Saturday, May 21, 2016

Day 16: Lisbon to Milan

Day 16:  Lisbon to Milan

POTD:  How much is it? Quanto custa?

Weather: Hard to tell in Lisbon, it’s dark; in Milan it is in the high 60s, low 70s and sunny

Paulo is waiting at 4:45AM to take us to the airport, it’s his second round-trip having taken SA and DA an hour earlier. The hotel has prepared a box breakfast for us: coffee (DB drinks mine), juice (we give them to Paulo), a very nice ham and cheese sandwich, one mini-cinnamon roll. Included. 10E tip for Paulo.

We negotiate check-in, taking half our stuff in two large carry-ons and checking one large bag. All goes well except DB has a nail file confiscated at security, THB has an identical file that is not confiscated. Plane leaves on time, there are plenty of empty seats so we have an aisle and window. Plane arrives on time and we decide to taxi in from the airport: 110E with a very modest tip! The international airport is obviously a long way out of town.

Check in at the Grand Hotel et de Milan, and with our Amex reservation we’re bumped up to a junior suite (that is quite lovely). Our Japanese friends YT and YT are already here, having arrived from Tokyo via Frankfurt a bit earlier than us. We toured Kyushu together in early November last year.

While the room is being cleaned, we walk a few minutes in one direction to use an ATM (those non-credit card taxis soak up the euros in a hurry) and then back past the hotel in the opposite direction a few minutes to have salads and pizza (YT and YT share a pizza, DB gets a margherita pizza and THB a calzone. The calzone is not quite what we get in the US: it’s got soft (ricotta?) cheese and salami inside the fold and a margherita topping on the top outside half of the calzone. It’s very good! With water, a glass of wine and Moretti La Rossa birro draft for THB, 73E.

With YT taking the lead, we visit Pinacoteca di Brera museum (golden oldies from the 1500s; 10Epp), 

With the ceiling being painted, entrance is through the gift shop!

Early right-handed pitcher

who carries his bat with him

Somehow a Picasso was on display

view the outside of Scala opera house, 

the Duomo Catterdrale (newly scrubbed), 

and walk through enough streets that THB suggests we stop for gelato. Two shared among the four of us, 6E.

It’s time to rest up, we agree to meet in the lobby at 7pm. After visiting each other’s rooms, we taxi out to Doge di Amalfi. It takes over a half hour (10 minutes on the return), for a fare of 16E. Rush hour traffic on a Friday night.

An expectation setter?

Our first waiter and the pizza guy

So, we’re in the restaurant closer to 8pm than 7:30. Not a problem, the place is empty except for one table, and they also have considerable seating outside. We choose inside, which turns out to be part of the experience. The staff is exuberant. Well, really, over-exuberant. Much cheering, much bantering with each other, many discussions among themselves, much teasing the customers. Much including the pizza guy who is well across the room. Not a normal American style place…or a normal anywhere place.
Our real waitress, from Bangkok and speaks English

The food also is very good. Pizza bread (THB top 5 fave); melon with prosciutto, seafood appetizers including a small ramekin of something hard to describe (fish in dark sauce…squid? With toasted bread) as a present from the chef/owner (who appears to NOT be exuberant, he just peaks out from kitchen now and then), large plate of two types of pasta (very similar in tomato sauce, one with cheese, one without) topped with 3 giant langoustines or small lobsters (bibs all around), a cannoli, a bowl of vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce, a bottle of white wine and one of sweet sparkling wine, and after dinner liqueurs that you pour yourself.

YT and YT treat for dinner…individual items weren’t that expensive, so maybe 150E for four?


Il Doge di Amalfi

Taxi ride back is 10 minutes, no traffic at 10:30, 14E. 

Shots from around town:

In front of Doumo

With mom?

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