Monday, June 27, 2011

Milan and Venice

Nicole and I arrived in Milan in the late afternoon and started the day off by finding the famous Scala opera house, which we tried to find a show for but none were playing that night unfortunately. We also saw and went into the Duomo, where mass was taking place but we were still able to appreciate the artifacts and stained glass. It was beautiful inside and the 3rd largest cathedral in the world. Another interesting fact is that it took nearly 500 yrs to build: it was started because someone wanted to please the Gods to get a male heir and was finished under orders by Napoleon.

In Milan I ordered a classic Milan dish: osso buco alla Milanese and was too scared to try the bone marrow but it was delicious. We also met a friendly Irishman who was working on his masters and glad to find some english-speaking company. He showed us around a bit which was nice of him.

This is an example of one of Milans fancy shopping streets

We also took a tour of the famous shopping district, where some streets were quite literally made of marble and beautiful tile work. We even bought some clothes, though in the fashion district rather than the high fashion district. We thought  the regular fashion district was also quite nice and much more affordable. It is true what they say about Milan: Italians there are dressed impeccably. They all look like a million bucks.

Me in front of Milans Duomo

In Venice yesterday we met up with some of Nicoles family and they gave us a place to stay for the night, which was great. They were well-traveled and had some good stories to tell and their kids were very sweet. Nicoles Aunt Jess showed us how to bargain and Tim showed us how to get around.

Today Nicole and I went on a kayak trip through the canals of Venice. quite honestly we thought it was all a hoax for a minute when we saw how deserted teh island was, but eventually found the place and set off for our tour. I really enjoyed the sit-in type of kayak and liked it far better than the sit on top kind that I have used in the past. Some of the canals were very busy, like Canale Grande with its vaportettos speeding by, but others were narrow and serene. In some we had to pull aside to let boats and gondolas pass, and in one we had to paddle with our hands because the passage was too narrow for paddles. It was amazing to see the city from water level. We got to see so much more than we would have on foot and everything looked so different. We saw the old bricks under the bridges, which are as much works of art as they are functional, and we got to see piazzas and monuments and learn about one of 3 remaining gondola shops that still make gondolas by hand in the traditional manner with no 2 pieces symmetrical,all made by hand. I dont think the shop could have been approached on foot, so that was really unique and fascinating to see how the boats were being made.

We have met some fascinating and friendly Italians. Our waiter in Milan serenaded us and tonight our waiter decided to become Nicoles new boyfriend after asking us whether we had boyfriends. He, like everyone else, thought she was a real Italian by appearance, and he asked if I had Irish ancestry. I do have a healthy tan by now, but I guess Ill never quite blend in. I think it is funny how many people think Nicole is the real Italian since she does have Italian ancestry, but Im the one who loves languages.

Nicole and I in Venice

Sorry for the long pause between posts. I didnt have a computer for a few days. Even now Im breaking hostel rules by using this one: its free but im not supposed to use it past 1130. But one more thing: I thought gelato was going to be underwhelming, but it is delicious! I had 2 gelatos today, thats how great they are.



  1. Glad you are having a wonderful time. I hope you are taking the time to pause and take an occasional photo, trust me, you'll be glad you did!

  2. Can't wait to hear how apt hunting goes!!!