This isn't the first time I've visited Milan but I've seen more here in these last two days than I have in all other previous visits. In saying that, there isn't really that much to see here and that's especially true if art, museums or designer shopping outlets are not your thing. Put it this way, when visiting the mighty San Siro (a football stadium) ranks highly in 'What to see in Milan', well, you set your expectations accordingly. Still, that doesn't need stop you from having a good time and that's certainly been true of my short experience here.
Having digested the hostel's decent inclusive breakfast, my rucksack and I went off in search for education and adventure. Speaking of the hostel, observe its cool dining area/bar:
There are various things to notice in that snap including the ladders attached to the 'booze-wall' and then there's the fact that pretty much everything you see has been re-used from recycled materials. I've seen a few places like this throughout my travels and they never fail to impress oozing style, creativity and ingenuity.
Later on I visited the outside of the church that houses one of the most famous paintings in the World. I considered paying to go in and see it but I chose not to in the end for a number of reasons. Still, the church itself (as shown below) is known as the Santa Maria delle Grazie.
The painting in question is Leonardo's 'The Last Supper' depicting the reactions of the apostles as Jesus announces he knows one of them will betray him.
I'd imagine it looks a lot more impressive 'in the flesh' than in this saturated web image.
Something interesting to mention here is that the painting is not a fresco. Not exactly knowing what that meant I found this definition:
Fresco - 'A painting done rapidly in watercolor on wet plaster on a wall or ceiling, so that the colours penetrate the plaster and become fixed as it dries'.
Instead Leonardo's method was unprecedented and he experimented using various compounds as the base for the painting. Unfortunately the brick wall of course was subjected to changes in temperature, humidity, and moisture which have all had an effect and consequently the painting/wall began to decay in the early 1500s - less than 20 years after its completion.
In close proximity to the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie was the 'National Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo da Vinci'. There's the man's name again.
Also, considering science and technology do at the very least interest me, I decided to put the 10 euros I had saved from not visiting that single, albeit famous, painting into this museum. It didn't take me long to know I had made a good decision - this was the largest museum of its kind in all of Italy!
I lasted a full two hours on my own which is pretty good going for me in a museum although in fairness I was already three hours of walking in by the time I reached this place. The thing was though, I didn't get off the floor I was on for the entire duration I was there! (And there were at least two more floors). That gives you an instant idea to the scale of this place meaning a true museum enthusiast could easily spend 4 - 6 hours here.
There's so much on display here (even on just the one floor) including an entire hallway filled with replica contraptions of 15th century design-works by the one and only Leonardo da Vinci. I enjoyed the telephony and Internet areas in particular before completely wowed by the space section which included their very own highly
enclosed space-rock. (Surprised the image came out so well considering it was housed in multiple panes of thick glass!).
Would happily recommend this place folks.
Once I finished my exploration of the Church, I wandered the streets for a while until I reached Milan's first-ever Sky-skyscraper. I did say first folks so don't expect anything too modern looking:
Near by I noticed another large building which took my interest archaeologically and so intrigue got the better of me and in I went for a closer look only for it to eventually dawn on me this was actually a University! I guess that meant I shouldn't have been allowed in...!? Oooops.
Milan Duomo (Cathedral).
Despite having been fortunate enough to have gazed at Milan's Gothic church once before, rather embarrassingly it would appear that my previous interest in the World- famous Church (and second biggest in Italy) was somewhat pathetic. I didn't previously enter this holy and wondrous place let alone explore its terraces. Time to put that shocker behind me and get the job done properly this time in line with my new travelling self.
Anyhow, just look at it...!!!
Get this, it took over nearly six centuries to complete. What, were they constantly semi-pissed or something!? Yeah, yeah, keep the lazy Italian jokes to yourselves or else I'll send Vinny and the boys round.
1) There's a four euro difference if you choose to walk up to the terrace and not catch the lift. The reality of the stair walking option is that it is a constant three minutes of stair-walking so hardly super strenuous if a little disorientating so take this option you lightweights unless you have reasons not to.
2) If you haven't booked an online ticket prior, get queuing between 9 and 9.30 and you shouldn't have much of a queue at all which can be distinctly different if you turn up just an hour later.
Anyhow, enough talk, take your time to enjoy some images inside the Church and of my journey to the roof-top terrace.
How many of you have heard of the world EXPO event? Regarde:
Interestingly London was recognised as the first major city to hold an EXPO back in 1851. That's how long this event has been going!
Now guess where the world EXPO of 2015 has been held since May!? :-)
I didn't initially anticipate going as tickets were close to 40 euros just to enter. WTF!? However, after 6pm (till 11pm) - tickets were heavily reduced to 5 euros. Result! Fast forward a 30 minute metro ride later and I was beginning to understand this was going to be a pretty big event. Okay, the clue is suggestively in the name - 'World Expo'.
Here's the line though - I don't ever recall in all my life seeing an event so big and so impressive as this.
Like the technology museum from earlier, sadly I didn't get to appreciate or enjoy this anywhere near what I'd like to have but c'est la vie. Also, as time rolled on that night, the more I realised I would have really have enjoyed a + 1 and of course I'm ridin' solo.
The final few images of this post to follow aren't to convey to size or the incredible detailing as I would never be able do this. Instead my camera phone and I just walked on by awe-struck so snapped away. Here is just a small portion of the images taken:
Now try and just comprehend the size of this operation with over 140 country exhibitions with most on the scale you have seen above.
Just remember then folks that if you are ever around a world EXPO event - go there and be wowed on a colossal scale. Think it's Dubai in 2020 so if you're in the area, drop on in...
The next day I caught a train from Milan Centrale train station in a southerly destination. The 2.5 hour journey wasn't particularly scenic at all until the train reached Genoa. At that point gone were the images of old buildings, land and general emptiness and instead, I could feast on imagery of the Italian Riviera hoping I have good some more of this for the next couple of days...
Hope you enjoyed the post peeps - that was exhausting! Still, I wouldn't have it any other way...