Tuesday, December 23, 2008

In Milan, not Madrid

"So how long have you been in Madrid?"

- me, earlier today, having a complete spatial meltdown

The Brazilian girl looked at me funnily when I asked that. She asked me to repeat the question. It was only when I said it again that I realised what I'd said wrong. 

We're in Milan, not Madrid. 

In my defence, I was booking a flight to Madrid while I said it, so I got a bit confused. Also there are many similarities between Madrid and Milan - both are elegant cities with a reputations for stylishness, both have great football sides, and both start with M. But really, it's a sign that maybe I've been travelling too long and I've been in too many cities. 

I think I'm suffering a mild form of spatial incontinence, where the places are coming and going so fast that I can't figure out where I am. I woke up yesterday in Riomaggiore in the Cinque Terre, spent the day pottering around Genoa, spent the night watching AC Milan at the San Siro, and spent today walking around Milan. I'm a bit discombobulated at the moment. My brain can't handle the fact that I was bathed in warm air, sunshine and blue skies yesterday, and smothered in cold and fog today. 

One thing that contributes to that feeling is the number of Duomoes I've seen. There's been one in every Italian city I've been in. And they keep getting bigger, and grander and prettier. It started with the Naples one, with that flask of water/blood. Then there was the candy-cane striped Florentine one, and the liquorice one in Sienna. And now, there's the Gothic splender of the Milanese one. 

It's awe-inspiring. In the fog, from a distance, it looks like it's made of ice and mist. When you're up close, the detail is mind-boggling. It's white, and enormous, and covered with flying buttresses and spires. There are statues on every ledge and gargoyles poking out of every conceivable corner. And there's the nicest view from the roof terrace. I'm not sure why I've got this compulsion to climb every pretty cathedral I see, though. 

One interesting thing I've found is the apertif hour. From about 6 p.m to 9 p.m, bars provide an open-slather buffet of cold cuts, pastas, cheese, breads and salads - all for the price of a drink. I think it's all over northern Italy, because I've heard people talking about it in Turin and Venice. Really good deal, and I wonder if it could catch on in Australia? 


Anonymous said...

You know, you should to Venice. They call in the Venic of Italy.

Your brother

Anonymous said...

All sounds great.

Have a great christmas if I don't get to contact you befor then

Your brother

Anonymous said...

Hope you are having a good time in Venice.

Your Brother.

Connolly's agent said...

Oh, it was alright. It´s got nothing on Madrid, though.