Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Day 16; Milan/Lugano,

I had an early wake up call (8:00) for two reasons:Claudio had class (he is in law school) and because I had tickets to the Last Supper for what I thought was an hour long window of 9:30a.m.-10:30 a.m.

Once Claudio left for the metro and we spilt ways I headed for the main train station, Centrale, to put my enormous bag in a locker. After getting lost in the century old train station and actually having someone from the information desk physically show me where it was (because I was already too lost from some ill-advised info from the ticket couter lady). So, bag checked and headed for the Santa Maria Delle Grazie church to see THE mural, Da Vinci's "The Last Supper."

I get there and quickly realize my ticket is in my bag that I searched so hard to find a locker for. Since I am 20 min away by metro I decided I would try and just show the ticket counter my ID in hopes that Im not the only tourist to forget the ticket and they would be able to look up my name.

After pleading with the lady to excuse my carelessness of now being late as it was now 10:00 a.m. (it wasn't a 1 -hour ticket yet merely an appointment strictly adhered to, but also that I didn't have my ticket) and to just search for my name instead...she said she would and she looked (HOORAY!) but she did not see my reservation...(cue a sad song

She said come back with the ticket that I had left in my backpack and it would all be ok. Sounds great.

For the time being (and because Claudio suggested it) I headed over to Milan's enormous park ( to walk through and at the end of the park would be this phenomenal castle ( Gorgeous park, great walk and an even better than dreamed castle.

The castle was first started in the 14th Century and was reconstructed/added on in about every century since with some help from Leonardo Da Vinci as he lived in Milan more than any other city (so I'm told).

The castle was amazing. Exactly like you dream of when you think of a 14th Century castle. It was enormous with a great "standing" moat with guard towers and archers's windows. I bought an audio guide for the first time today to hear more about the castle (it helped very little).

I also went into all the many museums that are located inside the castle and was actually so very fortunate as to see Michelangelo's last "Pieta" (it was unfinished at his old 90 yr age). Being an enormous Michelangelo fan (I've seen the Sistine Chapel, Statue of David, the "Pieta" in the Vatican etc. I was thrilled to see this work of art Video and photography...check.

Ok, back to the Last Supper debauchle. After the few hours spent at the castle, I scurried over to my lockered bag at Milan's Centralle Station and grabbed my bag and my ticket. With an hour and 45 min remaining until my train to Lugano I knew I had to hurry to the church and hope they still accepted my (now more than 5 hours late) ticket to see the cherished painting.

At first it didn't seem like I would still be able to see it because the lady who told me to come back was no longer there and I had to hope the counter people would trust my true story and let me in...they did! I was soooo extactic! I almost jumped across the counter and kissed the ticket lady (she was cute too, but my grandma won't allow me to have an international you Grandma!).

So I fell in line and at 3:15 and saw it Oh my goodness. I have seen many cool things (Collesium, Eiffel Tower, Sistine Chapel, Parthenon, Statue of David, Mona Lisa etc..) but this was pretty empowering. The size of the painting is what took me away as I pictured a slightly larger than normal size painting...but this was a wall mural probably 15 feet high and near 30 feet long. I stood there for 15 minutes until they kicked me out for the next group. Da Vinci is so great. So was Milan. Off to Lugano!!

I am staying with a group of Fankin University students in Lugano Switzerland. I show up without the address (it was in an e-mail I forgot to write it down), no clue on where to get internet and only 2.50 euros...I also didn't know if they even took the euro (they don't) or what language they speak (Italian). It's all good though because Margaret was there at the train station!! Hooray! No more worries. :)

After dropping my bag off I head to the school's BBQ, play a little footaball (both American and European), volleyball in the gym and beer/salsa on the most beautiful apartment balcony I've ever been on ( More photos and videos to come. :)

Sleep in and stay in Lugano all day tomorrow. Let you know more then. Ciao.

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