Milan, Italy 13,14 November, 2011
The bus arrived in Milan just past 7 a.m. the morning of the 13th, a day off. I'd not slept on the all-night journey and was beyond tired when I finally crawled into bed, the sun rising on the city. I woke feeling surprisingly good at 11, had a shower then walked out into gorgeous, warm and sunny Sunday. The streets of Milan were teaming with folks taking in the day. Our hotel is just off the square of the Milan Cathedral and the centre of expensive shopping, restaurants and tourism. I was looking for a cafe to fall in for my first cup of coffee and something to eat. The prices around the hotel were astounding, one that charged 85 Euro for a piece of fish! Needless to say I'd not be taking my espresso and snack there. I merged into a river of humanity and the further it took me from the Cathedral the more realistic the prices became. Found a little outdoor cafe, ordered two espresso and a smoked ham, mozzarella and artichoke panini. Perfect. I continued walking, ran into Mike, Ian, our sound mixer Dave Dixon and joined them on the way to the Castle.
Storza Castle, begun in 1450, was the residency and seat of the Duchy of Milan. Through the centuries it has been under rule of Italy, France, Spain, back again to Italy and is now home to several of Milan's museums and art collections including surviving ceiling paintings by Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo's final sculpture. Beyond the Castle was a public park that we walked through. At this point my lack of sleep took hold and it was time to turn back but not before a visit to the Milan Cathedral, the largest in Italy and fourth largest in the world. The first stone was laid in 1386 and it took nearly six centuries to complete. Inside a service was in progress, the music from the organ, smoke and incense filling the massive Cathedral.
An overwhelming afternoon; the crowded streets, no sleep, several miles walking and so much to take in. I made my way back to the hotel as the sun was getting low and laid down for an hour then met some of the guys down the bar for a cocktail before we ventured out for dinner. A handful of Bob Dylan's musicians and touring company joined us as well for the evening. We ended the night back at the hotel bar for a nightcap.
The morning of the 14th I was awake by mid-morning, had my coffee, threw myself into the gym for the usual measure of humiliation then back to the room for a familiar routine; practice, shower, pack and check out.
A foggy drive from the hotel to Mediolanum Forum. We all arrived with the same idea....food. As it was 5 in the afternoon, lunch of course had already been served and dinner still being prepared, but there's always a kettle of hot, fresh soup on so it was straight into catering, conveniently located right next to our dressing room. Two steaming bowls of roasted pepper soup, several slices of bread and butter and a large mug of caffe latte. Soundcheck and then.....dinner! A feast of veal Milanese, salad and roasted vegetables.
Tonight is our last show in Italy on this tour with Dylan. It was another remarkable crowd of 11,200+ and a fantastic show, one of the best of the tour for the band, fun from start to finish. It was followed by the usual 25 minute stage change to Bob's show with Mark joining again for the first few tunes.
A 3.5 hour bus ride tonight to Geneva through heavy fog that eventually lifted an hour or so into the drive. We arrived at 3:30, checked in then straight to bed.