12. Milan – A too hot rest day

The day starts early in Milan. Like the locals, I get up early, make breakfast and hurry to the center of town. It is already very busy at the absolute highlight and center of the city: The Duomo of Milan. The cathedral is immense and the square in front of it offers space for thousands of photographing tourists who want to immortalize themselves with the cathedral. I am also a tourist who wants this but does not want to be on the picture alone. I want a photo with my traveling companion Hermann. I made a travel booklet from his book and his photo that accompanied me on the bike ride to Milan. A friendly lady takes a picture of me and the travel booklet in front of the cathedral and this completes the journey in Hermann’s footsteps to Milan as described by him. With this observation, which is meaningful to me, a burden is lifted off me and I can focus on the city itself.

For me, Milan is more than the final destination of a journey. One of my great examples once lived in this city; Leonardo da Vinci. With his creative mind and abilities to make what he conceived, he personifies for me the “uomo universale” (a man can do anything, if he wants to). Due to the tourist crowds it is unfortunately impossible to visit the mural of “The Last Supper” in the monastery “Santa Maria delle Grazie” and I choose the museum “Pinacoteca Ambrosiana”, where almost all of Leonardo’s original drawings are brought together in the “Da Vinci Codex”. About twenty drawings are exhibited in the preserved library and I am moved to see them in real life. The only painting by Leonardo’s hand hanging here, “Ritratto di Musico“, is said to be a self-portrait. During my visit I notice that there are hardly any visitors in this museum. Incomprehensible to me because of the great wealth about Leonardo’s legacy that can be found here. An attendant has little to do and I strike up a conversation with her. She is a classical art history student and she also learns a lot for her studies here during her work. I wholeheartedly accept the free tour and she takes me through the masterpieces but also shows me some special objects, such as amulets with pieces of hair from famous Italians. This tour allows me to fly past the collection and after 1.5 hours I am outside again.

Pinacoteca Ambrosiana

I decide to be a tourist and walk through the “Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II” where the top brands of the world have a shop. The shopping arcade is chock-full of photographing tourists who want a photo with a top brand in the background. I am interested in the architectural construction of the roof and the special skylight.

It soon becomes too much for me and decides to go to the last goal of my day trip in Milan; the “Chiesa di San Bernardino alla Ossa“. In this church a separate chapel has been set up, filled along the walls with bones and skulls that were placed here after there was no space left in the cemetery. It is a strange sight to see this spectacle up to the ceiling.

I notice that the temperatures rise again to bizarre heights and return to the apartment in the hope of finding peace and cooling. Nothing is less true; the sun shines relentlessly in my apartment because in my ignorance I had not lowered the blinds. Upon entering I notice that it is 40 degrees! Fortunately, after I put the blinds in the right position, it gets cooler and I make plans to leave Milan for the return trip to Darmstadt, to view Hermann’s legacy and thus conclude my journey in the search for Hermann.