting part of town near canals. It was a lively place with lots of young people and outdoor cafes. For $10 euros we got a drink and buffet. Should have taken a pic. But I didn’t. Sorry. Lots of appetizers, salad, pasta and more. We thought that was a great deal until we got the shitters shortly thereafter. Crap! Mary was first. Then me. Had to find a place fast and get a coffee so we could go to the bathroom!

image

Found this handsome Italian dude….

 

 

image imageBridges….

image

I found a lovely, tres moderne lady on a slim canvas which I bought. There were some art shops around which we meanders though.

 

imageOne guy’s stuff was amazing….so realistic. He told me he studied the masters in school. It was pretty funny when I starting talking in Italian. The men always wanting me to keep talking to them because they were trying desperately to figure out where I was from. I think I amused them. Bru told me that while I was in Italy, my pronunciation was something akin to a peasant. Well, they loved it. Most of the people I met in Firenze and Milano were Calabreze which is where my parents are from. It was great. I felt at home. Whenever someone was firing something in Italian to her she would say, hang on a minute. Come find me and then I became translator.  Was fun.

 

Day 7 Venice: Gondola Ride, Here We Come!

Venice Day 7
imageYou have to check out these locks on our apartment doors. Am I missing something or is the security measures a little bit excessive?  Seven locks?

Lord help us if there is a fire in this place. I might as well jump out a window before I could figure out how to get out of this place with all these locks.

image

I cut my hair before I went on this trip. This is what happens after you wash it.

Just so you know. I look like a troll.

I do not give anyone premission to take this or any other photo or written work on my blog to use for there own purposes.  I hereby claim my own copyright.

All I need is for this photo to go viral.  (Well…at least I could make some money off of it so I could travel some more and pay for my cancer treatment!).  That would be good.
imageMary booked us first class tickets on a train to Venice. We got peanuts and an orange juice for the extra bucks.

 

imageWe took a sort of hop on hop off water boat and started exploring. Our first stop was called Ca’d’Oro. The gallery was small and had the most beautiful balcony. I got some great pictures there. The light reflecting from the floor was really neat. I think Mary should get these pics of her framed!

image

I think I want to take a photography course. Loved the way the light shone on the floor in all those cool patterns.

One of my favourite paintings at this place.

image

We travelled on the Grand Canal again and got off at Santa Maria Della Salute (mother Mary’s Church). Salute means health. I was in the right place to say a few prayers for me, some sick friends and those who passed. The church was built in honour of the Virgin Mary for casting out the plague in Venice.

image

Next on my list for sights to visit was the Punta Della Dogana. I really wanted to get this next shot for my post, but atlas it was not meant to be. Apparently the flying donkey with his head stuck in the hole of wall can only be seen after this Sunday. I’ll be in Germany by then. Disappointed I didn’t get to see the real McCoy,  but what can you do?  You must go on, despite disappointments. So for your viewing pleasure, here is a picture out of the book (Fodors 25 Best – Venice) which Bobo gave me before we left. Thank heavens for the book or I wouldn’t have found my way around Venice and I wouldn’t have known about the jackass without it. And for you, my loyal readers, here’s a pic of it from the travel book.

image
We made our way to the Basilica di San Marco where we were swarmed by pigeons!  I laughed.  If my cousin Bru was here with me she would be running in the other direction screaming her head off.  After watching a scary Alfred Hitchcock movie about birds, she has a thing about black birds.

image

Time to eat! Decided it would be a good idea to try some Seafood! Yum!  A white wine with a seafood platter for two and an order of Rigatoni with Gorgonzola Sauce (Mary’s new favourite cheese).

Simply Delicious!!!

image.jpeg

After that, I was in a rush  to fulfil a lifelong dream of mine… to take a gondola ride in Venice.
It was a rip off, but I was on a quest and I was determined.
We were the last gondola out because the weather was starting to change.

Alex, our driver, was a bit Standoffish, I think.  He wanted $80 euros ($120 cdn) for 1/2 hour.  For an extra $60, he would provide us with a commentary about the buildings (like where Galileo lived).

Forget that.  Already saw where Michelangelo lived and it wasn’t that exciting.  Galileo would have to be there alive, in person, for me to really want to pay an extra $60 bucks for it.

