02 03 A Vintage Farmwife: My Arms are Black and Blue.......Farm Girls Go to Italy Part Two 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

My Arms are Black and Blue.......Farm Girls Go to Italy Part Two

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 the time.

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 more.

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.

 I couldn’t 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 day.

Next stop-Galleria Vittorio Emanuele 2


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 helping me!)

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 looking.

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.

A beautifully 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 Revolution.

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.

Our experiences that day had our gratitude cups filled to overflowing and we could have gotten on the plane and flown home satisfied and happy.

But it was just the beginning!

(Part 3 coming soon!)


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