a roadtrip / belated birthday celebration to our Ariana leader, T-Rex! happy birthday big boy, God bless you always!
T-Rex handing a gift to our host, H.E. Toni
oh, and happy belated birthday to Toni as well!
a good surprise for me as well as i haven't been traveling for quite a while. its more of a holiday to me than a weekend relaxation... hmmm... thats actually the same. oh well. it boils down to the fact that it was a getaway from Geneva for a very long time.
thank God for extra people because i was getting worried of driving long distances, and worse, entering a new city with confusing roads. Italians are quite well known for their 'unique' driving habits. traffic along the way was smooth but weather was totally dull, we only got some sunshine when we went up the mountainous Mont Blanc passes giving us a glimmer of hope that it will be a good trip anyway. i calculated digitally and mental/physically that the trip itself took half a day, in our case, 2 stops for toilet breaks, driver change and a picnic lunch. i felt ok but according to the rest, it was quite cold and fairly windy.
as we entered Milan, i began to say to myself... is this Milan? the outskirts are so... ghetto.
i am a man of first impressions. some people will say i tend to catch on to things quite fast or plain short-minded. either way i would agree. we were greeted with honking cars, tight roads, confusing road signs... i was going stressfully nuts even when i was not driving. i left most of the driving in Milan to El-Tonio who did amazingly great, merci bien mon ami! :) i suck driving in a new city using a big car. the navigation that we had was almost ok but due to the fact that we had lots of 'directors' in the car, it was confusing.
and i want to state here and now, Bruneians are NUMBER ONE when it comes to direction, where its giving or taking, hands down, no argument, case closed and FULL-EFFING-STOP! talk to my ass if you have any objections. my ass is very diligent on giving you full blown answers, literally. took us at least half an hour or so to get to Toni's place and luckily we managed to find a nice parking spot. Toni did relay his concern when we caught up with him telling us not to keep anything visibly valuable in the car as nowadays some unlucky people get their car windows smashed. most of it blamed on illegal immigrants who don't have work or drug addicts (common around Europe... or the whole world as of matter of fact).
His Excellency Mr. Toni, a close friend and country man of T-Rex, was our host in Milan. thanks to him, we had a wonderful welcome, a wonderful time and a wonderful stay at his humbly HUGE apartment. again, as part of the group, i would like to convey my sincere and severe (is that possible) appreciation for letting us stay with you. 3 things that i totally fell in love with in Toni's apartment:
. the toilet - i loved the neutral white colors and the fact that i could vogue my way to the toilet bowl (it had that model runway look... hehehe)
. the kitchen - huge, fully equipped and well stocked. enough said :)
. the balcony - though not in the centre of Milan, the view was fantastic.
not wasting a second, the team as usual dispersed to each of their given rooms and rallied together after a short break. it was agreeable that everyone except myself (i think) wanted to shop till they drop. we opted to walk to the centre of Milan since it wasn't that far, plus it would be rather a hassle to bring out the van and that i strongly advise all of us to walk more since we are Arianas (what i usually mean is that exercise is the best option).
i love the fact that theres always a cool treat for shoppers wherever they cross. shopping haven? yup. for the middle class? not really. but then again, theres always a bargain if you're careful enough to notice each item.
we made our way to the Piazza del Duomo (centre of Milan), we first made a visit to the Milan Cathedral (i have yet to read thru wiki or history channels to know about it) as far as i'm concerned, its a big, historical and landmark church in Milano. i heard from Kite that the walls were completely made of marble. effing-wow. frankly that was my first time in a church. being a Muslim myself, i am amazed at other religions especially the ones that are famous around the world. namely for me, of course: Islam, Christian and Buddhism. there are more out there but so far i've been watching these three for quite some time. not that i have interest of changing religions (i never even thought of that) its simply to satisfy my curiosity and knowledge :) c'est bon, oui?
the art was simply amazing. in and out. it even has that Gothic feel... makes you wonder what makes their minds tick and how is it possible to make such enormous structure. but it also has its own flaws. man-made thing are never meant to last forever. i could see that some parts the roofs (?) were surrounded by scaffolding, showing signs of treatments being done to parts of the building that has problems. i loved the decor on the windows. very colorful and fits the contrasts in the inside. i really wanted to go up to the roof to get a nice top view of Milan but most of us are scared of heights (plus they wanted to shop till they drop).
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
after the breath-taking tour of the cathedral, we headed over to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II... basically its a crossroad that has several high end boutiques (as well as a McDonald's!) covered over by arching glass and cast iron roof. this and the cathedral made me imagine that i'm traveling thru Dan Browns' books in real life... lol! after some coffee, we headed back Toni's apartment to freshen up before dinner.
Kite turning his heel in a hole on the floor...
they said it will bring you luck! :)
surprisingly theres not much to see in Milan, provided by the fact that i don't know much beforehand what to expect, i could only think of the cathedral and expensive shopping boutiques. maybe the next time i go, i'll make sure to find out more about Milan and the places of interest.
Milano Polizia! well, i think they were the guards of
the Milan Cathedral... but they have an amazing suit!
dinner was what i expected of Italian cuisine. simple and tastes amazing. never miss the opportunity to try out the pastas and pizza. i had a tagliatelli con scoglio, basically pasta with seafood. surprisingly cheaper and more in quantity compared to the Italian food they have in Switzerland.
El-Tonio making an ass of himself... to another ass.. x)
the next day, before we left for Geneva, we had our final shopping spree in Milan. everyone dispersed and did their own thing. i was planning to get Prada shoes but ended up getting an Adidas Vespa sneakers (i absolutely love it!).