Travel-diary: Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio

Built circa 1080
Milan, Northern Italy
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The walls of the Basilica
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The confession chamber.
Speak the truth, even if your voice quivers. photo DSCN2560_zps663663cf.jpg
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There’s something about churches that illuminate the unspeakable calm
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One does not need to be of a certain religion to appreciate the beautiful monotony of rites
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The Basilica also houses the tomb of Emperor Louis II, who died in Lombardy in 875.
A crypt built in the 9th Century houses the remains of three venerated saints: Ambrose, Gervasus and Protasus.
It just didn’t feel right to take any photos of the bodies and urn.

Outside on the church grounds:
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An afternoon of absolute peace and zen, navigating my way around the church-grounds amidst curious stares from locals on religious missions.
Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Catholic University of the Sacred Heart)
stone’s throwaway from the church
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The smell of books, libraries, canvas satchels and sneakers…
reminiscence of a life I already miss.

Travel-diary: Naviglio grande Milano

Traveling is indeed a discovery of the self –
I’ve learnt that shopping is no fun when there’s so much sightseeing and exploration to do!
While everyone else was at Serravalle (designer outlet), I took to exploring on my own.
Armed with a fedora, and a city map and my batman suit, I was determined to find the famous Navigli in Milan!

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But alas, I got lost a couple of times, during which I slipped into the nearest cafe, ordered up a shot and asked for directions. I just love Italian coffee.

This is Robert, who introduced himself as Robin and called me Batgirl.
He seemed amazed I was on foot, and proceeded to point me in the right walking direction.
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And thus I ordered the drink that I came to fall in love with: Caffe Shakerato!
This beau is a combination of fresh espresso with sugar and loads of ice, made to froth by vigorous bartender skills.
Was it just me or there was a tinge of Moscato in it?
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After more than an hour’s walk across 3 train stations, Porta Ticinese was right in front of me!
The tremendous satisfaction of getting exactly where you wanted to go is amazing.
This, is Naviglio grande Milano!
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The Naviglio Grande was a canal dug to quicken city development projects via transportation of engineering essentials for the architecture that were to be built over the 12th/13th Century. In 1386, construction of the Duomo di Milano began, riding on the networks of water transportation.
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Breathtaking, isn’t it?
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Entered the Chiesa di San Cristoforo sul Naviglio,
as well as every other Basilica encountered at Navigli.
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The view from the other side of the Basilica
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And then I was hungry! Most shops along the route were evening pubs. Managed to find a bakery/pizzeria selling piping hot foccacia
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Mine came with olives, turkey ham, lettuce, parmesan and Emmental cheese~
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That revved me up for more walking.
There were actually passers-by who tried chatting me up, asking me where I was from yada yada, and these seemed to happen a lot in those narrow alleys that I had to cross.
One has got to man-up when exploring alone, to pretend that you know the place like the back of your hand.
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These European two-seaters! Do people purchase these cars for the sole purpose of man-and-dog?
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Before I knew it, I was done with my lunch and had walked the entire north and south Navigli.
It was a lot like Venice, definitely less tourist-infested, and less of the pomp and grandeur that the canals in Venice came with. And also, summer meant that mosquitoes were breeding to their hearts’ content.

At the end of the Navigli trail, I thought hey, I’m definitely getting better at memorizing streets and navigating with maps 🙂

Travel-diary: Milano (1)

Hell yeah we conquered Duomo di Milano
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With the incredible backdrop, touristy shots are absolutely pardonable
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Sad Mickey Mouse is sad… along the crowded street in the summer heat, busking in his thick costume
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My continued Gelato-Frenzy in Italy…how could anyone resist names like Nutella and Pistachio-Banana or Hazelnut Praline Cookies?
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Most incredible thing we encountered!!
but even this seemingly impossible feat can be simply explained through the hidden mechanisms under their distracting orange robes…the dude on top is probably sleeping with his eyes open
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Lunch, the Italian way
overlooking the sidewalk where everybody eats and people-watch
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Cafe Marocchino, a well-kept Milanese secret
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Ladies and gentlemen, my hugeass Mozzarella Pizza
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Keith’s Creme Pasta
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After lunch, we stumbled upon Piazza Castello by chance.
This is me being dwarfed by giant gnomes
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Awesome ride, baby
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Betcha can’t spot the Monkeys in the castle ditch
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Blossoming flowers!! The reason why summer is so beautiful.
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From Milan to Venice

Fresh off a 12-hour flight to Milan,
we hopped onto a three-hour railway tram into Venice.

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Grabbed lunch at the train station
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And off we go
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Our stop: Santa Lucia
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Buon Giornata, Venezia
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One of their prime, very beautifully hand-crafted, tourist rip-offs
which are too elegant and gorgeous to look at to be of much practicality. photo DSCN2150.jpg

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Big on Masquerades photo DSCN2154.jpg

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Dinner at Trattoria
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Mr Keith Chow, Milan buddy!
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Yes just take my breath and heart away
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At one of the many bridges over the canal
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Italy – the start of my gelato frenzy
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This is how they entice people to stay the night at their B&B
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With Paolo Sarpi
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GONDOLES – great way to spend a lazy afternoon drifting down the canals of Venice
but just beware of the speedboats
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More Gondoles
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Heading back to Milan at sunset…
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I must have left my heart behind…