Heading home

Well, the day has finally arrived; we headed home. Jon said to Dave yesterday that it is probably with mixed feelings, but we don’t think that’s the case. Forty days away from home is a long time. We’re not sure if it’s just because we knew the end was in sight or if we were just ready, but the last two days were very tiring and we were ready to go home.

We got up early today, Dave at 05:45 and Linda at 06:30 and caught the airport shuttle at 07:30. Oh, wait, the shuttle didn’t leave until about 07:45; it’s late. This wasn’t really a problem, though, we were plenty early. When we arrived at the airport, we walked what may have been one-half mile, seriously, to our gate. Along the way, however, we had a 25-minute delay. They were only letting people through to the check-in area three hours before you flight time. Oh, well, something to remember. Check-in, security, and emigration were quick and easy. As was picking up some colorful pasta at the duty-free shop (we never found this in Milan).

We were fortunate to be able to wait in the lounge at the airport. That let us sit in comfortable seats and get some pastries to eat.

Hanging in the lounge

The flight from Milan to Atlanta went off without a hitch. Linda slept maybe 30 minutes on and off and Dave stayed awake for the whole trip. We arrived in Atlanta a few minutes late, but sailed through immigration, customs, and security. We think we got through all of them in about 30 minutes. We were really surprised by the Global Entry process. All we had to do was have our picture taken by the machine. We then walked up to the agent who greeted us by name and asked if we had anything to declare. That was it; they never looked at our passports until we went through security.

The flight from Atlanta to Charlotte went well, too. We departed about 20 minutes late, but arrived on time at a little before 9:00 pm. We each slept for a half hour or so on this leg. Joseph picked us up at about 9:20 pm and we headed to his house. We each did a rapid COVID test in the car and they came up negative (we didn’t think infecting their household would be a nice thing to do, if we were positive). After spending a little time talking with Vivien and Joseph, we headed off to bed at about 10:30 pm For those keeping score at home, in Eastern Daylight Time, we woke up between 11:45 pm on Tuesday and 12:30 am on Wednesday and went to sleep on Wednesday at about 10:30. Averaging it out to starting at midnight, that means we were awake for about 22-1/2 hours. That’s a long day.

Dave woke up this morning at about 3:15 and got out of bed at about 4:30. Linda slept until 6:30. We will be leaving Indian Trail around 10:30 and will stop for some groceries, so we should be home around 2pm.

We plan to do a recap in the next few days with things like, “What would we do again?”, “What did we bring that we didn’t need?”, “What will we not do next time?”, etc.

Looking forward to being home on the mountain!

It’s the Milan Duomo, again!

The day began with us doing our final packing. Okay, we will pack one more time tomorrow, but that is just throw the toiletries and such into the bag.

After getting done with packing, we headed out to the street and off to the Duomo (warning, lots of pictures). It was amazing inside. It certainly is dark, but there is a lot of beauty.  One case is the pillars in the cathedral. While there is nothing exciting about them, though the capitals are cool, they are massive and that alone made them special. Linda thought some of the panes of the stained-glass windows were maybe four feet tall. And the apse around the altar, though hidden for the most part was massive. So much so, that we decided to take pictures from outside to give you a feel for its size.

Dave in front of the Milan Duomo
Dave with Galleria and Milan Duomo in background
Looking at the altar in Milan Duomo from the nave
Capitals on pillars in Milan Duomo
Stained glass above main entry door and pillars in Milan Duomo; clearly there is restoration work needed and going on all the time
More detailed view of stained-glass above entry doors in Milan Duomo
Dide altar in Milan Duomo
Altar area in Milan Duomo
Altar area in Milan Duomo
Stained glass in Milan Duomo
Stained-glass in Milan Duomo
Main entry door with pillars and ceiling in Milan Duomo
Stined glass and statues in Milan Duomo
Dave and Linda in Milan Duomo
Tapestries in Milan Duomo
Chapel in Milan Duomo
Chapel in Milan Duomo
Milan Duomo
Milan Duomo
Statue in Milan Duomo – Does anyone else see Vladimir Putin here?
Organ pipes and sculpting in Milan Duomo
Stained glass window in the apse in Milan Duomo (note the people in the lower right for some reference)
Stained glass window in Milan Duomo
Capital and pillar in Milan Duomo
Floor in Milan Duomo
Statue in Milan Duomo
Sculpture in Milan Duomo
Stained glass in Milan Duomo
This confessional was specifically for German, French, English, and Spanish speakers in Milan Duomo
There are six confessional booths visible in the picture in Milan Duomo
Ceiling in Milan Duomo
Just about everything is here, pillar, capital, and ceiling (only missing stained glass) in Milan Duomo
Carvings just outside of Milan Dumo
Sculptures and multi-colored stone outside of Milan Dumo
Sculptures outside of Milan Dumo
Dave’s guessing Daniel in the Lion’s Den – sculpture outside Milan Dumo
Window in apse directly behind the altar in Milan Dumo
Milan Duomo apse window with roof spires
Spires on Milan Duomo roof with gilded Madonna
Gilded Madonna on top of Milan Duomo

After we left the Duomo, we visited a few stores and did some shopping. We got some more groceries to come home with us.

We went back to the apartment, relaxed, and waited for the cleaning person to show up. She came about 12:30 (checkout was 12:00). We made arrangements to leave our bags until 15:00. So, we set out to find the train station and to get some lunch. We were successful on both accounts. Rather than walk to the train station, again, we decided we’d get a taxi when we left.

