Sunday, June 8, 2008

martedi: our day of rest

i didn't wake up until 5am this morning! that's an improvement.
we're in the middle of a heat wave here in ny and it's unpleasant. all my windows are open, as i was hoping to let in some cool morning air, but there doesn't seem to be any cool morning air available.
i sweat. i'm sticky. it's just unpleasant.

this past tuesday, ej and i were exhausted and decided to take it easy and stay in milano for the day. we ended up walking just as much as we would have if we'd gone elsewhere. we started the day with a cappucino at the little cafe near laura's house.

could be. could be.

after stocking up on caffeine and baked goods, we strolled through an outdoor food market. i'd been there once before, and was excited to show ej. he bought himself some olives.

i bought tomatoes. i was searching for the sweet little tomatoes that come from sicily, and although these were tasty, they were not the ones.

the shortcut back to our apartment. it's empty at night and filled with scooters during the day.

i'd been wondering what it was like behind those closed doors that are everywhere and that hide secret courtyards where people live, and now i know. this was our entry door that keeps out the riffraff.

and this is our courtyard. the building is 400 years old.

we dropped off our purchases and headed back out.
this is one of the warnings on subway doors. i think it says something like, "don't let this happen to you."

my view of ej from my seat on the subway.

this dog was obsessed with the opening and closing of the subway doors.
he barked at every stop.
every. single. stop.

the ipod family.
i thought i was being discreet with my camera, but apparently not.

since we were in milano, it only made sense that we'd have our late lunch at the best sandwich shop on the continent. de santis came through again. what would we do without salame?

right after we ate, they closed up shop until the evening. that's our sandwich guy at the door. ciao, sandwich guy!! we love your work!

we thought we'd be smarties and have a couple of canoncini for dessert from the excellent bakery near the duomo, but we were foiled when we found the place closed and this notice on the door. we were there on june 3, unfortunately.

dejected, we wandered over to the church of san ambrogio, which i'd visited with javi early in the trip, but i wanted to show ej the crypt and heck, it was right down the street from where we were now staying. there are so many excellent details inside and outside of this church. yes, the duomo is amazing, but san ambrogio is

someone left their dog outside while they had a look around.

how could we not say hello? once we were inside the church, some church monitor walked over to ej and told him in no uncertain terms that he cannot leave his dog outside the door. even though he was speaking italian, we knew exactly what he was saying. the real owner hurried over and rescued poor fido.

the old man to the right of the statue was just wandering around, smiling. if you click on the photo to enlarge it, you can better see the paintings on the pillar behind him.

jesus says no to tourists.

these are photos from a sarcophagus near the altar. my theory is that these are some of the twelve apostles and that the guy in the middle is doubting thomas. doesn't he look like he's doubting?

it's a heavy sarcophagus, as they tend to be.

blue eyes for centuries.

for some reason this angel reminds me of wallace and grommit. i think it's the hands.

finally, it's time to take a break from our day off. a short break because we had to catch a train to bergamo to meet hanna and pg for dinner.

once we arrived in bergamo, hanna and pg met us and the four of us took a bus to the old part of the city high on the hill, bergamo alta.

old school bergamo. not much has changed.

even though it was dusk, it was still possible to see the beauty of the buildings.

these wooden beams have been holding up this building for at least a couple of weeks.

peace, charity, and love.

while the others were in search of a restaurant for dinner, i wandered over to a crazy pink church. at least, i think it was a church.

before the last light faded from the sky, i took these photos of some of the possible-church-building details.

and then i was flagged down for dinner. hanna was craving pizza, so pg found a place that served it. that restaurant turned out to be an excellent choice.

i could not have been more thrilled with my choice of zucchini and zucchini flower risotto. so fresh, so creamy, so flavorful. pg complimented what he thought was my ability to order the best meal on the menu. i think i just got lucky. really lucky.

i probably could've eaten another plateful of this. easily and happily.

hanna waits patiently for her pizza.

ej starts off with an appetizer of the cured meat bresaola.

and, of course, i had to help him.

but nothing could deter me from the true task at hand -- my risotto. with each bite, the joy of life became more and more clear to me. i was transported to a place where the italian angels get their food. my heart began singing an aria -- in italian. i was dumbfounded and brilliant in the same instant. i'd found nirvana in a plate of risotto.

finally, ej's ossobuco with polenta arrived. i have never had so many opportunities to eat veal as i did in italy, and this dish just blew me away. the meat was so tender and the sauce so flavorful, that i couldn't imagine having to leave a place that offered that quality of ossobuco and that kind of amazing risotto. and it wasn't just the atmosphere, as beautiful as it was, that heightened my taste bud experience. that food really was so thoroughly satisfying, that i was completely content.

it was so nice to see how much hanna and piergiorgio enjoy each other's company.

they first met when hanna was about 20 years old and working in switzerland. they dated, but eventually life took them in different directions.

they married other people, had families, built their lives, and when life took another turn and they both found themselves single again, pg found hanna through the internet. they reconnected.

and now they're together again.
i just love that story!
for some reason, the look on pg's face here reminds me of jack benny.

our lovely evening turned into an elongated ending for our day of rest. we all took the bus down the hill to the train station only to discover that the last train of the day had left about five minutes before that. the whole reason why we even met hanna and pg in bergamo was so they wouldn't have to drive the hour into milano, and now it quickly became apparent that the only way we were getting back to milano was by car; pg's car. ej and i felt like idiots for not checking the times of the return trains. i should've known by then that not every city is like ny. most cities do sleep and trains do stop running. pg and hanna were very good sports about it. we were grateful, and embarrassed.

when we said goodnight to them, it was goodbye because we wouldn't see them again in italy. not this trip, anyway. we had only one day left in our italian adventure and we knew exactly what we were going to do with it -- go to venice.

No comments: