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I don't like to travel

I don't like to travel; I kept saying that I cannot claim to travel, but that is exaggeration; it is my wife who always manages to convince me that it is good to travel, and that it is educational – I always like the travels in retrospect, after coming home and then starting to remember, in the evening, preferably with a whiskey inboard , about the last trip we had, and the one before there again, or just as well before it again; I mean it in February when we went to Milan as my wife's cousin was 50 years and she lives and works in Milan; she sings in the opera choir in Milan, at the famous opera stage La Scala, and is married to her singing teacher, who is from Milan.
Before we left, we received two Milanese offers from my wife's cousin; either to attend a performance in La Scala (it was Verdis Aida) or getting another ticket Supper by Leonardo da Vinci in the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie which is just in the same city, but after the painting (a so-called false fresco as it is painted on a dry brick wall) has been restored for about 20 years, so you take in fewer audience, and then you have to book a ticket that we did through my wife's cousin.
After landing – many hours of flying can be interesting if it's light and cloudless, or I always have a book on hand – and after a pretty quick cab ride (Italy is full of crude drivers and all the crude drivers I've sat with, driving up to the rear bumper of the car in front) to the outskirts of town; Milan is a large city (1,3 million inhabitants) with tram rails, cobblestones and narrow sidewalks, as well as in close proximity with signal buildings; and as we stopped for red light, I pressed my side window down to smell Milan's city air and to hear the rush of the city; it was early spring, or almost ours without buds on the plant trees (the bark resembles a kind of green-spotted tree variant of psoriasis) and I guessed – it was cloudy – that it was about 15 degrees of heat, and I could only smell the exhaust and faint gasoline, but it sounded nice from the city, despite the taxi engine daring.
It was a short distance to our hotel (Hotel Lloyd) and the driver (a lady) knocked on the go, and I kept the window on a small hug, just to smell it (I do in all cities) and to think: What is it that Milan smells in early February, and to hear the surrounding noise of the city; everything from buses, trams, cars, scooters, as well as bicycle bells (there weren't as many people cycling when we were there), sirens (which sounds unlike our home sirens), excavators, cries or screams from schools, kindergartens and anyone kicking balls , and so on.
After bracing myself out of the cab, carrying a trunk (which is always annoyingly noisy), a powerful handbag, darting behind my wife, but in front of her to the hotel porter to say my impossible name to an Italian ear (this porter, also a lady , could English) and then get the hotel room key, not to forget the code on the web (since I've always brought a laptop), but to our despair a piccolo trolley snapped from me, all the while we only exchanged in large euro banknotes and Norwegian coins (and he could not speak English, and I can only stutter some Italian phrases); I asked my brother-in-law (who traveled with us) if he had any euros in coins, he and I had to run after the pickup before taking the stairs down, to give it to him.
After putting on my dick pack (great word), fumbling with getting in the net (which sometimes makes me grumpy and causing my wife to be grumpy on my grumpiness), hung up clothes, inspected the bathroom (there was a wall-mounted telephone between the toilet and the bidet; it was new to me) before we, by arrangement, met our fellow travelers in the foyer; we were going to stroll to our first agreed destination: the dome in Milan, then the pinakoteket (to see Caravaggio and Montegna, among others), then a Vincent van Gogh exhibition.
After passing away, we spotted some of the white saints on the roof of the Domen; there are 4000 figures, both saints and demons (as if they belong together) here and there on the front and roof of the Dom, and some of them stand on high pillars; it was one of those we saw high up, and we went through detours, narrow sidewalks, many ladies in fur and men in coats, all handsome in clothing, as it is called and as always in Italy, shooting up and down meandering streets then we could see the facade of the Domen, it was very white and bright, as if it had just been washed and cleaned, and even closer it was fiercely white, and since we were out of tourist season, there were few in front of the Domen, and to all luck the pigeons had taken a vacation elsewhere.
A few meters from the facade – just to be able to take it into view since the Dome is mighty (and the third largest cathedral in the world) – I stopped to glance at it; first towards the four doors, which are more reminiscent of large gates, the one in the middle is violent, with figures in relief; then the windows above, which are also four, then three over there again, and a large one at the top; in front of the door on the left, which was open and guarded by local police, no, they looked more like soldiers, seemed to be the entrance, and from where I stood it looked as if the guards were body-visiting those going in and carrying bags.
