It's one thing to agree to meet at the local coffee shop in a town near or where both you and your friend live.  It's quite another to agree to meet in Paris, Munich, or Milan.  Yet, I've done all three.  Over my autumn holiday weekend, my college golf buddy Kristina (now studying in Spain) and I (you know where I am) agreed to meet in Milan, and meet we did.  There's something slightly surreal about meeting on the neutral, unfamiliar turf of a foreign city, yet the second I've laid eyes on the person I've travelled to meet, there could be nothing more normal.

So, on a drizzly Friday, I found myself reunited with my old golf buddy.  Milan was chosen because tickets there were cheap for both of us, and it was about halfway between us.  It proved ideal because it wasn't really high up on either of our travel destination lists (ie, it wasn't even on our destination lists), so we could explore the city with low expectations, able to enjoy each other's company and the city as a side-bonus.

So, rather than give you a post with details about our itinerary, I give you some photos of the event, and a somewhat scattered narrative, purposely leaving the gaps that should be filled with Kristina's and my encouraging talk and reunion.

The renowned Duomo

I particularly liked the panel of the sacrifice
of Isaac.
Though the whether was a bit damper than we'd prefer, it couldn't frazzle us because we had each other's company.

While waiting for some of Kristina's friends who went up to tour the roof of the Duomo, we sought out gelato.  After seeing the chocolate fountain (pictured left), we couldn't help but enter the shop crowded with Italians "warming" themselves from the rain with gelato.  (The workers filled the bottom of your cone with liquid milk or white chocolate--as you preferred.)

After reuniting, we went wandering through the streets in search of a place for appertivo (and I directed us south when I'd intended to take us north).  We entered a church on our ambling, and found that it had been converted into an exhibition space.  It was exhibiting Futurist sculptures of Dali as well as some of his drawings/prints.

We were a bit more purposeful as tourists our second day, having a full day and less wet weather.  We began by going to the Sforzesco Castle, and wandered its grounds.

Milan is a fashion capital . . . .

We enjoyed other miscellaneous bits and pieces of the city as well.  We weren't able to get into the opera house, but there were plenty of other piazzas and places of interest scattered about.

We returned to the Duomo to take a tour of the roof, well worth the seven euro entrance fee.

Still having daylight, I recommended that we try for the city cemetery, the Cimitero Monumentale.  I was worried that I wouldn't be able to direct us there from our metro stop, but that temporary insecurity paid off, when we finally got to the walled entrance of the extensive cemetery.  Old and new collided as aged traditional plots sat adjacent modern designs and sculptures.

Kristina and I enjoyed walking through the hallowed grounds, and weren't nearly as tired as her companions who had also travelled from Spain.  So, we dropped them back at the hotel and went for coffee in the Brera district (where I successfully landed us this time).   Here we relaxed over our warm drinks and reminisced as well as talked of those things presently occurring in our lives.  It was a good way to wind down our weekend reunion.  Though I'm becoming more and more at home in the Czech Republic, these tastes of home are well worth savoring.


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