Lunch was at a restaurant called Anna Muse’s Workshop (All’officino di Anna Muse). Dave had a club sandwich while Linda built a bowl with a variety of salad ingredients.

Linda’s make-it-yourself salad bowl
Dave’s club sandwich at lunch

We walked back to the apartment, collected our items and headed to Milan-Malpensa airport on the train. It was a quick 37-minute trip and went very well.

When we arrived at the airport, our next activity was to find the shuttle bus to the Hilton Garden Inn. Yes, this is the first and only hotel on the trip. We did this to be closer to the airport tomorrow morning.

Once at the hotel, it really hit us that we were done with our vacation. Dinner was in the hotel restaurant and bedtime came early. For some reason Dave was not able to complete his online check-in. “Government regulations require review of physical documents.” We had no trouble getting Linda checked in online, so it seems she’ll go home, we’ll see about Dave. We are on the first shuttle to the airport at 07:30 to get that resolved and get through security/immigration before the flight at 11:30.

If you would like to see the pictures larger or in more detail, you can click here: 2022-10-11 Milan.

Learning some new tricks

This morning started with us organizing suitcases, so we could determine how much pasta we could buy at one of Milan’s markets. We found that almost all the markets are closed on Monday and most are only open on Saturday or Sunday. After completing that we headed for the Metro to buy a day ticket and travel the city.

We headed out to the Isola Merchant Market. It is a highly rated market and open on Monday. Unfortunately, when we got to the market, it is much more of a small food market, as in restaurants, not food stands. Disappointed, we walked around the neighborhood a little bit, we each got a cappuccino, and checked out a local grocery store to see if they had anything we might want. Sadly, they did not.

Fresh pasta being rolled in the Isola Merchant Market
Fresh pasta (maybe we should have eaten here
Cappucinno in Isola (Linda doesn’t always like her picture taken, so Dave got it twice here)
Cappuccino, as good as it looks

We got back on the train and headed to the Duomo. Linda was hungry so we found a panini shop and shared a salami sandwich that had pecorino cheese, yellow tomatoes and olive pate on it – Tasty. We then boarded a tram to take us out to Navigli. This is an area that is known for its bars and aperitivo. When we were last here with Jon and Elaine in 2007, Jon and Dave visited the area. It looked much the same to Dave. It is a “pretty” area with a canal going through the neighborhood, where the restaurants and bars are located on both sides. While we didn’t have a drink, we were able to locate a gelato shop. Dave was boring and went with Stracciatella and Stracciatella di Mente (Mint chocolate chip). Linda was more adventurous and had Noce Pecan and Pecato di Gola (Mixed Nut with Caramel).

Canal side in Navigli
Navigli, bars and restaurants on each side of the canal
Nicely decorated balcony in Navigli
Dave and Linda in Navigli

After finishing our gelato, we headed for the tram back to the apartment. Well, Dave had some serious issues navigating with Google Maps. To be clear, this wasn’t a Google Maps issue, it was a Dave issue. After a delay of probably 20 minutes, we made it to the tram stop and we back to the apartment in about 15 minutes. We likely could have walked it quicker.

This evening started with us taking a tram to our cooking class located about 35 minutes away from the apartment on the east side of Milan. It should have been an easy trip, but such was not the case. About halfway through the trip, there was an announcement in Italian and everyone exited the tram. We were told that the tram was not able to continue and we were only a third of the way there. We thought we’d wait for the next tram, but we were told there would not be another and that a bus would be sent. We decided, instead, to walk to an alternate tram. Along the way, we made the decision to hail a cab. This turned out to be a good decision, as we got to the class on time and we had a nice driver.

Our cooking class had five members, a couple from Surrey, England (Laura and Des), a man from New Jersey (Sateesh), and us. Our instructor, Hillary (pronounced with a silent “h” and the “I” is a long “e” … elary), was great. She was very interactive and loved getting questions; we had plenty.

Our menu for the night was Caponata (a traditional vegetable starter), Ravioli filled with Potato and Basil with a Pecorino cream sauce and black pepper (Ravioli Cacio e Pepe), and Cantucci (we call it biscotti). The preparation and cooking processes took about two hours. It was fun to do the prep and the group worked well together. One thing we were surprised by was how “easy” it was to create the pasta. We have tried this before and failed pretty miserably at it. We will definitely try it again. Of course, the proper machinery helps.

Our kind of place, let’s start by making dessert, Cantucci. Flour, sugar, egg, butter, baking powder, almonds
Laura and Des, couple from Surrey, England
Linda whisking our egg for the Cantucci
Ready to do the first bake of the Cantucci
The vegatables to be baked for the Caponata (eggplant, celery, zucchini)
The Cantucci sliced and ready for the second bakee
The tomatoes and onion ready to be pan fried for the Caponata
Dave kneading the dough for our Ravioli Cacio e Pepe
We had more dough than potato filling, so we made some Tagliatelle
These are the trimmings from the ravioli cutting. They were also cut and prepared for the meal.
Adding the olives to the Caponata
Tomatoes and onions added to the Caponata
Final product for Ravioli stuffed with potato and basil in a pecorino cheese, milk, and pepper sauce
Final product of the Caponata
Sateeesh (New Jersey), Laura (Surrey), Linda, Des (Surrey), Dave, and Hillary (Milano – instructor)

The five of us took the tram back toward the Duomo and as we reached our stops we all departed the tram and went our separate ways. Overall, it was a great evening.

Tomorrow morning, we will do a quick visit to the Duomo and do the final pack of our bags.

If you would like to see pictures in more detail, you can click here: 2022-10-10 Milan.