More cycling in Italy - 2016 travel blog

The Duomo in Mllan surrounded by scaffolding.

Victor Emmanuele II arcade with an extensive vaulted glass roof.

A small, somewhat pathetic, protest by local teachers and school staff.

The 'famious' La Scala theatre.

Leonardo observing the goings on in the square.

Our bike bags almost filling the corridor in the train. Snack seller...

Day 2 Milan to Genoa Nervi

As usual I had a disturbed night. I managed to sleep about 4 hours before waking at 1:30 after which I dozed on and off until 7:00am. Ian and I dressed and partly packed before heading down to breakfast at 7:30. The breakfast was not too bad but, because we had arrived just after the 7:0oam rush, there was a shortage of bread and cups. Eventually this was remedied but I was starting to suffer withdrawal symptoms before my tea arrived.

As we had till 12:10 before our train journey we decided to head into the town centre to view the famous Duomo and the town square. We followed signs to the Metro and followed and followed. The Metro station wasn't where we thought it was so we ended up going around in circles until we realised. The trip was quick and noisy but it was great to just be able to buy tickets and not have to stuff around with Myki.

It seems that Milan is hosting the UEFA Cup soccer matches so the Duomo was surrounded by staging and marquees which were being installed for the occasion. There was a sad little protest by local teachers who, it seems, were protesting about their contracts and lack of school funding. It was disappointing that there were so few teachers and ancillary staff there. They need a good AEU organiser, any takers? Leonardo gazed down upon the protest in stony silence. Nevertheless the Duomo is a most impressive building. On the other hand, the world renowned La Scala Theatre has an outside facade which is nothing special at all. One can only assume that the inside is spectacular to make up for the drab exterior. We explored the shopping plaza created from the Victor Emmanuele 11 arcade which has a magnificent glass domed roof. The pavement is all intricately tiled and has four coats of arms of cities subservient to Milan. One in particular which uses a bull as it's symbol has the location of the bull's testicles ground out by centuries of people grinding their heel over the spot.

Returning to the hotel we made our way to the station and arrived to find that the platform number for our train was not displayed. Since we had a lot of luggage we just plonked ourselves where we thought the train would leave from and waited till something showed up. This happened with only 15 minutes to departure so we had a bit of a rush to load all our stuff on the train. Not only was there no luggage van but the spots at he front of each carriage which are usually there to put luggage were not present since this carriage had cabins rather than an open plan layout. We ended up filling up the corridor with our bike boxes much to the chagrin of the guy with the drinks trolley who couldn't get by. We had to do some fast shuffling since ours was the second carriage and he still had the rest of the train to do.

The train journey ended up being about two and a half hours longer than it needed to be. Because I was doing the booking online I had assumed that I would get the shortest most appropriate journey by simply putting in my start and destination points. In fact, what happened was that we ended up sailing right past our destination station, the intercity train did not stop there, and continuing on for another fifty kilometres to La Spezia on the Cinque Terre before catching a local train and returning those same fifty kilometres. We did at least get to see some spectacular coves and scenery in between the seemingly never ending tunnels. These went straight through the hills that we will probably have to ride over on Sunday. Some of the tunnels seem to go on for many kilometres.

We arrived at the hotel at about 6pm to be greeted by many familiar faces and Bike Dreams vehicles. Riders from many years back were there and we had a beer or two as we reminisced. One Canadian, Wallace, with whom I rode a lot on my first Bike Dreams trip in 2011, was there looking a bit lopsided. It turns out that he was knocked down by a truck driver a couple of years back, suffering extensive fractures to bady, face and skull. The doctors put him back together but didn't get it quite right so he looks a bit damaged. He is philosophical about it and clearly is still riding his bike. Tomorrow I will reassemble my bike and take it for a shake down ride to Genoa but that is another story.

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