All of a sudden I could smell coffee, and the gentle city air, for us coming from the north, made me loosen the scarf (I only wore the suit and wore the scarf in French manners), while the Milanesians wore knit coats and coats (and scarfing the nonsense several times around their necks, as if they were frozen), and I asked, since I was coffee thirsty, our travel companions whether we should have a bite to eat and a coffee before entering the Domen; everyone was against it, we had just arrived from the hotel and I had to bite into the sour apple and wait with a strong double espresso (if not an ice cold beer), Italian cheese, ham and panini (which is the most soaked bread / the roll I know about – it's just air, crust and a bit of fluff).
After being patterned by the guards (in uniforms, like soldiers) and all the bags and backpacks of sewing, we were let in, and if the Dome is really on the outside, it is fierce on the inside; it must be 20 meters below the ceiling (if not more; I read a space that the 40 interior pillars are over 25 meters high), and it is staggering, not to forget the beautiful marble floor and some crazy stained glass; and just then, inside the church ship, midships, so to speak, in the dim light, the sun burst forth and flamed through the large stained glass, a little to the side of the front of the church ship, in an intense red color, like the outer glass wall blushed.
We had intended to walk on the roof, but one in the traveling party was terrified, so we stayed on the ground and strolled out, in a kind of overwhelmed impression, to walk obliquely across the space to the very profane transition to yet another signal building, but now for to pay homage to mammon; the arcade Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, with glass roofs, marble floors and huge built-in streets full of fashion items, restaurants and cafes; there was a queue, and we went out, and on the outside of this worldly cathedral we found a modest cafe (it was a kind of glass hut protruding from one of the side walls of the arcade) where we could let the Milan dome sink in, along with a cold and frothy Seidel.
After a light lunch (and a few more beers) we began to glance through our Milan map to find the winding road to Pinacoteca di Brera; it was farther away than we thought, but the weather was great and we trudged away, gleaming like all tourists glance, and I smelled all the time to find what it smells like in Milan; the entrance to the pinakotek was surprising, with a huge statue of the mythologized Napoleon, who was once King of Italy, who gained speed on the continuation of the Domen and had helped get Pinacoteca di Brera on its feet; the sculpture was simply awful in all its servile boast.
But inside, on the second floor, we found Caravaggio's (who was Milanese) painting The meal at Emmaus (from 1600), which we would like to see because my brother-in-law's son, who is also a writer, had written a short story collection with this title; it is where the resurrected Christ makes himself known after being among his two disciples for a long time; just before Caravaggio's painting we went into a dark room, and there we saw Mantegna's wonderful abbreviation of Christ in the painting Christ's pardon (from 1480); He is taken down from the cross and lies dead on a stretcher with visible stigma while the Virgin Mary cries, and to her side the weeping Baptist John.
The whole horrible loss (think of Bach's godly) is set aside in the four cruel stigmas, and the harsh realism manages to give an in-depth look at something painted completely flat; it really is an incredible abbreviation, and the whole painting gives a strange sense of sadness and seriousness, to put it this way, not least because of the sharp details of the picture; it begins with the nails under the feet, then the nails on the top of the palms, then the stomach, the chest on the top of a sheet, without the fifth stigma visible, and concludes with the severe expression of the dead Christ.
Well, after stopping by the sweltering Napoleon sculpture, to look at it one last time, some in our small company thought that the van Gogh exhibit could wait another day; we had four days on us and on Saturday we went to the monastery to see Supper; thus, the walk to the nearest watering hole, and there was a typical Italian cafe with bluish tablecloths, well-used wooden chairs and a polite waiter who brought us what we would drink and then eat with gestures and finger-pointing.
Some Italian guests came in, and the outside people came in with them, and now it was as if I could smell the city, I thought, but what had happened to them was put in their clothes and was simply just a strong cigar belt, so everyone my attempts to smell my way to the Milanese city smell were completely unsuccessful, so unsuccessful that I promptly asked the courteous waiter, via finger-pointing, for a joke.


Ole Robert Sunde is an essayist and author.