The sea was getting choppy and it was getting really windy.  It was hard for him to maneuvere the boat and we had to lean sideways to go through a narrow bridge.  Out gondola was elaborate (black and gold) and was used for special occasions…like people getting married.  A sunset gondola ride would have been lovely, but we had to get back on our train to get to our Florence apartment.

Wait I forgot to eat a gelato today.

It’s 9:00 p.m. Not too late to get one!  That’s on my bucket list too…one gelato every day while I’m in Italy!

image

Cheers from Venice everyone!

Day 5: Did Know Mary is Cursed?

This morning we had a hard time getting to our tour.  Called for a taxi… No connection.  Scrambled down the street to find a taxi.  Found one.

However, we missed our tour because our voucher said to be there at 9:30 and it actually left at 8:45.  Nice.  So we were running down the cobblestone roads to the Academia museum for 10:o0 to rejoin our group.

image

We saw  Michaelangelos “David” and many beautiful sculptures because this was where students studied sculpting.


Beautiful marble churches that were green and white marble.

image

imageimage

 

 

 

 

 

Street artists.

imageimage

 

 

 

 

 

image

The mountain Leonardo used to fly his first plane.

 

imageThe apartment where Michelangelo lived with his father and brothers in Venice.

His mother died when he was six. It’s believed that his renditions of Mother Mary was what he remembered his own mother looked like?

All our guides told us he was not a very nice man. He also didn’t have 4 students under him painting his stuff for him like Raphaelle. All Michelangelos paintings were hand-painted solely by him. I’d be cranky too if I was 84 years old and the Pope told me to paint the Sistine chapel. Can you imagine climbing a 4 story scaffold at that age? According to one of my art teachers, Michelangelo was gay and the Pope made it abundantly clear that he would be damned to hell if he didn’t paint his church. (That wasn’t mentioned on the tour). Michelangelo only wanted to do sculptures, not paintings. Doesn’t sound like he was given much of a choice.

Now for some more pics.
Found the most incredible store dedicated to Pinocchio!

image image image image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look, the Mona Lisa on Chemo!

image

Pics from inside the Uffizi Gallery.

image image image image image image image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giottos Bellimage

 

And now. A word about Mary’s Curse. I have no more pictures because my iphone went dead. By the way, I’m sure the spelling of any of my Italian words are incorrect. Too bad. I just get by. Those horrible Italian lessons my parents made me go to on Saturday mornings were useless.

Our morning guide told us a great place to go to eat was on the second floor of the marcatto centrale in San Lorenzo Square. We had the best of everything…appetizers (eggplant, sun dried tomatoes, boccachini, buratta, Gorgonzola cheese on crostini, artichokes, octopus salad), tagliatelle with truffles (that cost a fortune but was oh so worth it…absolutely delicious), Tuscany wine, cafe lattes, cannoli and lemoni gelato.

Then we heard a beautiful voice/band across from where we were sitting, so we decided to go listen for a bit. She was so unbelievably good, I’d pay to listen to her sing. I stood watching. Mary disappeared. I heard my name and turned around just in time to see Mary walking towards me, with a waiter right behind her carrying a large round tray with a LARGe glass of beer.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

Mary stops dead in her tracks to tell me she found us a table and whips around. Guessing the waiter wasn’t about to stop, I yelled “MARY”, as the glass and platter flies through the air and splatters all over Mary’s coat and floor. Opps .

The waiter starts muttering something in Italian and wipes up the floor. Mary shrugged it off and said, “Oh well”, and sat down. I had to go to the gabinetto and left. When I got back Mary said we needed to go, “Now!” We started to walk away from the place when all of the sudden we hear a CRASH! Another tray landed on the ground with two espresso cups broken on the floor. Same poor waiter, with the same look he gave me when the beer went flying. Mary said, “Quick, let’s get out of here! Don’t turn around.”

Then she tells me she’s cursed when we got outside. Apparently while I was in the washroom, the same waiter went by her with a champagne flute which also went flying through the air and went crashing to the ground. Good grief. Apparently this has happened to her before. I told her the waiter probably thought she gave him the evil eye and now had to find someone to oil his head and get rid of the curse! Gotta show Mary where she buy the Italian Evil Eye warder offer charm when we get to Venice!

