When I’m not on the road, I Sunday in Milan. It’s revolutionized my weekend. You see, everything in Pavia — and truth be told Italy — closes on Sunday. Presumably, the shop owners are busy with family engagements and relaxing (it’s serious business in this country). They aren’t doing what Americans and Brits do on Sunday (brunch, hangover recovery, work and watch junk television), that is for sure.
One day over winter break I complained about how Pavia resembles a ghost town come Sunday. She suggested I spend the day in Milan; I scoffed. That would be fun, I thought sarcastically, everything there would be closed as well! But I gave it a shot and, it turns out, that while many things are closed on Sunday, the Milanese are more active on Sunday. Milan Sundays are practically a tradition by this point.
The train is cheap, less than four euro. I head to the train station around eleven and spend the half hour getting to Milan reading after a week of being too busy to do so. My first stop in the city is The Bagel Factory on Corso Porta Vittoria. I have fun trying to come up with different flavor combinations, the weirdest and most shocking ones possible. Although I am a complete bagel snob, the bagels are shockingly good. They’re smaller than the behemouths you find in NYC and they aren’t toasted. So far I’ve tried smoked salmon with olives, cream cheese and onions on a pumpernickle bagel; a fried egg with mushrooms, peppers and onions on a garlic bagel; babaganoush, red cabbage and red onions on an everything bagel and chicken, avocado and honey mustard on a sesame seed bagel. Each has been surprisingly delicious. It’s a fun taste of New York through Italian eyes.
Once fueled like a New York, it’s time to window shop at Rinascente. Rinascente is Milan’s answer to Selfridges or Bloomingdales. I spend my time walking around the food hall, eyes boggling at the different types of honey, olive oil and pastas. Sometimes I’ll pretend to be rich enough to buy clothing and walk around, giving my critical eye to the See By Chloe dresses and turning up my nose as I walk past Marc Jacobs, but mostly I debate whether or not to get some gourmet muesli or Amedei gianduia. It’s fun to lose myself in a department store no matter where I am, but the mix of well-heeled Italians and open-mouthed tourists makes Rinascente an especially fun stop.
In order to make sure my mind doesn’t melt into oblivion, I take in some culture, usually a museum. I’ve gone to the Pinacoteca di Brera and Castello Sfrozesco so far. I love the Pinacoteca di Brera and I’m usually not a painting girl. The Castello was a bit dull, but it was fun to walk around the old building.
Going to Milan on Sunday reminds me of possibility. I like to remember that I am free to walk around all I please. I like to remember that I am sharing a country with a fantastic cultural past. I like to remember that Italians are the same as me. If that means a bagel, a department store and a museum, well then, I’m all for that.
How do you like to spend your Sunday? Do you enjoy playing tourist at the weekend?