Monday, December 27, 2010

Day 2-3: Second day in Milan, Italy + arrival in Cologne, Germany

After the generous and humungous Christmas dinner that we had on December 24, everybody slept in and crawled downstairs only at about 11am. So did the four hungry cats who immediately received their treat for the morning.

After a long and rushless brunch I set off to walk around Milan again - this time the rain thankfully decided to stop for a while, so it was nice enough without having to talk out the umbrella. As expected (and yet it keeps baffling me each and every time), all stores and most of restaurants and cafes were closed and at first it seemed the city has died out, because nobody was around Santa Maria delle Grazie or Basilica of Sant'Ambrogio at all. It was myself, two Chinese tourists and an older lady of unidentified European nationality.

All of the action was predictably centered around Duomo and neighboring areas, and by action I mean people slowly walking by and gazing at others which certainly had its charm as well. I also went inside Palazzo Marino for a free short exhibition and must say it has a fascinating interior. The same might be true for the building of La Scala, but from the outside it looked like any other building you would just pass by without giving it a second glance. That's exactly what I did on the first day and only later realized what it was. It's pretty bland looking, much less interesting than the Opera theater in Lviv, Ukraine, for instance.

But still Milan was another opportunity to get to know Italy a bit better and I did just that, mostly thanks to the hospitality of my CouchSurfing host. I should at one point write an ode to CS.

In the evening it was time to leave for the airport and I did just that, Milan Express is definitely a nice way to travel to Malpensa (even if a bit overpriced). My flight to Cologne, Germany was on time and it could easily be the only flight on time in a week or so, because all Germanwings, Airberlin, etc. flights were delayed at least briefly, it seemed. That was a pleasant surprise, and I could not yet again contain my excitement as the plane turned to the take-off strip. Also, it was the third flight in 3 days and all three times I was seated conveniently (KRR-SVO- aisle seat with an empty middle seat, SVO-MXP - entire last row to myself, MXP-CGN - exit row aisle seat), knocking on wood and hoping that Deutsche Bahn will deliver as well.

Cologne-Bonn airport is just a 15-minute S-Bahn ride away from downtown Cologne and a contrasting 2.4 Euro compared to Milan's 11 Euro. Having arrived, I landed in the welcoming arms of another great CS host who graciously hosts in his 30-th floor apartment from where you can see the Dom and basically the entire city. He is a cameraman, so we had nice chats on the subject, he showed me a couple of clips of his and his friends' work as well as some filming locations in Cologne itself.

Next day was Sunday when, by the lovely tradition, all stores were closed yet again :) but the two of us had a long walk around town. The Dom looks pretty great (especially from the Hohenzollernbrücke), is similar to Stephansdom in Vienna and St. Vitus Church in Prague. I had my first taste of Kölsch and although I'm clearly not a fan of beer (except for kriek, of course), it wasn't that bad, especially in a typical German setting on a winter day.

In between shuffling through snowy streets, we stopped by the Ludwigsmuseum and I once again made sure I love contemporary art, so that's where I'll be heading on Tuesday.

The weather was perfect, about zero degrees throughout the day, neither cold nor hot, post-Christmas atmosphere and thus a great day in general. Topped with a viewing of The Inglorious Basterds in German it was just plain fantastic.




2 comments:

Jul said...

Your post makes me remember the Christmas I spent in Milan. I love that city.

Enjoy the rest of your travels!

True story said...

Thank you, Jul, I surely will try to! Milan was great, it definitely will see a new massive wave of tourists now as the winters sales are about to start.

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