Wednesday, March 7, 2018

50th Day Living in Italy and Sightseeing With Friends

Tuesday, 6 March, 2018

Today marked the 50th day of my marvelous Varese Skorpions adventure. 

Most of this chilly day was spent in Milan again having fun acting as a tour guide for former Rio Mesa H.S. Counselor/Track Coach Bill Garner and his son Troy.

We were set to meet in the lobby of their Hotel Berna near the Milano Centrale train station at 10:00 a.m.

I was up early and caught a sooner than expected train into Milan.

Another hotel near the Hotel Berna


In our Camarillo home GLAM was always an acronym for George, Laurie, Andy and Mike.

Now we own a hotel in Milan . . .

 I needed a cappuccino and brioche,
so I entered a bar just around the
corner from Bill and Troy's hotel

I was about an hour early so beside needing sustenance, I also needed to kill a little time.

The café bar had an artsy feel to it as this painting attests.

Basilica di
Santa Maria delle Grazie

Troy and Bill outside the Basilica

This Basilica is famed for housing Leonardo di Vinci's most famous mural The Last Supper which is hidden away on a wall in a refectory adjoining the Basilica.

Usually you need reservations months in advance to see di Vinci's masterpiece. Laurie and I have tickets to see it in May.

Knowing this we still proceeded on a lark to see if Bill and Troy could somehow get in today. Perhaps someone had cancelled at the last moment.

No luck, the next opening was two weeks away and the Garners leave for California tomorrow.

We decided to enter the Basilica instead.

Simple choir area but it had . . .

. . . ornate choir stalls

 Santa Maria delle Grazie

Fantastic ceiling art

Lots of fantastic ceiling art

It was lunch time so we walked to one of my favorite little haunts for a round of delicious pasta.

 Lunch at Simon's Ristorante

Well prepared food with interesting conversation always makes for a good meal.

After a 90 minute lunch, we were back on the streets headed randomly to . . .

San Maurizio al
Monastero Maggiore

This is the incredible church that I visited a few weeks ago with so many splendid Bernardino Luini murals that it is known as the Sistine Chapel of Lombardy.


 Unicorns getting on Noah's Ark

Mary collapsing at
the foot of the Cross

Biblical violence

Lots of biblical violence

Again with the colors


Blue works for me

Castello Sforzesco Museum

Bill had read in his guidebook that this library offered free admittance on Tuesdays after 2:00 p.m.

Well, it was Tuesday and it was exactly 2:00 p.m., so we took advantage of the deal that saved us five Euros apiece.

Wolves? Dragons?
A snake perhaps?

A lion I'm sure

And a well tanned lion too

I just liked this little bishop
praying for a growth spurt

This return trip to the Castello Sforzesco Museum allowed me to view another of my 111 Places in Milan That You Must Not 
Miss book's interesting, offbeat Milanese sights.

#109 The Wanton Woman
Federico Barbarossa's wife

This curious marble tablet used to reside in full view on the façade of the old Porta Tosa Arch which was one of the gateways into the old city.

This arch was renamed Porta Vittoria after the Unification of Italy in the 1800s.

Yes, the tablet does indeed depict a woman combing her pubic hair.

In the 12th-century it was the habit for prostitutes to perform this act as part of their hygiene to remove lice.

What is curious is that the woman portrayed is wearing a long tunic and has a crown keeping her hair up as if she were a princess.

This led to gossip that the woman depicted was actually the wife of Federico Barbarossa, the hated emperor who literally razed Milan to the ground in 1162.

Tradition had it that to discredit the emperor properly, you had to mock his wife Leobissa too, thus the publicly displayed  marble tablet.

Finally, in 1566, the ultra-chast St. Charles Borromeo, the Bishop of Milan, had the vulgar bas-relief removed from the Porta Tosa Arch.

It now quietly sits in Room VI of the Castello Sforzesco Museum with no reference to its checkered past.

 Uncomfortable Body Language

This young fellow sits just to the left of The Wanton Woman.

 Blue Ceiling

Red Ceiling

Two swans on a head

Scorching Lombardy Summer Sun

Exiting the Museum

 I've always liked this fountain

More random walking . . .

A HUGE chocolate Easter egg
at Pasticceria Marchesi

Serving GREAT espresso since 1824!

And another

So tempting!

As our three bodies are considered temples, we continued our hike through the city heading towards the Piazza degli Affari without tasting any of these delights.

Remains of a church apse
bombed out by the Allies in WWII
So what do the Garners think
about President Trump?

OK, titled L.O.V.E., it is actually the famous 36 foot tall, Carrara marble digit made by Mauricio Catalan.

It faces the bold Mussolini-era Milan Stock Exchange building known as the Borsa on the Piazza degli Affari.

L.O.V.E. is the acronym for the Italian words for, in order, freedom, hate, vendetta and eternity.

Finally, in the late afternoon, it was time for us to part company as I had a 50 minute train ride back to the Villa Skorpion and four hours of Skorpion Flag and Senior team practices to conduct.

It was great visiting with Bill and Troy these last two days. Hopefully, some more of our friends and family will travel to northern Italy this Spring.

In the evening, at Skorpion Field . . .

 HEY, where did all the snow go?

U15 Flag team scrimmaging

Senior Team Pass Blocking
vs. Pass Rush Drill

Senior Team Scrimmage


We had a solid, competitive Senior team practice tonight with our Offensive Line looking much improved.

FIDAF DII Week #2 Action

Bad weather wreaked havoc with most of FIDAF's Division I, II and III schedules this past weekend.

As usual, I will only address what is happening with our four Group C teams and our two non-Group C opponents.

Remember that there are 24 clubs in Italy competing in DII during the 2018 campaign.

Cagliari Crusaders (0-0) at Varese Skorpions (1-0)
postponed due to the weather

Varese Gorillas (0-1) at Busto Arsizio Blue Storms (0-0)
postponed due to the weather

Sant'Agata Knights (0-0) at Bologna Braves (0-0)
postponed due to the weather

BYE: Sarzana Red Jackets (0-1)

1. Varese Skorpions 1-0
2T. Busto Arsizio Blue Storms 0-0
2T. Cagliari Crusaders 0-0
4. Varese Gorillas 0-1

Sarzana Red Jackets (0-1) at Brescia Bengals (0-1)

Sant'Agata Knights (0-0) at Bologna Warriors (0-0)

BYES: Busto Arsizio Blue Storms (0-0), Cagliari Crusaders (0-0), Varese Gorillas (0-1) and Varese Skorpions (1-0)

After two weekends without games, our next game will be a tough one.

It will be a WEEK #4 affair on Saturday, March 17th at 6:30 p.m. at Skorpion Field against the defending Group C Champion Busto Arsizio Blue Storms.


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