This last weekend we went off to Milan to celebrate the fact that we were able to, well, get cheap flight tickets. 😉
After a very very early morning flight, we reached sleepy, but enthusiastic- waiting to take in Milan with all its sights, sounds, and lots of pizza! Since we were just gone for the weekend, we decided to backpack it- no suitcases, no check-in luggage.
As soon as we reached the city center, we started for the Doumo right away. Milan, Florence, and other Italian cities all have a Duomo, which is Italian for Dome and refers to a cathedral. Milan’s Duomo is the Cathedral of Milan that took nearly six centuries to complete and is today the world’s 5th largest church. It is an imposing structure adorned with hundreds of statues. Sitting under the sun on the Piazza del Duomo while relishing a cold beverage/ice cream is a great way to appreciate it and get lost in all its beauty.
Among other sights, we also visited the Navigli District– a charming area with restaurants and shops lining a canal that runs through this part of Milan. Apparently, these are the same canals that were once used to transport the marble used in the construction of the cathedral.
The Honey Bee and I visited Florence earlier this year, but forgot to purchase a memento for our collection. So I was hell-bent on buying a statue of Michelangelo’s David, in addition to a statue of the Duomo which we were going to buy as a souvenir from Milan. That was not as easy as we had anticipated. During the 40 odd hours we were there, we probably visited close to 40 souvenir shops, but with no luck. Surprising how everyone sells statues of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and Saint Peter’s Basilica, even though we’re not in Pisa or Rome, but no one sells a statue of David from Florence. After having given up any hope of finding the statue, we were looking for a place to eat when we found one souvenir shop that we hadn’t yet visited. We decided to try our luck, and lo and behold, a statue of David (albeit overpriced).
Just before our Last Supper in Milan (pun intended), we chanced upon a guitarist with a dog (fairly common in most European cities) performing near the center. We stood there and listened while he performed 2 recent very popular American songs. He played the guitar well, but somewhere between the incorrect lyrics, and his funky pronunciations, he lost us. We noticed that of the people who stopped and listened, a few left him some money, and most didn’t. This is when the Honey Bee and I got into an interesting debate.
She said he was working hard, and everyone who listened to him should be obliged to pay him. Her claim was that if someone didn’t intend to tip him for his services, they shouldn’t stand there and listen to him. Additionally, she claimed that he was performing on the street because he was clearly in need of money.
However, I believe that couldn’t be the case, given the presence of the large and healthy golden retriever by his side. My conviction is that these performers play on public property, without obtaining any special permits. That, in itself, makes what they’re doing not so legal. Further, by playing in public squares, they create a nuisance, not allowing people to enjoy the sights they came to visit without a loud-speaker blaring into their ears. As often occurs at train stations, in metros/trains, etc. they start performing even when you don’t want to listen, and create an annoyance. Because of their singing, you can’t read the newspaper, or talk on the phone, or get any work done. Later they harass you for money. I say tip them if you like what they’re doing and want to show your appreciation, but don’t feel obligated to.
In case you’re wondering, we finally did leave him a tip, but couldn’t come to a final agreement about whether or not we should feel obliged to tip him. What do you think? I’d love to hear from you…send me a message, or post a comment below.
Anyway, before we knew it our 40 hour trip had come to an end and we were on our midnight flight back to Spain. Our stomachs full of delicious food and wine, our bags full of mementos, and our minds and spirits renewed with great memories.