Milan on a Sunday morning in august is more dead than all species of dinosaurs put together.
The decoration of at least some of the McDonalds’ is exactly the same as in Ireland. Burgers are priced similarly, but coffee is good and very affordable.
Strangely, whole contingents of central and southern Americans seem to have been let loose on the city.
Only later on my first day, on my why back to my hostel, did i discover the reason. The consulate of Ecuador was sponsoring a major event on the edge of the public gardens, live music, flag waving Ecuadorians and all.
One banner read: “we are all migrants”.
Checking out the sights of Milan on my computer, the night before my arrival, it turns out that i have seen most of these the previous time i was here.
Also, this being a Sunday in august, the city as a whole might be dead, the square in front of the Duomo felt like a chicken pen full of tourists. This prompted me to create…
Check out the whole set of photographers.
Perhaps as a reward, later, in front of the Duomo, nearing sunset, an older Italian lady sang me several arias, before she was scolded by her minder, who reiterated I didn’t understand her because of my lack of Italian.
Also, the square in front of the Duomo feels overrun by Africans selling crappy bracelets and necklaces. My shooting pictures indiscrimently prompted a few to angrily ask me why I was taking pictures of them. In staccato Italian, suggesting to me they were from French speaking Africa.
Meanwhile, at the train station, gypsies are running a scam I’m not getting and Indians sell kid’s toys.
Monday was marginally busier in Milan and, even better, in the evening, I even found several bars serving aperitivo, that Milanese thing where an expensive drink comes with free and good snacks. Not all is lost.
The day I spent in nearby Monza, known for its race track. The track is part of the Parco di Monza, which is huge and also houses the Italian Schoenbrunn, the Vila Reale built in the late 1700s, which is currently in less than a great state.
The town itself was even sleepier than Milan, but does have a few nice sights, including its own Duomo, a smaller version of the one in Milan.
The Brera museum was not too bad, but also not what i expected, with too many religious, though impressive, paintings from the late middle ages through the renaissance to the late 1800s.
In the evening, I tried sleeping early, to get out of bed in the middle of the night to get to airport for my 6am flight, but was not successful. I left the hostel at 12 to get the 1230 shuttle. Surprisingly it was packed at the train station, a horde of people trying to get on the shuttle bus, and only because I had pre arranged my ticket did i get preferential treatment and got on board fairly easily.
The hostel, hotel San Tomaso, was a bit odd, Friendly Chinese staff, a cheap and reasonable breakfast, but the oddity was its clientele. A few backpackers, mostly Italians and then some Africans.