Dear friends and family, Bill and I made it! The stretch from Singapore to Milan a mere 13 hours, and to my great surprise I actually slept more than 5 hours with the help of a magic pill. Sunny weather and a brisk cold air awaited us. The bus trip to the Milano Centrale station a good hour with too many people coughing and talking on their mobiles. Also the flight felt like a thousand coughs hit us with contamination, so here’s to double doses of vitamin C in the first few days.
2019 and Italy is overflowing with celebrations marking the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci, the man who more than any other, represents Italy throughout the world. This creative mind shaped the intellectual, social, cultural and political facets of European life from the fifteenth century. Leonardo’s contribution to philosophy, nature, medicine and art is fantastic.
Some of the places we have visited on foot are the Duomo, a symbol of Gothic architecture. Unfortunately we did not ascend to the roof. The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele 11, known as the “living room” of Milan. We wandered for hours around the streets near the Duomo observing a vibrant people and lifestyle. I think we counted about 15 school groups on excursions tagging along with their teachers, giggly girls and whispering boys. The Porta Nuova district with its raised square dedicated to architect and designer Age Aulenti. Spent time looking at the Parco Sempione, monuments, cafes and bars. Republica and the Centrale Station with ticket machines and book shops.
More adorable kids books caught my attention. Above is the Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Italian style. I discovered with the help of illustrator Giuseppe Poli from Brisbane, Queensland, the artist Beatrice Alemagna whose style of art is magical. What a delight to find some of her books and browse the pages!
Apart from my love of children’s books, there’s the food. Bill and I have eaten mushroom risotto and pizzas of all types. Sipped Americano coffee and expresso. Here’s what a typical menu can look like.
So, it’s only been two days and we have walked for many, many hours, watched the trams go by and avoided the underground. The predominant colour of dress here is black. Smoking is still obvious everywhere. The mantra seems to be – shop, eat, recharge, repeat. I would like to visit some of the fashion outlets, but we’ll see. For now, we are observers in a fashion conscious city where The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci ( 15th century) is famous. I still pinch myself that we are in Italy with a few polite greetings that allow us friendly smiles. Very soon, I will be ready to write about Bologna and the popular Children’s Book fair. Better brush up on some more Italian phrases.
Excuse me, where is the ticket office? Scusi, dove la biglietteria?
I’m retired. Sono … in pensione. Madam, Mrs – Signora.
Giovanna is pretty. Giovanna e Bella.