Some people have asked me to post again my Travel Journal of the whole month I spend in Italy on July/2005. On my old webjournal I posted some pictures, but they are not online anymore, so I'll post some new ones.
Before I start, I wanted to relieve some stress: I wanted to go to Oasis's concert, but the student tickets were sold out on the first day! Nobody wants to pay for the full ticket so I don't have anyone to go with me (Marcela, this was for you). I don't have the courage to go by myself in the crowd. Anyway, back to Italy, I'm posting again my Travel Journal because I was asked, too and it is the first time I"m posting it in English. Now be nice and push the comment button.
Click on the images to make them larger.
07/04 . Monday
I arrived at Malpensa/Milan's International Airport around 4pm (local time, which is five hours later than Brazil's time), I got a taxi to the hotel and as soon as I dropped the luggage in the hotel room I asked the receptionist where was the famous Via Torino (Turin's street). Luckily, the street was just two blocks from the hotel I was staying.
I walked happily through the street, finding some good stores and old monuments along the way. There was San Satiro, a church that was on my list of "things-I-desperately-need-to-see". When I arrived at the end of Via Torino I found myself in the HUGE Duomo' square (Duomo means the main church of the town) It must be bigger than a soccer field (I'm not sure, I've never been in one).
When I could get a better view of the square I found myself face-to-face with the enormous and exuberant Duomo di Milano. I heard that it is one of the biggest gothic cathedrals of Europe (the biggest is A Sagrada Familia by Gaudi in Barcelona, Spain). It is 515.09 feet tall and 301.84 of width. Aparently the construction started around the 14th century and only finished five hundred years afterwards. I've never seen so many statues and towers in the same place.
I stopped to chat with a guy and he told me that each statue in the Duomo was made by a different artist from different parts of the world to symbolize the union of the mankind in this cosmopolitan city.
The sun only went down around 9pm. I didn't know the days were so long in the north hemisphere. It was a pleasant surprise.
07/05 - Tuesday
I woke up around 7am (I couldn't sleep longer because of the time change and because at 5am the sun was already up and entering my window.). I had breakfast and walked once again to the Duomo to record it all. I forgot my camera yesterday, duh.
I walked inside the Duomo this time. Inside is fabulous, fantastic, I've never seen such high ceiling in my life! It had exactly 52 columns and various tombs and statues and paintings.
The altar shines with so much gold (I heard it?s the medieval treasure of the city) and I ask myself how can anyone concentrate on praying with so many blinding beauty around them. I could go in there everyday just to see the paintings and the architecture.
Anyway, I walked out and crossed the square to go to the Galeria Vittorio Emanuelle 2nd (it was on my list, too). When I saw the front I had to go inside. It's had a stunning architecture, with a high and circular top with fancy stores and restaurants (I bought a Ferrari tennis shoes in there).
On the other side of the Galeria, was another square, La Piazza Della Scala, it was named after the famous theatre that lies right across the street. In this square there is a statue of Leonardo Da Vinci in the center. I tried to enter the theatre, but it was an opera night and I didn?t have the right clothes. I gave up (which I repent deeply) and crossed the town to go to the Castello Sforzersco.
When I saw it in the distance I thought "wow, look at the size of that stuff!". It's a castle built around the end of the medieval era, with an intimidating front that must have scared away many enemies in the battles and the inside was good enough for a royal family. In the entrance I could see the huge iron gates (opened to visitors, thank goodness!)
There is a beautiful fountain in front of the gate and when I saw it there only a small amount of water flowing, but when I got closer it must have read my thoughts because sudden there was this huge waterfall-like spilling over all the tourists.
I walked through the internal garden and through two more Gates, reaching the backyard. It must be as huge as São Paulo's Jardim Botanico (which is as big as NY Square Garden). I imagined the princesses having a nice afternoon walk in their with their company maids.
I was curious to enter the castle, so I returned to the front, checking for any door. I was a small one where people were entering. I found out that inside the castle was a museum. It took me three hours to walk around everything (and I made it quick because I was starving). There must be around fifty rooms, each one with a theme.
There was the archeology room, with pieces of the local research, there was the painting?s room which had artwork from all History of art, from ancient Greek to modern. There was the armor room, and the weapon's room. Then I had to go up a tiny and old staircase made of wood and tiny brick corridors (some of the corridors went down earth to where I assumed the dungeons were) to go to the other part of castle where the musical instruments room was. I saw violins, rare ones, guitars, and pianos.
The piano room was the last one and I had to return all the way down to go out of the castle. I found out that inside old castles you can feel freezing breezes everywhere. It was a nice day, Illuminating and scary. I completely loved it.
07/06 - Wednesday
I walked to the main train station from where, tomorrow morning, I leave for Venice. I was really happy to see that there was a subway that would take from the hotel to the station, which means I don't have to spend on taxis.
I went to the castle again today (I am so in love with it!) to explore the garden a little more. I saw that people use it the garden as a beach. They lay on the grass and sunbathe lazily. There was also the arena for horse race and in the other side there is this arch with a cavalry attacking.
I had to see Milan's most famous painting. The Last Supper is in Santa Maria delle Grazie's convent and I must confess that I almost didn't enter because the gates seemed to be always closed and it look abandoned. It's sort of spooky.
I walked in the streets seeing the famous stores like Versace, Gucci, Valentino, Giorgio Armani, Prada, Louis Vuitton etc etc.
Of course I couldn't leave without it, after all Milan is the Fashion City. Sincerely, I didn't care for the clothes I saw there, the prices are impressive, but the clothes are not my style. They love fur coats here and I felt really angry when I imagined how many animals died for one small coat.
07/07 - Thursday
I woke up really early to get the train to Venice. The trip took around five hours until I arrived at Santa Lucia' Station.
When I got the taxi for the hotel I found out that the hotel was in a city before Venice! It was about nine miles away from Venice!
I'm furious at the tourism agency! In the hotel they told me that the train to Venice wasn't far away so I decided to walk there.
I started walking? then I found out the station was 3 miles away from where I was. When I arrived at the station I saw that it was too late to go to Venice, so I walked all the way back to the hotel.
At the reception I asked for a taxi the first thing in the morning. Tomorrow I'll go to Venice and spend the whole day there to compensate today. I want to blow the agency up even thought they owner is my relative. It was really cruel to book me a hotel out of Venice!