Arrival in Milano
(Below you will find the start of a multi-part European journal-mining retrospective starting in Milan and ending in Paris that took place last fall. I hope you enjoy the stories.)
Milan, Italy (September 2005)
I'm never coming home. I love it here. I'm sure any of you who have been to Italy are not surprised whatsoever.
I arrived in Milan with no problems. The biggest logistical difficulty was in Brooklyn when, for some unexplained reason, my subway just ended prematurely and we were all shuttled out en masse onto some street where we waited and waited for a shuttle bus to take us to a different part of the line. An hour later I was back on track... and just got to the airport on time only to find the plane was delayed anyway.
I had missed the opportunity to study here during college when, instead, I thought blowing out my knee and spending a year on crutches in upstate New York was preferable to studying art in Florence. Fast forward 14 years to this moment.
It was pouring rain and with the help of some nice folks, I found my hotel. My hotel room redefined the word quaint. What I most loved was the French doors that were wide open upon my arrival, the view of the side of some gorgeous building, the rain coming down and within 10 minutes of my arrival the most beautiful woman's voice singing opera. Turns out I didn't realize that my hotel is 2 doors down from La Scala, the famous opera house. I napped to a free 1 1/2 hour concert.
Afterwards I had a shower in what has to be the smallest stall shower in history. I joked to my Dad and step-mom that 75% of Americans would have to be airlifted in and out of that shower. No wonder there's so little obesity in Europe; no one would be able to shower. I had the unfortunate misstep of dropping my soap and then the jet lagged notion that I should bend over to get it and promptly smacked my head into the door. I had to turn off the shower, get out and get the soap and then get back in. And I won't even begin to tell you about how fascinating the toilet arrangement was to me.
Spent a day on my own in Milan where the highlight was touring this amazing arcade with 4 huge arches on all sides, a massive domed ceiling in the middle, a mosaic on the floor on each of the four corners. Most notably, facing the direction of Torino, a tiled bull where I noticed many Italians with one foot pointed on the bull's balls and spinning clockwise 3 times. A nice man explained to me in Italian (and I barely understood) that this practice was for good luck, one spin for health, 2 spins for wealth and 3 spins for sex. The lady at the hotel had a slightly modified explanation saying that the third spin is good luck for love. Ah, different interpretations. Apparently they replace the mosaic every year and a half because it gets so worn down.
(next installment: on to Turin/Torino)