Wednesday, March 5, 2014

#heatherhitsitalysolo2014 Part 1

I love my job, I really do.  I work for a major computer company as a Portfolio Marketing Manager and I have the flexibility to work from home. I wouldn't trade that for anything because it allows me to see my kiddos on and off the bus, I get more accomplished during the work day and it makes mornings with 2 kids (one with autism) a little less chaotic. If the hubby and I had to add getting us both ready, along with the kids, and do the morning routine, we might all go crazy. Anyway, I also love my job because I am able to travel. I don't go too often but it seems that when I have traveled lately, it's taken me to some pretty incredible places. In November I got to visit Sweden (and meet Alex) and Ireland. And I just got back from Italy and Finland a few days ago.

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably already know that I was just overseas because I shared a few photos there using the hashtags #heatherhitsitalysolo2014 and #heatherhitsfinladsolo2014.  Here's a recap of my trip. WARNING: There's a ton of photos, like tons.  I'm only sharing a few and will spare you the 100's on my computer. Most were taken with my point & shoot and haven't been edited.


It was a long flight over with a stop in New York City. These beautiful snow-capped mountains were my first view of Italy and a welcome sight.

I arrived at 8:40 am, got to the hotel and checked in early. I refused to listen to my biological clock that was telling me to go to sleep. I showered up and set out to explore Milan. I took the underground metro to Duomo not realizing the beauty I would see as I came up to street level.
Duomo do Milano: Milan Cathedral is the cathedral church of Milan, Italy. Dedicated to Santa Maria Nascente, it is the seat of the Archbishop of Milan, currently Cardinal Angelo Scola. The Gothic cathedral took nearly six centuries to complete. It is the fifth largest cathedral in the world and the largest in the Italian state territory. Source: 

I bought a ticket to the top Terrace. I could have stayed up there all day. I must have been there a while, just enjoying the view, the weather, my religion. Here's what I saw on my way up:

Someone was creating his very own masterpiece and it looked great!

And the view from the top was just incredible:
In 1762 one of the main features of the cathedral, the Madonnina's spire, was erected at the dizzying height of 108.5 m. The spire was designed by Carlo Pellicani and sports at the top a famous polychrome Madonnina statue, designed by Giuseppe Perego that befits the original stature of the cathedral.

You can see the shine in my photo above but it doesn't do it justice. It was almost blinding and oh so beautiful.

I snapped a selfie on the terrace. Not sure why I am all squinty-eyes. Perhaps it's the sun shining back at me from the selfie.

This is where I could have stayed all day but there was too much to see and do, considering this was just my 1st stop.

I can't believe I didn't snap a photo looking down from the terrace. I definitely looked several times.  I found this one on the "Interwebs". This photo of Cathedral (Duomo) is courtesy of TripAdvisor

On to the inside. It was a Sunday so I was in for Mass. I couldn't understand anything they were singing or saying but it was simply magical.

There were two bodies encased in clear glass and preserved for all to see. The masks covered their faces but you could see parts of their bodies.
Andrea Carlo Ferrari (13 August 1850 – 2 February 1921) was a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church who served as Archbishop of Milan. His body is in the cathedral. Wikipedia

The Blessed Alfredo Ildefonso SchusterOSB (18 January 1880–30 August 1954), was a Benedictine monk and Cardinal Archbishop of Milan during World War II. He was beatified on 12 May 1996 by Pope John Paul II. Wikipedia

Next was Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. It was Fashion Week so I needed to get cultured. ;)

The grand entrance to the Galleria...

First thing I saw when I walked in was a photo shoot taking place in the middle of the hustle and bustle.  I slying pulled out my iPhone and snapped a photo. The model is the one in white in front.
He must have walked back and forth a million times for them to get the perfect shot. I was fascinated a watched a bit from the sidelines along with a gazillion other people. Oh and there was another photo shoot in Duomo square and another in La Brera that day. They were all over, everywhere I turned.

I left the mall on the opposite side and ran into a few street performers, like this one.

Tickets to see The Last Supper painting by Leonardo di Vinci was sold out. I had to do the next best thing and visit his statue. Add the museum to the list of MUST SEE when I come back with my family.
I ventured across the way to Teatro alla Scala - it's an amazing place for the opera and ballet.

For now, it was just me and I loved it. I walked and walked and walked the streets of Milan, bundled up in my warm jacket, just enjoying the architecture and culture.

I got to La Brera and walked into Brera Academy of Fine Arts. This is the 3rd spot where I walked upon a photo shoot but what was most interesting was the Napoleon statue that was taken down to be renovated.
It was inside a tent. The cool thing was being able to see parts of it up close. Otherwise, I would have had to look at it like this, if it was still standing in the middle like it's supposed to:
I snapped this pic from a book I found in the museum. Is that bad?

Keep on walking on the cobbled streets...

^^^ I spy a heart shaped rock ^^^ 

Flowers carved out of vegetables? Wha-what???

Finally, gelato!
Chocolate chip & pistachio. I added chocolate to the mix the next time and ordered a medium instead of a small. 

I had lots of Pizza margherita on this trip, though they didn't look like this.

Oh the smooth.

My dogs were tired and it was time to head home. 

After all, I had walked in and out and around the inner and outer yellow line multiple times, almost all day.

But not before I made it to Castello Sforzesco (Castle of Milan). It was closed by the time I got there so I've marked it down as another MUST See when I come back with the family. It was wonderful to walk around it though.

A trip to Como was on the itinerary for the next day. I'll cover that in another blog post.

Oh and if you are wondering what took me to these places, I am managing a Global roadshow to train our sales and channel partners on the latest product and solutions we have to offer. I manage the logistics, schedule, speakers, etc. for approximately 80 events worldwide. That's in addition to my regular job. ;) I am only going to a select few of these events, thankfully. I couldn't be gone too much from my family as it's hard on us all to have one of the parents away. But sometimes duty calls and sometimes it allows us to see parts of the world that we haven't seen before as well as get a bit of much needed respite. 

Stay tuned for Part 2 coming soon.


Chris and Paige Evans said...

So fun to read through your adventures! Guess we gotta add Milan to our list :) Gorgeous pictures!

Majken Pullin said...

Lovely! Sometimes the best excursions are alone. Looking forward to part 2!

Alex said...

Gorgeous pictures! Loved reading the story behind them :-) Looking forward to Part 2!

Lori Allred said...

Thanks for your photos. We didn't make it to Milan and now we're hoping to see it the next trip. Ciao!!

Sheila Burns said...

Great photos!!! Italy looks lovely!

Ashley Horton said...

Lots of amazing photos, Heather! Those trips definitely sound like awesome work perks!! :)

antenucci said...

Amazing pics and love hearing about your experience, thanks for sharing!