If you missed Farm Girls go to Italy...Part One, you can read it here.
First stop-Milano, the fashion capitol of the world!
We flew into Malpensa airport, got our first passport stamps (!) and headed across the street to the Sheraton. We
got our first glimpse of the kindness of the Italian people and started running
into other ladies who were joining us on our trip.
I always imagined before traveling to Europe, I would spend
months with my nose in guidebooks learning all about the areas I would visit
and planning out a perfect trip. Turned out that was just a pipe dream.
Debbie and I headed out flying by the seat of our pants,
which is the way Brad and I usually travel-it’s worked out well for us, most of
And it did this time, too!
Before we got off the plane, we chatted with the people next
to us who had been to Italy many times and were returning to visit family. They
told us 2 things we definitely had to see and we saw those things and so much
Janice, one of our fellow travelers, had tickets for a
walking tour which included viewing The Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci. We
tried to book tickets online, but it was all sold out. We
headed that way with Janice anyway, figuring we could tag along if we were willing to pay the money.
Guess what? We couldn’t.
However, we ended up in Duomo Square, right where we needed
to be to see the 2 sites our airplane friends had suggested! I love when things
work out like that.
Dominating this square was the Duomo, or church, that is Milan’s
most famous landmark. The cathedral was absolutely beautiful and took 500 years
to complete. Can you imagine?
A couple of years ago, I read Pillars of the
Earth, which was all about the construction of a Gothic cathedral
in England. The book not only helped me appreciate
the blood, sweat, tears and craftsmanship involved in such an undertaking,
but also, the politics involved.
help but compare the magnificence of the cathedral to our more simple churches
in America. The Master Artists of the past created beautiful masterpieces of
devotion to God. What are The Masters of today creating? Are we missing the boat by going the simple route? This church is quite a bit different than the "warehouse" style churches being built today.
OK. Now my head is hurting. I’ll think about that another
Next stop-Galleria Vittorio Emanuele 2
Translation-A FABULOUS MALL
This was a beautiful shopping area that connected Duomo Plaza
and Piazza della Scala. (I am writing that as if I had the lay of the land
figured out. Believe me, I didn’t! I am directionally challenged and have been
known to get turned around in shopping malls and hotel hallways. Google is
Debbie and I ventured into the original Prada store and had
a great visit with a beautiful sales lady. But, SURPRISE! We didn’t buy a
thing! Nothing had a price tag…..can you imagine?
I found this Prada bag online for $2025.00.
Gulp. I doubt I
ever find one at TJ Maxx or Marshalls-my favorite stores, but trust me, I’ll be
Beth, Debbie and I enjoyed a long lunch and had a BALL watching
people. It was like a 2 hour fashion show. We were especially smitten with a
woman who appeared to be in her 80’s who had on the CUTEST buffalo plaid skirt,
simple blouse and adorable shoes with her hair in a flip.
Proving style has nothing to do with age. BAM!
After lunch, we split up and the two of us began to make our
way back to the train station where we were supposed to meet for our evening Canal
Tour. We got a little confused about the direction we were to go and stopped to get our bearings.
dressed woman began speaking to Debbie about the “ballot”. We soon realized
that she was offering us 2 free tickets to the ballet which began in 15 minutes
in the building right in front of us!
After thanking her profusely, we stepped into the most
amazing theater and were treated to 2 hours of beautiful music and an amazing
performance of Excelsior. I have only
been to the ballet twice before that.
Once at EIU when I was in college and coerced Brad into going with me, which
lasted about 10 minutes before he had enough and we left. He did take me to a kids' production of The Nutcracker a few years ago in Champaign. (He is such a good sport!)
So, my ballet knowledge is nonexistent. However, we didn’t
need any to enjoy every second of this performance. A little explanation was
given before the show began, but, of course, we understood none of it since it was spoken in Italian. At
intermission, we tried to figure out the story line. I thought it was about
the circus and cracked up later when we learned it was about the Industrial
What a gift those tickets were! Two farm girls from Jasper
County got to see a world class ballet in The Scala Opera House, one of the
most famous places in the world.
We spent the rest of the evening enjoying a walking tour of
the canal area, getting acquainted with more of the members of our group who
also were on the tour and the other lovely tourists from Helsinki, Finland, and
England. The world became a much smaller place for me that night!
By then, we had been up for I have- no- idea- how- many- hours, and
I could barely stay awake on the train ride back to our hotel.
that day had our gratitude cups filled to overflowing and we could have gotten
on the plane and flown home satisfied and happy.