Passing through Milan

Sunday, 16 March 2014

I arrived in Milan and gaped in awe at the huge, multi-levelled station complex, all done in marble.  I spent some time wandering around the complex.  I could have checked my bags in at a “luggage hold” office, but thought it a bit costly for such a short time.  Besides, walking around with a full pack was good training for the Camino.

I thought it a pity to be in Milan for a few hours and not see anything.  However, being a Sunday, the tourist offices were closed so I couldn’t get any information. Eventually I found an office open and asked the location of the cathedral.  Since it was only a few stops away on the Metro, I decided to make a visit there. 

I arrived in the plaza.   The cathedral is certainly an impressive building, dominating the piazza.  As I was still carrying my luggage, I was not allowed to go inside. No suitcases! No backpacks!  Even hand bags and small day bags were searched before entry.  No entry!  However, I was content to stay outside and admire the building from the outside.

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Then I went for a walk beyond the piazza.  Again, I was astonished at the size and elegance of the buildings in the downtown centre.  They were truly lavish, great Italian flair in looks and design and artistry.  The goods on display showed similar Italian flair for presentation.  I guess the prices also reflected a similar sentiment.  I was quite content to window shop!

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Although I had not been able to enter the cathedral, I found another church nearby and said my usual prayers there.

Then I caught the Metro back to the train station and took a bus to the airport.  I had thought the airport would be quite near, so was surprised how long the bus journey took.  It seemed like forty minutes!  I was amused at the name of the airport, Malpensa, no doubt some famous citizen of Milanese history, but to my pig Italian, the only translation I could think of—and I could be completely wrong—was “bad thought”!  Not the most positive name for an airport, me thought! 

I caught my flight and duly arrived in Barcelona, one step nearer to the Camino.

Bus, train, metro, bus, plane – from Bobbio to Piacenza to Milan to Barcelona all in one day – it was quite a busy day!!! 

There was a film some years ago called “Planes, Trains and Automobiles”, about a man in the USA trying to get home for Thanksgiving and the misadventures to which he was subjected!  I felt a bit the same as he did.  The pace of my day and the places I covered all too briefly were indeed a bit hectic so at the end of the day I was glad to settle into my hotel in Barcelona for a good night’s sleep.

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