Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Tourist TRAPPED in Milano

Wednesday, 24 January, 2018

opted to head back into Milan for most of the morning and early afternoon before returning to the Villa Skorpion to break down last night's scrimmage on HUDL.

After making a passable two egg omelette at home to start my day, I proceeded to start the ten minute walk to the Venegono Inferiore train station.

I got there a bit early so, obviously, I ducked into theLe Due Isole bar for a caffe and brioche with Papa Francesco and his lovely bride Laura.

For future note in this post, be reminded that Venegono Inferiore is definitely not a tourist area and that Papa Francesco and Laura offer up a caffe and brioche for a mere two Euros. 

The local train heading to Varese
sporting its graffiti proudly

My train to Milan arrived, on time, about five minutes later.

I headed from the Milan Cadorna train station towards the Castello Sforzesco and Parco Sempione.

Some OLD Walls of the Castello

At one point in history, Napoleon
drained the Castello's moat
and removed the drawbridges

My aim was not to re-visit the Castello today but rather to explore the Parco Sempione that borders the Castello Sforzesco.

At a bridge over a lake

They have BIG swans
in Parco Sempione!

Arco della Pace

Originally, this was an arch of triumph with Nike, the Goddess of Victory, atop with her chariot driven by six horses. It was built with the horses facing Paris to welcome Napoleon's rule and to celebrate the French Revolution's ideals.

When the Milanese finally realized Napolean's megalomaniacal tendencies, they turned the horses around so that their tail ends faced France.

I took a closer look at the figures carved onto the Arco della Pace. 

The snake losses another one

TALL arch

I think traveling light
is always a good thing

A club and a wolf's head
always make a fashion statement

Fluted Corinthian columns
are the only way to go

Quite an impressive structure

My next stop in Parco Sempione was to check out the arena that hosts mainly track and field events nowadays.

Gradually, I started to feel a discomfort that could only mean one thing, I needed a restroom break soon.

Officially it is Arena Gianni Brera
but most just call it Arena Civica

It opened August 18, 1807, and has hosted many fun events . . .

. . . and, at least, one serious one

These eight people, apparently fascists, faced the firing squad in Arena Civica at the tail end of WWII for " . . . conspiring away the honor and liberty of the homeland."

Nice sentiment but my discomfort was increasing.

Wait, maybe there is a restroom
open inside the arena


But it had only a porcelain hole in the floor not a needed toilet and no toilet paper.

I was hurting but not desperate.


Keep moving . . .

Outside of Milan's Aquarium

The Aquarium is Europe's third oldest aquarium, built for the 1906 Milan World Expo.

It is the only structure from that World Fair still in existence. 

Nice Squid

Mossy mouthed hippo

Neptune is King of the Aquarium

And rightfully so.

Of course there were fish

Keep moving . . .

Interesting sculpture
across from the
Teatro Strehler/Teatro D'europa complex

Keep moving . . .

Finally on Via Dante I stopped
to eat lunch at the Caffé Dante

And to use their lovely facilities . . .

The Caffé Dante was nice inside

But I ate at their sidewalk's covered, outdoor eating area.

Subconsciously, I knew that this was a tourist trap area. The Risotto Milanese for 11 Euros was the needed clue but, by now, I needed to use their facility desperately.

I thought that the trade-off was OK at this point.

Then I made the HUGE mistake of answering my waiter's query "Something to drink?" with a "Yes, I'll have a Coke Zero, Grazie."

"Small, medium or large?" he said

"Medium per favore." says I.

At the end of the so-so risotto, Laurie's is better. I ordered a caffé to complete the meal properly.

Then the bill came . . .


The three Euros for a caffe was bad enough, remember from earlier in this post that a caffe and brioche earlier in Venegono Inferiore cost only two Euros.

But that was not the worst of it by a long shot.

My medium Coke Zero, with ice and no refills, cost a whopping NINE EUROS, about $11.17 USD!

Mr. Tourist, you have been officially trapped!

Lesson learned, study the entire menu before ordering in the future.

On the bright side of things, I didn't order a large Coke Zero.

Onward . . .

Nice Mosaic

Nicer Gelato

 Giuseppe Parini
Neo-Classic Satirist and Poet
of the Italian Enlightenment

Colorful mini-flower market

didn't know who this was
the other day, it is St. Ambrose

St. Ambrose was the Bishop of Milan in the 4th-century and was an influential ecclesiastical figure in his day.

I don't think that I will tire of 
gawking at  Milan's intricately
ornate Duomo any time soon

Modern Sculpture near
Milan's Museo del Novecento

The Museo del Novecento housed in
the Arengario Palace

Today it houses some very interesting 20th-century art.

Known as the Arengario Palace, during Benito Mussolini's fascist era it served as the City Hall.

Mussolini would famously rant from atop this building to his early on, huge throng of assembled supporters


It is located on the Arengario Palace near the entrance to the Museo del Novecento.

After the Coke Zero Fiasco, the five Euros entrance fee to this museum seemed like a bargain.

Let's take a peek of some of the museum's more interesting items.

 Amedeo Modigliani's
1915 "Rosa Porporina"

Italian's have written books on a
wide variety of topics over the years

 Gino Severini's
1919 "Bohemian Playing the Accordion"

Giorgio de Chirico's
1928-29 "Battle (Gladiators)"

Weird eyes Giorgio . . .

Arturo Martini's
1934 "Thirst"

I missed the the artist and title
on this one

 The Duomo as seen from the
top floor of the Arengario Palace

 The Piazza del Duomo

George Contreras'
2018 "Glass and Duomo"

So much to look at on and in
the Duomo

One of Marino Marini's
many untitled works


Giacomo Manzù's
1947 "Cardinal"

Interesting perspective

 Agenore Fabbri's
1957 "Atomized Grasshopper"

Good museum.

Meanwhile back at the Duomo's outer art works . . .

An avenging Angel?

Back when the Duomo was built, most of the common people could not read. Thus church builder's used these sculptures to illustrate many of the Bible's tales.

Daniel and in the Lion's Den

David and Goliath

One TALL Duomo

Sniffing his arm pit?

Why is he getting huffy with me?

 The Duomo took 600 years to build

Tree in Winter

 Back to the Galleria

I entered the Rizzoli book store in search of a book that my sister-in-law, Gayle Hicks, recommended. 

The book is Beneath a Scarlet Sky: A Novel by Mark Sullivan. The book's hero is a teenager from Milan, Pino Lella, during the early 1940s while the Nazis occupied the area.

They did not have a copy of it but they did have a copy of Nordic Noir author Jo Nesbø's newest Harry Hole mystery, The Thirst.

For an instance I balked at the ten Euro cost of the 632 page thriller.

Then I remembered the NINE EURO Coke Zero.


Finally, before boarding the train back home, I stepped across the street from the Milan Cadorna train station to buy a few minor supplies at the Carrefour Express.

A jar of honey, a loaf of bread, a large bottle of laundry soap and a bottle of blood orange Powerade all for only 9.18 Euros.

Then I remembered the NINE EURO Coke Zero.


Once back home, and after making a decent pasta dish on my own, it was time to break down the offensive line play from Tuesday night's scrimmage work.

We were not perfect by any means but most of our current problems are fixable.

Skorpions remember . . .

Hard Work WORKS!

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