Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Many times I find myself wondering how on earth a girl with a death allergy to shellfish, who can't swim and who feels more comfortable in a grey city then in the open air (I keep thinking "police response time") wound up in a place that is so completely opposite what I had ever expected, yet at the same time, exactly what I wanted.

I've been adapting, little by little, to life in a tiny beach village, but I've been thinking of the city more and more.  I missed the movement, the activity, the options - I even started to miss the subway.  The Italian Beer Fest this weekend in Milan brought me the opportunity to spend a few days in Milan, a 3 hour direct train from Monterosso, and the second-largest city in Italy, as well as being the un-official capital of the northern part of the country.  Milan is an incredibly important city not just in Italy, but in Europe, and is known foremost for fashion, industry, economy, and, as I've learned, fog.  Lots of fog.
I can vouch for it's transportation importance (as well as fog, due to my long history of delayed flights from here) as the only times I've been in Milan were to go somewhere else.  I've flown from Linate and Malpensa airports, taken trains from Milano Centrale as far as Vienna, but never actually saw what the city was like.  After the business portion of the weekend concluded at the beer fest, the sightseeing began.

Perched on the roof like a little bird
La Scala
The Duomo is breathtaking, and for 6 euro, you can climb to the top and perch yourself in the spindly, carved facade looming over the busting piazza below.  It is, without a doubt, one of the most incredible buildings I've ever seen.  The inside is just as spectacular, though I was a little shocked we were allowed in on a Sunday morning when mass was being held.  We were both a little uncomfortable, especially when tourists started taking photos of some of the most important parts of the mass - like during the Eucharist.  I'm Catholic (though admittedly, not the most model Catholic), and I know not everyone in every part of the world is, but the idea of entering into another's house of worship and snapping photos, giggling, and taking video of their mass and the people worshipping left me feeling incredibly angry the guards did nothing to stop them.  That's a lesson for tourists everywhere.  Respect the culture around you.
La Scala is a sight, but more a sound, and on a Saturday night we stood next to the front door and heard a long operatic note of Aida.  The Galleria, a long, ornate, covered shopping center, puts any mall I've ever seen to shame.  But all of it is in the midst of what seems like 2 billion people, mainly tourists, running into each other with shopping bags or trying to wobble their way on cobblestone in stiletto heels.  Fresh faced models, skin scrubbed clean, dressed in leggings and sneakers, fold up their endless legs for a cup of tea, and overdressed, over made-up tourists try and pretend they are the ones everyone is watching.  
The Duomo, even more beautiful at night
As excited as I was for the city, I was even more excited to return home and breath in the sea air.  The joy of public transportation ran out after a 35 minute wait for our tram to take us from the hotel to the beer fest.  The crowds got old after the 5,435 person ran into my shoulder.  The mess that is a city can be entrancing but only when it's one you are used to, like New York, but when you are a tourist too, stuck in the middle of the most tourist filled part, the city girl starts to desperately long for her little beach town.  It's nice to get away for a little bit, stretch my legs and explore, but its funny that after all this emphasis on how convenient the city is, I start to think that simply walking down the stairs to the shop on Via Fegina to buy my groceries is actually much easier.  All that convenience of the city, at the end of the day, is actually quite inconvenient.  Though I do sometimes miss the fast pace of a city and the stimulation it provides you, it's always going to be just a train ride away, be it Genoa or Milan.

The Galleria

The Duomo

No comments:

Post a Comment