Sunday, March 30, 2008

Milano, modern city

Yesterday we bid Venezia farewell and enjoyed a three hour train ride to Milano. Trenitalia is efficient and convenient. We arrived at the station an hour early, just to sit around and drink coffee, but discovered we could get on an earlier train!

Milan is the industrial, fashion, and economic heartbeat of Italy. The streets are broad, trams, buses and the underground are all in full force. We walked a bit yesterday to get a feel of the place. It would be hard to tell Milan from another European metropolis. People still speak Italian and pizza is still available on nearly every street. It is just bigger, noisier and more crowded. There are many more teens here. They congregate in large groups, with apparently little to do or see-except each other. They look very hip, punk, modern, whatever. Spikey variegated hair is normal. Clothing is just to draw attention, not to provide cover or warmth. At first the bizarre flair made me smile, then I noticed their faces. These young, pierced people are not happy. Not happy a bit. In fact, they seem desperate and bleak. The word "triste" fits: Italian, French and Portuguese, it means SAD. My heart breaks for them.

We won't be able to see Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper because we didn't reserve space last week. However, we walked to the Cenacolo where he painted it and enjoyed the church and cloister there. The actual painting is in the museum next door. We have seen many replicas, faithful ones, and we will enjoy what we can see and do here.

The Duomo (basilica) here is awesome. Finally, a legitimate chance to use the word. This church has more spires than you can imagine. It seems that every available piece is reaching up to the sky. The architects just went wild. This morning we went inside to see it. We were blessed by hearing the choir which was singing for the morning service. The stained glass windows were the best we have seen yet, easy to decipher and visualize. The medievals had a mindset that soared to God. Perhaps He was not as personal and immediate to them, but they realized the aspect of greatness and omnipotence that sometimes gets diminished in our modern techno-terms.

Here is our first stay in hotels. Up til now we have been in apartments rented for a week or several nights. So, we are in Holiday Inn, but it doesn't feel American.

Oh, we went to the All Saints Anglican Church in town. Again, a blessing to worship and pray with people who understand us!

Tomorrow we head a short way to Genova (Genoa) to see the Mediterranean's oldest lighthouse, among other marvels.


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