His latest release is the essay collection
The world without end (Valid, 2014).

(PS. This article is machine-translated from Norwegian)

I don't like to travel; I kept saying that I cannot claim to travel, but that is exaggeration; it is my wife who always manages to convince me that it is good to travel, and that it is educational – I always like the travels in retrospect, after coming home and then starting to remember, in the evening, preferably with a whiskey inboard , about the last trip we had, and the one before there again, or just as well before it again; I mean it in February when we went to Milan as my wife's cousin was 50 years and she lives and works in Milan; she sings in the opera choir in Milan, at the famous opera stage La Scala, and is married to her singing teacher, who is from Milan.
Before we left, we received two Milanese offers from my wife's cousin; either to attend a performance in La Scala (it was Verdis Aida) or getting another ticket Supper by Leonardo da Vinci in the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie which is just in the same city, but after the painting (a so-called false fresco as it is painted on a dry brick wall) has been restored for about 20 years, so you take in fewer audience, and then you have to book a ticket that we did through my wife's cousin.
After landing – many hours of flying can be interesting if it's light and cloudless, or I always have a book on hand – and after a pretty quick cab ride (Italy is full of crude drivers and all the crude drivers I've sat with, driving up to the rear bumper of the car in front) to the outskirts of town; Milan is a large city (1,3 million inhabitants) with tram rails, cobblestones and narrow sidewalks, as well as in close proximity with signal buildings; and as we stopped for red light, I pressed my side window down to smell Milan's city air and to hear the rush of the city; it was early spring, or almost ours without buds on the plant trees (the bark resembles a kind of green-spotted tree variant of psoriasis) and I guessed – it was cloudy – that it was about 15 degrees of heat, and I could only smell the exhaust and faint gasoline, but it sounded nice from the city, despite the taxi engine daring.
It was a short distance to our hotel (Hotel Lloyd) and the driver (a lady) knocked on the go, and I kept the window on a small hug, just to smell it (I do in all cities) and to think: What is it that Milan smells in early February, and to hear the surrounding noise of the city; everything from buses, trams, cars, scooters, as well as bicycle bells (there weren't as many people cycling when we were there), sirens (which sounds unlike our home sirens), excavators, cries or screams from schools, kindergartens and anyone kicking balls , and so on.
After bracing myself out of the cab, carrying a trunk (which is always annoyingly noisy), a powerful handbag, darting behind my wife, but in front of her to the hotel porter to say my impossible name to an Italian ear (this porter, also a lady , could English) and then get the hotel room key, not to forget the code on the web (since I've always brought a laptop), but to our despair a piccolo trolley snapped from me, all the while we only exchanged in large euro banknotes and Norwegian coins (and he could not speak English, and I can only stutter some Italian phrases); I asked my brother-in-law (who traveled with us) if he had any euros in coins, he and I had to run after the pickup before taking the stairs down, to give it to him.
After putting on my dick pack (great word), fumbling with getting in the net (which sometimes makes me grumpy and causing my wife to be grumpy on my grumpiness), hung up clothes, inspected the bathroom (there was a wall-mounted telephone between the toilet and the bidet; it was new to me) before we, by arrangement, met our fellow travelers in the foyer; we were going to stroll to our first agreed destination: the dome in Milan, then the pinakoteket (to see Caravaggio and Montegna, among others), then a Vincent van Gogh exhibition.
After passing away, we spotted some of the white saints on the roof of the Domen; there are 4000 figures, both saints and demons (as if they belong together) here and there on the front and roof of the Dom, and some of them stand on high pillars; it was one of those we saw high up, and we went through detours, narrow sidewalks, many ladies in fur and men in coats, all handsome in clothing, as it is called and as always in Italy, shooting up and down meandering streets then we could see the facade of the Domen, it was very white and bright, as if it had just been washed and cleaned, and even closer it was fiercely white, and since we were out of tourist season, there were few in front of the Domen, and to all luck the pigeons had taken a vacation elsewhere.
A few meters from the facade – just to be able to take it into view since the Dome is mighty (and the third largest cathedral in the world) – I stopped to glance at it; first towards the four doors, which are more reminiscent of large gates, the one in the middle is violent, with figures in relief; then the windows above, which are also four, then three over there again, and a large one at the top; in front of the door on the left, which was open and guarded by local police, no, they looked more like soldiers, seemed to be the entrance, and from where I stood it looked as if the guards were body-visiting those going in and carrying bags.
