Not Intent on Arriving: Italy

Thursday, January 6, 2011 – Milan, Italy

After being lucky enough to get a room early in our nice, clean hotel, the

Marconi Hotel

, we decided to rest from our sleeper-car experience and sleep for a few hours before facing the cold and gray weather of Milan. We finally made it out in the early afternoon, and headed over to the

Duomo di Milano

. On the way, we stopped along the Quadrilatero d’O

ro and window-shopped for a while. I think by the time we made it to Milan, we were exhausted of vacationing, because window-shopping in the cold, even for Prada, was just making us both cranky. We meandered briefly through the

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

, which was gorgeous but packed, over to the Duomo, which was also gorgeous but packed. Interestingly enough, there was a Tiffany Christmas Shoppe

opened up outside of it, shaped like a Tiffany box and, presumably, filled with little trinkets to buy your loved ones. (Quickly googling the shop now led to the discovery that the tree under which that Tiffany box stands is the

most expensive Christmas tree in Europe

ever, at $450k to produce. What a vacation for Christmas!)

We stopped for a late lunch at a really good, really filling pizza place near the Duomo, and I wish I could remember what it was called. After some more wandering around, we headed to the Palazzo Marina, where earlier, we had noticed a short line waiting for a Titian show. Roger took a course on Titian in college, and even though he’d promised that the entire first day in Milan would be completely void of art (we couldn’t get tickets to

see the Last Supper, the only art I really want to see there), since it was closing that day and I knew how badly he wanted to see it, we waited on the now substantially longer line, and stood the full hour to get into the show. When we finally made it into the room, we waited on another line, this time entertained by a video morphing the women from Titian’s paintings into each other. It was actually pretty interesting to me, since I really like women in art. We waited patiently, and turned the corner to discover the

show. And by show, I mean, one painting. Donna allo Specchio, the woman with a mirror, which was

being returned to Italy

for the Christmas holiday. We received a lovely little talk about the painting from one of the tour guides, and even though it was in Italian, which neither of us speak, I could tell it was interesting. Then, we looked at the painting for approximately two minutes. It was fine, but really? I’m not so into the Renaissance, and given my already deep resentment for art, I could probably have done without waiting on line for an hour to see it, especially considering how many Titians we’d already seen in the Louvre. But, it makes for a cute story, and was sort of emblematic of our stay in Milan.

Needless to say, we headed back to our hotel for the evening, grabbing gelato at

Bianco Latte

on the way. I’m no gelato connoisseur, and I’ve never really had bad gelato, but this was really, really good. They have a variety of different flavors, along with other desserts and some light meals. The whole place is really open and bright, and the counter-staff (we didn’t sit down) was incredibly friendly. It’s on th

e way to the central station, and out a bit from the center of Milan, but it’s a nice walk over and definitely worth it, I think.

We headed back to the hotel, fully intent on going back out for a late dinner, but once we lay down in the ultra comfortable bed and started watching TV (there were three English channels and one French!), it became clear that I wasn’t planning on going anywhere. Also, we had reached that point in the trip, the saturation point, the moment that almost inevitably happens when we are traveling – the time to buy American fast-food. I’m not proud of it, and I try as hard as I can to avoid it, but when Roger said, “I want a big mac. I will walk in the rain to get one while you wait here in the warm hotel,” I couldn’t say no. So, we split a big mac, fries and a coke. And it was exactly what we needed.

Next Up: Our last day in Europe for some time!