Oh wow, I am so behind on the blog! Forgive me if you have been trying to follow along.
Dad came in to Milano on Monday, and the next 5 days were a whirlwind!
The Camplus Turro staff was nice enough to let Dad stay with me at a VERY low rate, and rearrange my room to host two beds. Let the snoring symphony commence!
When Dad got in, I took him to the same restaurant I went to on my first night in Milano... Gemelli's! Dad proceeded to eat an entire Margherita pizza and clams and spaghetti... and some of my bruschetta in record time. :o) I really will miss that place, and the super sweet waitress that was there every time we went in over the past month.
We hit the ground running! Everyone got up early for breakfast at campus (croissants, yogurt and cappuccinos) and the off we went to the University. Dad sat in on the lecture on Italian Film and even participated a bit with the discussion. :o) After we took a bit of a break for lunch, we set off to see the Last Supper. I repeat. THE. LAST. SUPPER. As in Leonardo Da Vinci. To say it was breathtaking and stunning and fabulous is not even scratching the surface. It brought tears to my eyes, and I'm pretty sure I saw Dad and Cathy welling up also. And... it was huge. I suppose it was my ignorance and just seeing it in photo books and art history classes. I knew it was big, but I had no idea how big. I cannot believe I got to be there, right in front of it. Sadly we were not allowed to take photos, but I got a book from the church with photos and info on it.
I will need to write a separate post in detail on the trip to Stresa, but since it's late and for the sake of brevity, I will summarize. We got up at the crack of dawn to get to Centrale to catch a train to Stresa, north of Milano and west of Lake Como. It was the perfect day for us to go! Beautiful blue skies and we got a fair view of the Italian and Swiss Alps. :o) When we got to Stresa, we hitched a ride on a lake boat and made our way to Isola Bella and Isola Maggorie. Dad has a knack of making friends everywhere... regardless of language barrier. So he set off in befriending the captain of our boat who spoke VERY little English and dad spoke even less Italian. But yet, they talked boats and cars for quite some time. The islands were an amazing mix of gardens, statues and architecture/art. I took a bunch of photos which I still need to load. After the islands, we headed back to Milano to get some work done and to find some dinner!
Dad and I got up and out early with the group and headed out to the Duomo in downtown Milano. We finally got to go inside!! All month I have been looking forward to this. What a beautiful, sacred place. After the tour inside, we rode the elevator (the students took the stairs) to the roof of the Duomo which overlooked the rest of the city. It was raining so we had to tread carefully around, but the photos made it worth it. Dad and I strolled to the piazza duomo after the tour for some lunch. I took him to Biffi's for some caprese and wine. After a filling, uber-Italian lunch, we walked over to meet Alex (our guide) for the Black Death Tour. Basically we hiked around the city (for miles) and talked about the plague and its impact on Milano and Italy in general. The tour took us through areas south of the duomo that I had not been to yet, and we saw three other churches ranging in age. Again... I had a field day with photos!
The last full day in Milano! I took Dad to the Brera Museum for a few hours. He was enraptured with the Caravaggio there, and rightfully so. It was outstanding. We got lunch out there at Bar Brera where again I watched dad consume mass quantities of lasagna and pizza. :o) And he is now a fan of espresso and cappuccinos. Huzzah! I had grading to do so we came back to the dorms for a bit and hung out with Cathy before heading out to the farewell dinner with the group. It was bittersweet for sure. I had a lovely time and the food was amazing, but it was sad to know it was the last time the group would be together. Professors Luca and Mossimo came to the dinner as well and again Dad set off to make new friends. They talked for hours! :o) After dinner, Dad and Cathy talked me in to going out a bit longer with some of the students who were having one last celebration before their early flights. After a long, tiring walk home I was ready to pass out!
Packing. Packing. Packing. I need to reconfigure my rolling bag... as it is currently 52lbs and I have a week in Florence to buy things... Yikes! Dad, Cathy and I spent the day together before Dad and I had to head back to Milano Centrale to catch the train to Firenze (Florence). We had a delightful lunch together and just chatted about the whole adventure. When we got to Centrale poor Dad got pickpocketed by some assholes at the station. I am over that place. :o( All of his cash (over $300), credit cards, license and a money clip that Joan gave him... gone. We didn't even find out until we got to Florence and went to pay the cab driver. To make it even worse, Dad was being cautious and had it in a velcro cargo pocket of his pants. But there were hundreds of people in Centrale and at one point we were stuck in a large group without moving. But, we are both okay and safe.
So a poor end to a great week in Milano... but still a great week. Dad said he is just as happy as he can be, and that he isn't worried about the pickpocketing. So that's a plus at least. His level of calm allowed me to be freaked out a bit. I don't know how he does it. My admiration runs deep.
More later. I must rest!