Friday, February 2, 2018

Ground Hog Day 2018

Friday, 2 February, 2018

Laurie's and my favorite day of the year . . .


It's a long story from our days together at the University of Washington . . .

Batteries recharged, I was back on the train to Milan for more exploration.

My first order of business once in Milan was to get on the Metro's Green Line to the Porta Genoa stop. A short walk ensued towards the Naviglio Grande, Milan's ancient Canal District.

Though not near any lake or river, Milan's sizable port is called the Naviglio Grande. Since 1170 A.D., boats have been able to use this canal system to sail to the Mediterranean Sea from Milan via the Ticino River that flows into the Po River on its way to the Adriatic Sea.

Leonardo da Vinci even designed a lock system for the canals about 500 years ago. Ships used to bring in the marble and stone used in the construction that made Milan into the architecturally great city it is today.

The walk, as usual, brought me by some unexpected sights.

Noble Old Milanese Family Name

Graffiti and Church

Artsy home entrance

Really artsy!

Swans on the canal

The #10 Line

These trams are both colorful and an inexpensive way to explore Milan.

I would use the tram system extensively today.

Huge monument on the
Piazza XXIV Maggio

Orange is the IN color
in Milan transportation

Nuovo Mercato Ticinese

This public market is located on the Darsena portion of the canal systems where boats once docked in medieval Milan.

I always enjoy the colors, aromas and flavors of these European markets.

While the Nuovo Mercato Ticinese did have various stalls selling meat, cheese, fresh fruits and vegetables, I was a bit disappointed by how small this highly recommended mercato actually was.

Let's see what they had to sell . . .


Colorful Produce

Several varieties of blue cheeses

No vegans need apply

Bread literally warm out of the oven

As I said, it was a nice market but quite small for a city the size of Milan. There must be a bigger mercato somewhere in the city.

I continued to explore the area around the Naviglio Grande and bumped into my Church-of-the-Day by chance not design.

Basilica Sant'Eustorgio

It dates back to 1190 A.D.

On the Basilica's Piazza

Old paintings are de requeur
in these ancient churches

Sarcophagus of a Bishop

Interesting Main Altar

The Bishop motif is pervasive in the Basilica Sant'Eustorgio probably because Sant'Eustorgio himself was a 4th-century Bishop of Milan.


A Bishop with horns?

"X" marks the spot

Oakland Raider fans?

Heavenly ceiling frescoes

Frescoes on a column

My "One Church per Day" rule satisfied, I was hungry.

Time for lunch! 

No, I can't start with pastries

Can I?

Ah, Sicilian cuisine


An arancini and a Fanta hit the spot!

A chocolate cannolo for dessert was

Fully sated, I was back on the exploration trail.

More of the Navigli Grande

Super Bowl Parties will be going
on all over Europe

The game starts in the wee hours of Monday morning at 12:30 a.m., Central European Time.

Don't look for me anywhere on the streets Monday until late afternoon.

Ode to Ground Hog Day?


Cool Bridge

EXPENSIVE beard trim

A taglio is a haircut so a haircut and a beard trim here would cost me 41 Euros or about $51 USD!

Hopefully I can find a more reasonably priced barber in Venegono Superiore.

Colorful, rustic seating

I said goodbye to the Naviglio Grande
area and hopped aboard a tram
to further explore

The Mercato Comunale

The city's tram system passed near another public market.

LOTS of cheeses

Seafood too

More than one cheese shop option

HUGE cheese wheels

Colorful produce shop

Flowers are needed on each
and every Ground Hog Day

Red Hot Chili Peppers!

Not sure what these are

The Mercato Comunale was much more like it, great spot!

Statue or Bird Roost?

I continued to explore on foot, working my way back towards the Duomo.

Chiesa Santa Maria delle Grazie

No, I did not go in in violation of my "One Church per Day" rule.

This church is famous for one historic artifact found in its formal dining hall or cenacolo, Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece "The Last Supper."

The Last Supper Tour's
ticket office

Extremely popular, the tours are sold out for the next two months!

The next chance to purchase tickets on-line for openings in April comes on February 13th.


Chiesa Santa Maria delle Grazie
mortar and bricks

The venerable #1 tram

Complete with wooden seats and original fittings, it offered a great view of the city but it made a lot of noises as we traversed Milan.

If it were a submarine, these precarious sounds would have me worried about imminent implosion.

Finally, after a few other tram line changes, I opted to head home via the Castello Sforzesco.

But first, TEMPTATION!


Mossy Castello Sfornisco

Old draw bridge

The Castello's inner courtyard

Goofy faced lion

Then I realized, what about the "One Museum per Day" rule?

Panicked, I headed straight to the Castello's Pietà Rondanini Michelangelo Museum.

Unfinished, it was found in
Michelangelo's Rome studio
when he died in 1564

It was the only artifact in the museum which, while good to view, was a bit overpriced for the five Euros entrance fee.

Then I realized that my ticket was good all day for all 15 museums on the Castello Sforzesco's grounds.

Quite a bargain! 

Again with the frescoes

Brightly painted arcade

Under the guise of being the Castello Sforzesco Museums, I believed that I was well within my rights to visit one more museum on the grounds.

The Museum of Ancient Art it was!

Good mustache

Of course a horse and Knight
atop a Sarcophagus

Shhhh, you are in a museum

Why is there a mini-bull on my head?

Music, a crown and a bearded man,
what more could a woman want? 

Colorful ceiling

I like stained glass

Blue too

The answer is
briefs not boxers

Priest needing to calm down



Medusa in his heart?

A good castello must have
GREAT tapestries

How did they do this?

The Sforza family crest

The Madonna Lia (1495)
by Leonardo da Vinci

He is risen!

He is not

Armory Hall

Wedding Pictures on the
Castello's grounds

Cool helmets

Swords are needed to
defend the Castello

Great Archway . . .

. . . and a peaceful fountain

Another great day in Milan.

Snow next week?

I had a good work-out today

Skorpions practice on Saturday . . .


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