I have already mentioned how I spent my first two hours in Milan looking for my hostel. Tough job, but around midnight, I could finally hit my bed. Yet I did not sleep well, maybe because of the warm weather, maybe because of the hunger. In the evening I had to eat in McDonalds, so I went for the maintenance piece of meat and salad. The bigger was my surprise next morning at the reception, when I found out that breakfast was included in the price. I got only croissant, Nutella and juice, but I did not complain as I intended to shop at a supermarket later. However, I did not know that in Italy, most of the shops are closed on Sunday. City with 1,3 million inhabitants, two football teams, fashion centre; and not a single grocery, where one can buy some food. Never mind, I set out for the sights. Maybe I will discover some supermarket that is open.
I took the bus towards the Central Station. There I changed for metro, yellow line. I got off at the Duomo station, named after the famous cathedral, which was my object of interest number one. Construction started in 14th century in original, Gothic style, but it took almost 600 years to complete. At the top of the 108 m high spire is a statue of the Virgin Mary. You could enter the church, but every visitor was checked by the soldiers and police standing at the door, supervising the appropriate dress code (no shorts or sleeveless shirts), and looking for any forbidden items. Flash-less cameras of the tourist were drowned by the priest reading out the Bible, because it was the time of the Sunday service. I said my little prayer. There was a souvenir shop inside the church, which was surprising, but I would also call it blasphemous. Such commerce, evokes the scene from the Bible, when Jesus banned the vendors and collybists from the Jerusalem church.
Duomo is surrounded by an eponymous square with many important buildings. On the right, you can see the Royal Palace. In the past it was the seat of the Italian government, later cultural centre with many exhibitions and concerts. One of the most famous performers of all time was Mozart. I walked around the Duomo, still looking for some grocery store. All of a sudden, I was approached by an African, who started to tighten some self-made band around my wrist. He told me that he was from Senegal, and inquired about my homeland. Slovakia, nice country, he said. The wristband will bring me good luck. He give me one more, I should give it to my girlfriend. Of course, he asked for some change, five or ten euro. I gave him what we consider change in Slovakia, about 80 cents. Lest, I will have a good luck. As well as some girl, but I do not know which, yet.
Leonardo da Vinci and the Opera
On the left side of the Duomo Square is the Gallery of Victor Emanuelle II. A kind of covered arcade with many fancy restaurants and renowned outlets. I noticed Prada and Louis Vutton. The gallery is a short cut to the La Scala Square with the statue of Leonardo da Vinci in the middle. Standing there on a piedestal, together with four other scholars. But they did not make it to the piedestal. I like the guy, so I took a picture with the statue of Leonardo.
La Scalla is one of the world’s most famous opera houses. Once, I have to go there to watch an opera. But now, I just walked along to get to the Piazza Cordusio, and from there I crossed to the Dante Street, which leads right to the castle. Not far from there was a Decathlon sports shop which I knew from Hungary. I bought a protein bar in case I really won’t find any supermarket. Luckily, it did not happen. At the castle I bought a focaccia bread stuffed with bacon, cheese and lettuce, because I was pretty hungry. Further Africans stormed the place, but I did not want any more wristbands.
Castle and the Last Supper
I finished my focaccia and entered the castle. Castle Sforcezco is a renaissance fortress from the 14thcentury. One century later, it was rebuilt by Francesco Sforza whose family ruled Milan at that time. The castle comprises several museums boasting some fine works of Leonardo and Michelangelo. Outside the castle walls, you could find many souvenir shops, like all around the central Milan. Behind the castle walls lies the Sempione Park, one of the city’s parks. An oasis of natural beauty with many trees, bushes, flowers and people doing jogging, or just lying in the sun. I sat down just for a while, because there were few Milan musts to tick off.
Navigated by the map I crossed the road to get to the Corso Magenta street. It took me all the way to the Dominican cloister Santa Maria delle Grazie. It’s refectory boasts the famous ‚Last Supper‘ by Leonardo. I consider this painting superior to the Mona Lisa. Several great mysteries remain at the heart of this work of art which has experienced a little of history. Except ofthe painting, the cloister itself is of great architectonic value. There is a garden inside with flower beds and tree alleys.
Pleased by the view, but still, I was looking for a supermarket frantically. None. I took the metro and got off three stops later, closer to the San Siro quarter. While walking, I saw a mother with a child and the child was carrying two packs of crisps. Where the hell they got them? Few minutes of hope followed by dissappointment, starring at the food machines in the local hospital. You could buy the chips in the machines, but I rather went for a mineral water, because I was really thirsty.
San Siro and food, finally
Twenty minutes later, I arrived to the stadium. Enourmous metal and concrete construction, home of two Milan’s league teams , AC and Internazionalle. Suddenly, a guy with a camera asked me to make a picture. I agreed if he would also take a picture of me. He was from Egypt, travelling around Europe. We made some pictures and went for the metro. Guy got off at the cloister, because he wanted to see the Last Supper. I went back to the central station. Desperate and hungy, I decided to buy three hamburgers in McDonalds. It would be enough for the whole evening. Just for the record, I walked into the news agents, where I bought my travel card the day before. You can not imagine the joy when I realised that they were also selling fresh baguettes, milk, sausages, yoghurts, fish and other basic foods. I did my shopping and went for the bus.
Killing time in Milan
Following day was the final day of my holiday. I decided to spend it walking around Milan, because I had nothing to do to fill the gap between the hostel check out at 11:30 and my flight scheduled at 22:30. Finally, I came across an open supermarked and bought some food. The prices were quite reasonable, even if compared with Slovakia. Bakery really went up all around the Europe, because of the decrease in crops this year. Anyway, I needed some source of energy, because I would be walking for several hours carrying my bag with luggage and notebook. I took some Arabian bread and went to the cash desk.
From the supermarket I headed towards the central station. I walked all the way from hostel to Duomo Square, stopping only in the public gardens (another park) to eat my lunch. At the square I visited some bookshops, clothes stores and walked round the cathedral enjoying my last hours in Milan. Around six I took a train to centrale and after one hour spent reading Italian newspaper I got on my Airport shuttle. At the Caravaggio Orio al Serio International Airport (I like the name ). Caravaggio was a late Renaissance painter who also painted the Last Supper.
In the departure hall, I went to the toilets to wash myself properly to the degree the circumstances allowed me. Literally, I took of my pants to wash my legs. Dental hygiene was a must, as well. I looked like Tom Hanks in the terminal movie, where he got stuck at the airport. While waiting for my gate to open, as yet another flights were getting ready to take off, I was trying to make a video shot of a plane taking off, but they were too fast and visibility too dark. Finally, the gate opened and I left the Italian ground, just to end up as a homeless in Budapest. But it is an another story.