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I took the overnight train from Amsterdam to Milan, an experience memorable only for the wrong kind of reasons. The upside was that I had three hours in Milan to visit the Duomo, which for some reason we had never seen in previous holidays. The first thing that struck me as I entered was the stained glass.
Also impressive, but difficult to photograph sans tripod, was the carving on the capitals.
I admired, too, the ambo.
More stained glass.
The view up the nave.
The facade was somewhat obscured by the stage for a pop concert whose proceeds would contribute to the restoration fund.
Here are the gory details of the concert.
On the piazza del duomo, the obligatory shopping arcade. One wonders whether they were invented in Italy.
Lastly, a tram redolent of the old GVB colour scheme.
We walked up to the bowls club late in the evening, to soothe muscles tired by swimming, and brushing down the fence. Here is the church, lit up.
The satellite aerial had to be moved, so it would resist winter's blasts. The idiot builders had not anchored it properly, and as usual when any technology goes wrong, I had got the blame..
The roses we planted last year were doing well in part. Here is Austen's Spirit of Freedom.
And this is his Heritage.
We went up to Mombaruzzo for the village's patronal feast. They don't just talk tripe in Italy, they eat it too. This was the tripperia
The jazz musicians were still setting up when we arrived.
Some people never stop talking, even when they are having their photo taken.
Resting from our work in the pool.
Just to make sure noone got too fat on the pasta, we took Chitra, Vincent, and Shibani up to the castle..
Here is the (slightly masonic looking) memorial to the townspeople whose buckets doused the fire set by the Mantuans.
And here we are, safely back at Belbo level
All the local grappa that's worth drinking comes from the Berta distillery. We had even had some 25 year old brandy during our visit to the Mombaruzzo festa. So here we are, psching ourselves up for the visit.
Here we can see one million litres maturing.
And you can see the Swiss Alps from the terrace beside the distilery.
Here is the panorama shot.
Not at the Berta distillery, but at the nearby Cantina Śociale in Fontanile, we saw this unidentified shrub (possibly a member of the azalea family, to judge by its flowers). Would like to have one in the garden, providing it is not poisonous.
Our next door nieghour Elio had told us that Noli was the most beautiful town on the Ligurian riviera. We went to see whether he spoke true. At first sight, it was a hell-hole.
But the coffee was good.
Noli has a beautiful 11th Century romanesque church (S Paragorio, no doubt the patron saint of tummy bugs), built on the foundations of previous churches that go back to the earliest days of christianity in Roman times. It was for some centuries the cathedral.
We had only walked 200m from the cafe, but some people already needed a rest..
The streets are very narrow in the old part of the town.
The narrow streets are punctuated by little piazzas.
And some houses actually span the streets.
We thought this was the new cathedral, but it turns out to be the oratory of Saint Anne.
Here a monument to someone who won the Italian equivalent of the VC on the Russian front.
As everywhere on the riviera, balconies are decorated with Bougainvillea.
Arcades along the esplanade make shade for the shops.
More Bougainvillea, and more towers.
Do you think this would make a nice hat?.