May 04 2009

Weekend a la Milanese

by at 10:24 pm

On Friday afternoon, Seth and I decided we were going to Milan for the weekend.  It is just a 3.5 hour train ride, the same as to Paris, and we were able to stay in the apartment of one of Seth’s colleagues.  So with very little advance planning, but with a New York Times feature on Milan and Lonely Planet Italy on hand, we hopped on the train at 8 am on Saturday morning.

Here was our big mistake: in our eagerness to take advantage of the good weather and get tickets to see the opera since rush ones were actually available, we spent Saturday seeing the sights instead of shopping.  And thus, because day 2 was a Sunday, and Europeans like to shut their commerce down on Sundays, we really missed out on a Milanese pastime: fashion. It didn’t help that things were extra-closed because it was the labor day weekend.

On Saturday, we had some very tasty pizza at a local pizza place near the apartment, which seemed surprised to have two Americans from Switzerland (?) show up.  And oh-so-easily Seth ordered a cheeseless pizza with zucchini and eggplant.  Italians seem to appreciate tomato pies in a way that most Americans couldn’t fathom.  We then went into the center area of town to get rush tickets and took a walk on the rooftop of the Duomo.  We stuffed down antipasti as dinner at a bar north of the opera house for the price of an expensive drink and then headed to the opera!

Duomo Roof
On the Duomo roof!

We were pretty excited about this opera.  La Scala is a very famous opera house.  My knowleadge of opera is severely limited, far inferior to my knowledge of musical theater and classical music and more on par with my knowledge of ballet.  We saw the Rake’s Progress, composed by Igor Stravinsky.  I’ve really liked Stravinsky’s music that I’ve heard in other forms, so I assumed this would be a crazy, but wonderful, opera.  Not the case.  The plotline was totally inane and old-fashioned in a politically incorrect kind of way, Robert Lepage’s setting of it in 1950s America made it particularly confusing, and the music was uninspiring—not what I’ve come to expect from Stravinsky.  Our seats were horribly obstructed, which didn’t help matters.  Anyway, it was pretty cool even so to see the inside of the opera house, look at the groomed opera-goers sitting in their boxes, and watch an opera there.

La Scala
Our view of the opera…I mean of the operagoers

On Sunday, we discovered that most of Milan had shut down for the day.  Darn.  We tried to get brunch at a highly-reputed restaurant/bar, and after making the long and hungry trek there, discovering that brunch only opened at noon, waiting for an hour, and finally discovering that brunch was in fact not happening at all this weekend, trekked further to the area that supposedly resembles Venice.  Fortunately, we were able to obtain some coffee and pastries on the way.  We ate an atmospheric lunch along the canal and got some gelato/sorbetto before making our way to the fashion quadrangle for some designer darkened-window shopping.

Porta Ticinese
Waiting for the elusive brunch by some columns

Then it was off to collect our belongings and head back to Lausanne.  We stopped on the way to the station, though, to collect some very tasty pizza for the ride home.

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Weekend a la Milanese”

  1. Mary Ellen Stebbinson 10 May 2009 at 6:40 pm

    OMG! 10 dgrs! In the opera box!! in EuropE!

    i love yall!

  2. Jackieon 10 May 2009 at 7:39 pm

    Hey, Mary Ellen! I probably should have pointed out for your benefit that our seats not only had a good view of the the other people in the Opera House, but also the lights. Please shed light on (haha) the significance of 10 dgrs in an opera box in Europe. I am obviously not as up on lighting techniques and technology as I should be.

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