Milan, Italy February 2015

11:51 AM

El Duomo 

Just Italy things

The stained glass inside the duomo, a tricky subject to photograph

Me being all touristy

Malls in Milan > Malls in the US

If you go to Italy and don't eat pasta, do you really go to Italy
While in Switzerland, it was decided that we should take a day trip to see Milan instead of only seeing the Milan Malpensa airport. As I mentioned in my Switzerland post, my family's Egyptian exchange student was with us, and actually had an Egyptian friend studying with AFS about an hour from Milan, and thank goodness for that.
There are some places where you can get by using English. Milan is not one of them. Mai's friend Mahmod luckily spoke Italian well enough to get us around. We did one of those super cheesy Hop on Hop off bus tours, mostly because it made it easy to get around the city. Our first stop was the Milan Cathedral, or el Duomo di Milan. I was dressed pretty conservatively, but still was asked to pull down my dress so it covered my knees before entering the church. The stained glass didn't even look real, it was so intricate. People were praying around the church making it one of those places where you don't want to talk above a whisper out of respect for both the prayers and the history of the place.
It was actually Ash Wednesday when we visited, but we were surprised to see no one with ashes in such a Catholic country. After much broken Italian and broken English attempts, we located someone at a church who was able to explain. In Milan, because they were so badly hit by the Bubonic Plague, they celebrate Ash Wednesday a week later to allow for more time for Carnivale. Essentially because so many people died, the Pope decided they deserved more celebratory time before Lent. Not something easy to convey in a foreign language, let me tell you. 
I also did the super touristy thing of putting my heel in the floor of a shopping plaza, where the bull's penis in the tiling would be. You spin around three times to ensure that one day you will be back to Milan. I have never had much experience with that sort of thing, but I remain hopeful. 

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