When it rains, it pours, and I've been drowning in good fortune recently. Traveling. A lot.
Pico Iyer said, about travel writing, "[You should] try to catch the feelings — the sound, the smell, the tang, of a place — immediately, before it goes. A place is like a dream, and unless you record it instantly, however tired you feel at the time, it will fade and fade, and you will never be able to recapture it."
As I am not de Tocqueville, nor am I Iyer. However, during my recent travels, I have made some attempt at capturing impressions of places. These writings are neither remotely grammatically correct nor comprehensive; I may be right or wrong, but it's my opinion you can find 'em both at the Grand Canyon, sundown...
Milano. A cookie and also a city. Much underrated and often overlooked by foreign travelers, Milan buzzes with cosmopolitan life. Unfortunately, many were the faces that drooped when I said I'd be living in her shadow - "You shouldn't move there." "Oh, other Italian cities are much nicer." "Um, two words: yuk and yuk." I disagree and find the city growing on me. Just as turkey should not try to emulate the other animals (thanks, Mitchell), so too does Milan have its own thing going. Aperitivi of delish bar food, meandering streets and grand piazzas, palazzi of historic families and fame, canals lined with cafes and bars and crossed by squared pedestrian bridges (think the Amsterdam of northern Italy, sort of). Orange trams from the turn of the 20th century still ply the streets, hinting of remembered whispers of fedoras and bespoke and war-time rationing and emigration. I stumbled across an artists’ studio school with 20 acolytes attentive to a Titianesque brunette up on a platter.
The subway runs effectively it would seem, and, like DC and the Bay Area and probably many others, the transit authority have installed electronic screens that advise of waits until the next trains [I can hear Marty Markowitz chiming in for New York: Fugheddaboutit!]. I have noted some interesting activities underground, however: numerous people wearing sunglasses; doors opening occasionally while the train is slowing to a stop; a driver over-shooting the platform by a half-car length and backing up to a stop. Motorini everywhere in all shapes, colors, and sizes – even a 4X4?! [Strangely, though, approximately 80% of all cars in Italy are silver or grey. What's going on here?]
Il Duomo rises above expectations and begs hyperbole; la Scala, on the other hand, is unassuming and easy to miss from the outside. Ah, but what sort of devotions and rapturous audiences congregate in one and the other? Further investigations will of course be necessary. I think I know just the Sherlock.
Here are some more photos of Milan if you're interested.