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Sunday, October 18, 2015

GAWA Day #33: Milan--The Last Supper

I am now halfway through my Grand Around the World Adventure.  This was certainly in the top 10% of days so far.  I did so much and somehow got back to my hotel room alive and well.


As I've posted so much about eating, I thought that title above was ideal.  I will show a photo of my last supper in Milan, but The Last Supper (above) refers to the painting by Leonardo da Vinci, the ultimate Renaissance Man, who was gay, and tended to paint Apostle John looking like a female.  Before getting artsy, let me show a few photos of my second day at the Milan World Expo.  The first scene when you enter the grounds:



I'm the one in orange wearing the EXPO shirt.  Lithuania, followed by Malaysia:


This is a cuisine avenue featuring food from 20 Italian provinces.

Like Dubai, the architecture is the prime attraction.  The sense of 145 countries working together is admirable.  The color, the variety of cuisine, the educational value of sustainability and the future of food...World Expos are worthy of your consideration in the future.  Milan's comes to a conclusion at the end of this month.

Now, about The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci (that's him to the left), it took him nearly four years to complete it on the wall of the Convent of Santa Maria della Grazie, here in Milan.  He started three years after Christoforo Colombo (also Italian) discovered America.  I just had to see this painting, but found out that you can't just pay a fee and view it.  You need to sign up weeks before your scheduled date.  However, if you take an official tour, you get in.  On Sunday, the tour began at 2:30PM.

Thus, to make sure I succeeded, I left the Expo at Noon and got to the Milan Visitor Center by 12:30. Unfortunately, the 2:30 tour was sold out.  However, said the attendant, there is one opening for the 4PM walking tour, where you still get to see The Last Supper.  Of course I paid the $75, but now had more than three and a half hours to do something.  So I walked to the Duomo:


This Catholic church took 600 years to build, with groundbreaking in 1386 and completion....you won't believe this....in 1965.  It's the 5th largest church in the world.

At 1PM I walked into Wasabi Fusion, with only a couple eating.  I thought they must be about closing.  I did get the only other window table and ordered sashimi, miso soup, rice and some beef and vegetable dish, with a Kirin beer and Geikkeikan hot sake.


I tried to take as much time as possible, but at 2:15 I was finished.  However, I ordered some edamame and sat around until 3PM:


There was taste enhancement by squeezing some lime juice into those spicy hot beans.  I finally left at 3PM, and the place was full.  I was the only Oriental customer, although the chef and his staff were all Japanese, I think.  I guess they have late lunches in Milan.

The walk to the oldest museum in the city, the Ambrosian Art Gallery, where the tour was supposed to begin, only took ten minutes, so I had a grappa and cappuccino at an outdoor cafe right next to the meeting point:


They featured da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael, who were contemporaries, although Leonardo was quite a bit older.  Michelangelo, incidentally, almost reached the age of 91 when he passed away.  Here is stored da Vinci's Codex Atlanticus, most of his manuscripts.  They forbid taking photos of any kind in these museums / art galleries.

We then walked to the Castello Sforzesco, a castle:


Here we had a problem.  Our tour lost three Americans. The Last Supper was still a seven minute walk away to the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, and our group had a 6PM entry, after which you get kicked out.  It took us at least twenty minutes to collect everyone, and we were a bit late:


It was almost like going through locks ala the Panama Canal.  There are two waiting rooms, so that when we got into the rectory, where da Vinci painted this masterpiece, 15 feet high by 29 feet wide, the temperature and humidity conditions remained stable.  My first observation was, wow, this is so bleached out and old.  Turns out that it has been restored so many times, the most recent one took 21 years into 1999, that this is really not the original at all.   Here is a copy:


If you magnify the details, you would swear that the 12 apostles were not all male.  John to Jesus' right surely looks like Mary Magdalene.  This is just one of the mysteries.  Remember how I earlier stated that da Vinci tended to give John an effeminate look?  Judas is the colored man.  St. John or Mary Magdalene?



Dan Brown's Da Vinci's Code goes into this perplexity.

What is The Last Supper worth?  No estimate, but the National Gallery in London had nine lesser paintings (not including the Mona Lisa) of da Vinci insured for $3.3 billion.  The Mona Lisa, also by Leonardo, is probably the more famous, but mostly because in 1911 it was stolen from the Louvre, and recovered in 1913.

My last supper in Milan was spaghetti bolognese with a glass of red wine in my Four Points Sheraton room:


Tomorrow, I return to Venice.

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Typhoon Koppu went right through the Philippines, east to west, but maintained 105 MPH strength, and is now preparing to move north over the country:


Two very dangerous ocean storms:  Typhoon Olaf is at 145 MPH, but will move north and east away from Japan.  Ditto for Hurricane Olaf, which will do the same east of Hawaii.

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