We spent a couple of hours later listening to a fabulous guitar player/singer near a lovely Cafe. We had tea and a cafe latte. It was the perfect way to end an evening…next to a warm fire with dotting waiters.

Day 4 from Rome To Florence

We are on our way to Florence today.

image

 

I will miss our little apartment, it’s hot tub, and pretty patio.

image

We had a wonderful time in Rome.  It was amazing.

Can’t wait to see what Florence is like.

As of yet, we haven’t been mugged or attacked by gypsies.

We did get ripped off by a Pakistani man at Popolo Square for flowers (which we didn’t want).  They were thrusted in our face.

He was a good talker.  He suckered us out of some euros.

Now Mary and I have a system when we want to buy something.I listen in Italian and tell her what the guy says in English.
She says no. We walk away and then all of the sudden, it’s 1/2 price!

It’s working well for us.

———————

When we got to Florence we took a cab from the train station.  Mary thinks he ripped us off because it was $7.40 when we arrived at our apt, then it suddenly turned to $12.40.

We meandered around and found a quaint little Italian restaurant.  I asked our waiter (from Nepal) to recommend something.

Needless to say, we ate some wild boar with pasta.  Chunky pieces of meat.  Must tell you that it was pretty good.

Actually tasted delicious with red wine!  Mary’s turning me into a lush!   I never drink wine, and now we are having it with all our meals.  She says we have to try all the pastas, oils and wines of the region we are visiting.

Walked around Florence.  Quite a lovely place.  This is the covered bridge at Ponte Vecchio.

image

 

Day 3 Rome: The Vatican, Sistine Chapel & St Peters Basilica

Today Mary and I went to the Vatican and had a gelato while we waited for our tour.

There was lots to see…tapestries, maps sculptures, Emperor Nero’s giant sized bathtub, well-crafted wooden confessional booths, and there were several bodies of previous Popes.

The guide was boring and then she dumped us at St. Peter’s Church, handed us a pamphlet and told us to go check it out ourselves.  So what did we pay her, our guide, for?

Mary told me she learned more from me than our tour guide.  I told her I was going to set up shop and do my own tours (but I’d probably get kicked out because I know the x-rated version of the Vatican).

At night our host Guiseppe took us for a 2 hour night tour around Rome and we got some cool pics.

When we got back at midnight, I set off the alarm at the apartment because I forgot to turn it off when I entered and pretty much woke up the entire neighbourhood!  Opps!  Damn tourists!

Day Uno in Rome!

Mary and I got off to a great start.  We did selfies on the plane and I laughed so much I was crying.

We got to Rome at 2:00 in the morning, got a driver to take us to our apartment and had a lovely meal at an Italian bakery nearby!  Lasagna, zucchini pizza, an artichoke, dolce, Good grief…. the food is to die for!

Guissepes mother (guy whose apartment we rented) drove us to the colosseum. Really nice people.  This area is Toronto’s equivalent of Yorkville.

image

image

 

 

 

 

We took a tour that included the underground areas where the wild animals and gladiators were kept.  They’d pop them up from their cages below via a trap door.  The gladiators were like sports wrestlers of today.  It was just a 1 1/2 show  for put on by trained professionals.  Or they’d pop up a prisoner of war to see a wild animal have fun with them.  The animal was not fed or given water for two days and was very angry when let loose.

image

One of the most fascinating spots I found was this room with a trench in it.  It was where 80,000 people would go to pee when they were at an event.  They’d do their business in the hole with a seat, and then get a sponge on a stick to wipe their butts!  The guide said it was very clean💩 , but I’m skeptical and am thinking there must have been an awful lot if STDs if this really did take place in Roman Times.

Visitors would dip the sponges in the fresh water in the trench and clean their sponge for the next person to use.  Funny how we had a 3 1/2 hour tour and this was one of the most memorable thing about the colosseum I decided to share with you.

image

I’m having a very hard time downloading my pictures to my web site.  It’s so slow it quits on me before the picture is done being uploaded.  The apartment wifi is very weak.  I may have to upload them when we get to Florence on Tuesday.

image

Sorry 😂  I have so many wonderful pictures to share with you too.  So disappointed!  Will try again tomorrow night….its 3:45 a.m and I need to get to bed!