A Day in Milan

Day 9 (Friday)

Friday morning we enjoyed another delicious family-
style breakfast, grabbed our bagged lunches, and took the train to Milan, Italy. As soon as we stepped out of the underground station, there were people trying to sell bracelets made of string with small colorful threads wrapped around them. They were very forceful, and we had to pull away to keep them from tying them on our wrists. They kept saying “one euro, one euro.” After shaking my head the man said “one frank.” I told him I had no money, and he responded by offering it to me for “one dollar.” I continued walking (he was walking alongside me), and repeated that I had no money and still had to withdraw some. He then said “free!” so I stopped and let him tie it on my wrist. Then he tried to give me another one for a friend, and continued asking for money. I shook my head one more time and started walking, and, having given up, he let out a breath of
disgust and turned to the next victim.

As we walked out of the station the Duomo was straight ahead, with its lofty spires stretching skyward. Before entering, we regrouped to distribute tickets and discuss the day’s plan. After looking around inside, those who wanted to would go around to the side of the cathedral to climb the stairs to the top, and after that we had free time until 2:00, when we would meet up and visit Da Vinci’s Last Supper.

The inside of the Duomo was magnificent, with enormous stained glass windows throwing hues of color inside the dimly lit cathedral. There were countless works of art and sculptures depicting famous scenes from throughout the Bible. There were candles burning that visitors could light for a donation of a couple euros, and there was also a gift shop. I understand that they have to find ways to support the church, but I thought it was especially tacky that they had flashy machines would stretch a penny, imprinting religious symbols on it. These machines were not even with the gift shop, but rather in the back of the cathedral, in front of sculptures and other pieces of art.

Upon exiting the Duomo, we went around to the side entrance, where stairs and an elevator led to the top. When we walked around the side where they were renovating the cathedral, I saw that they also cover the construction just like I observed in Munich. I was surprised, however, that would advertise on the side of a cathedral; nonetheless, there was a giant Transformers advertisement.

From the top of the Duomo, we had a great view of the courtyard of the church as well as to the sides. Even more impressive than the landscape, however, was the architecture of the Duomo itself. The pictures look impressive, but being on top of it gave me the chance to see the extravagance and intricate detail of all of the sculptures, spires, and designs. It was very neat to be able to see it all from up close, and it was truly more amazing that I had expected.

Milan is a very high-end city, and was evidenced by the clothes, cars, and even the architecture we saw everywhere we went. It was enjoyable walking around the city, even though I had no interested in spending all my money on a few articles of clothing. I did buy two gelatos, however, which was probably the only thing I could have bought for less than 10 euros. I also went in the nicest McDonalds I have ever been in (although only to use the bathroom.)

Around 2:00 we visited the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie, where we had an appointment to see The Last Supper. Once we were finally inside, we had about 30 minutes to The Last Supper, by Leonardo da Vinci, and the Crucifixion, by Giovanni Donato da Montorfano. Even disregarding The Last Supper’s fading colors, the Crucifixion is much more detailed and I thought it to be equally impressive.

That evening back at Riva San Vitale we packed up our belongings, then most of us headed out. It was karaoke night at a local bar, so we hung out there for a few hours and sang out hearts out (for the two English songs that they had.) We tried to get Dr. Tront to come down with us, but unfortunately it didn’t work out…. Better luck to next year’s group!