Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The World's best cathedral?

I had a problem over the weekend. I saw a cathedral I liked as much as Durham. Very worrying. If you can't be prejudiced about such things as the one in your own city what can you do?
My lovely daughter took me to Milan for my birthday. Oh, the shops. I didn't know until then that Milan is the shopping city.
I think I would feel very poor if I lived there and very badly dressed since I cannot afford to pay five hundred quid for a handbag. I'm not convinced I would ever spend such money. It seems obscene. There is the argument of course that the designer tries to reach the heights, be it a Ferrari or a handbag. And they must of course.
We did however go to Gucci for coffee. The waiter didn't speak to us. I realized after a while that it was not a communication problem, it was a city problem. Nobody talks to you or smiles at you and people push past, all intent on their own business.
Milan is covered is beautiful buildings and graffiti. You get used to the look after a while and you concentrate on the food and wine and Italy has to be the best.
Designer dogs are all over the place and I like that in other countries than ours dogs and children are not taboo. The first night we ate at a place recommended by my daughter's American friend, Kate, who has been everywhere and is a real foodie. There were children, even at ten at night, eating and enjoying themselves. Nobody crying. It was a Friday of course and there weren't many English people around. The second night we went to Lucca's. Oh my God, the world's best steak, cooked over sizzling herbs.
We had gelati and the kind of coffee you cannot get in England.
Also, I hesitate to say this because of how everybody slags off Ryanair but they were lovely, apart from the two dragons in Milan who made my kid squash her Furla bag into her tiny suitcase. It did recover, you will be happy to hear and no, it did not cost five hundred pounds but it is melon pink, round and shiny.
The flight there was early, the flight back was early. We hadn't paid for priority booking. My advice is don't, it isn't necessary, and yes, we didn't sit together on the way back but I was just in front.  The staff were lovely. The wine and crisps gorgeous and the pilot was very reassuring Good old Ryanair, eight five quid return from Manchester to Milan. Cheaper than the trainfare to Edinburgh which was the other place we had thought of going.
Our lovely hotel was half an hour's joyful shopbound walk from the cathedral, the room was spotless, the staff kind and very competent, the breakfasts -  so many croissants, parma ham being bacon, - new one on me and one I may adapt.
The sun shone in Milan and the cathedral is free. How many cathedrals in Britain are free? Ours is of course. I hope it always will be.
So if you do happen to go to Milan, comparisons are odious but the cathedral is awesome. We had lunch the second day on the roof top of a department store. We sat outside, right next to the cathedral and watched people up at the top taking pictures.

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