Sunday, March 20, 2011

A lovely lovely walk after days of rain (and the flu)...Here my are!

Warmish temps (for the first time in months, I walked around with my coat unbuttoned), blue blue skies with a few puffy white clouds, new buds on trees and shrubs, clean fresh air (well, it seemed fresh and clean). It was a close call. I was very tempted to stay indoors, rest, read and do a little needlepoint, but all that can be done in the evening. Instead, right after lunch, I booted myself out of the door, grumbling to myself, but already knowing that it was the right choice. Once again, the camera was the deciding factor, so here is proof that I actually stuck my nose out of the door, walked, walked, walked for an hour and a half, and snapped away with you in mind...More......

The city has lots of little and medium sized parks scattered all over, and many have fenced areas dedicated to letting people's dogs run free...which doesn't stop Italians from ignoring the law to keep dogs on leashes anywhere else. (Thank the Cosmos, cleaning up in public places after one's dog is finally starting to penetrate into the Italians' skulls, but there still are too many egoists, who don't remember that "no man is an island." You wanted the dog? There are responsibilities that go hand in hand with the delights. O.K., I'll get off my soap box, now,...if people have picked up their dogs' business in the vicinity.)

A snippet of park along side the dog area. This snap is for Chris, whose blog, Serendipitous, about the nature she sees and enjoys around her house lifts my spirits.

Here my are!, shadowed against one of Milan's too few bike paths. IMHO, however, that isn't an excuse for the arrogant behavior of the cyclists. Folks, it's called a "sidewalk" because it's on the side of the street, and one walks, not bikes, on it.

Don't drive, it's late and dark, and don't want to risk the bus (limited info in English), but can't afford a taxi, especially repeatedly? There's an excellent compromise available: RadioBus. Like any compromise, there's good and bad. The good part is that at the appointed time a small van passes at a pre-appointed point near where you are, and--for just twice the price of a bus trip--will take you to a pre-appointed place very close to home. The bad part is that the service isn't available during the day time (so as not to compete too much with taxis), and can be reserved only up to three days in advance, so--with that time limit--there isn't always a seat available (especially if you're more than one person). But it's still a great deal.

Surprise! Exposed train tracks right around a couple of corners, and I didn't even know it. Must be part of what is known in Milan as the "passante," a light rail system, sometimes underground, sometimes overground, as there's a stop of one of the lines nearby (info in Italian). In town, the system works just like part of the subway, and the same tickets are used. Once outside a certain circumference, for example, a nearby town (such as Saronno, where there is a museum dedicated to maiolica, which I've been promising myself for years I'd go see), the tickets cost more.

Oh yeah, if you drive, in the last couple of years a pass to enter the within the area once circumferenced by the Spanish Walls has been instituted: the "Ecopass" (info in Italian; only parts of the web site are in English: go to the home page, and select one of the handful of languages available in the pulldown menu on the upper right). You even can pay online, after having entered, but don't forget to do it, quickly, or you'll get a fine ("multa"). There's also a "ZTL" (Limited Traffic Zone) in which only residents are allowed, usually from 10 P.M. to 8 A.M. I'm sure the bar, restaurant and nightclub owners are happy about that, but--with all the noise they create--you can't blame the residents for wanting the restriction, either. Those zones are marked with large brown signs.

Click. Nothing happens. Click. Nothing, again. Click, click, click, click, click. Still nothing. Has your car's remote locking device stop working all of a sudden? You may be near to a TV and radio antenna. Here's a snap of the antenna of the national service today called RAI, whose (gorgeously rationalist with a bit of flair) original 1929 building was constructed on Corso Sempione by Gio Ponti. (Can't find my picture of it; this snap was taken down a side street...will hunt, and try to remember to post it, later.)

After the walk, the happy snapping (despite the suspicious glances...the Milanese are so funny, they can't imagine anyone loving their own city), I feel so refreshed.

A perfect Milanese day.

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