All of a sudden I could smell coffee, and the gentle city air, for us coming from the north, made me loosen the scarf (I only wore the suit and wore the scarf in French manners), while the Milanesians wore knit coats and coats (and scarfing the nonsense several times around their necks, as if they were frozen), and I asked, since I was coffee thirsty, our travel companions whether we should have a bite to eat and a coffee before entering the Domen; everyone was against it, we had just arrived from the hotel and I had to bite into the sour apple and wait with a strong double espresso (if not an ice cold beer), Italian cheese, ham and panini (which is the most soaked bread / the roll I know about – it's just air, crust and a bit of fluff).
After being patterned by the guards (in uniforms, like soldiers) and all the bags and backpacks of sewing, we were let in, and if the Dome is really on the outside, it is fierce on the inside; it must be 20 meters below the ceiling (if not more; I read a space that the 40 interior pillars are over 25 meters high), and it is staggering, not to forget the beautiful marble floor and some crazy stained glass; and just then, inside the church ship, midships, so to speak, in the dim light, the sun burst forth and flamed through the large stained glass, a little to the side of the front of the church ship, in an intense red color, like the outer glass wall blushed.
We had intended to walk on the roof, but one in the traveling party was terrified, so we stayed on the ground and strolled out, in a kind of overwhelmed impression, to walk obliquely across the space to the very profane transition to yet another signal building, but now for to pay homage to mammon; the arcade Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, with glass roofs, marble floors and huge built-in streets full of fashion items, restaurants and cafes; there was a queue, and we went out, and on the outside of this worldly cathedral we found a modest cafe (it was a kind of glass hut protruding from one of the side walls of the arcade) where we could let the Milan dome sink in, along with a cold and frothy Seidel.
After a light lunch (and a few more beers) we began to glance through our Milan map to find the winding road to Pinacoteca di Brera; it was farther away than we thought, but the weather was great and we trudged away, gleaming like all tourists glance, and I smelled all the time to find what it smells like in Milan; the entrance to the pinakotek was surprising, with a huge statue of the mythologized Napoleon, who was once King of Italy, who gained speed on the continuation of the Domen and had helped get Pinacoteca di Brera on its feet; the sculpture was simply awful in all its servile boast.
But inside, on the second floor, we found Caravaggio's (who was Milanese) painting The meal at Emmaus (from 1600), which we would like to see because my brother-in-law's son, who is also a writer, had written a short story collection with this title; it is where the resurrected Christ makes himself known after being among his two disciples for a long time; just before Caravaggio's painting we went into a dark room, and there we saw Mantegna's wonderful abbreviation of Christ in the painting Christ's pardon (from 1480); He is taken down from the cross and lies dead on a stretcher with visible stigma while the Virgin Mary cries, and to her side the weeping Baptist John.
The whole horrible loss (think of Bach's godly) is set aside in the four cruel stigmas, and the harsh realism manages to give an in-depth look at something painted completely flat; it really is an incredible abbreviation, and the whole painting gives a strange sense of sadness and seriousness, to put it this way, not least because of the sharp details of the picture; it begins with the nails under the feet, then the nails on the top of the palms, then the stomach, the chest on the top of a sheet, without the fifth stigma visible, and concludes with the severe expression of the dead Christ.
Well, after stopping by the sweltering Napoleon sculpture, to look at it one last time, some in our small company thought that the van Gogh exhibit could wait another day; we had four days on us and on Saturday we went to the monastery to see Supper; thus, the walk to the nearest watering hole, and there was a typical Italian cafe with bluish tablecloths, well-used wooden chairs and a polite waiter who brought us what we would drink and then eat with gestures and finger-pointing.
Some Italian guests came in, and the outside people came in with them, and now it was as if I could smell the city, I thought, but what had happened to them was put in their clothes and was simply just a strong cigar belt, so everyone my attempts to smell my way to the Milanese city smell were completely unsuccessful, so unsuccessful that I promptly asked the courteous waiter, via finger-pointing, for a joke.


Ole Robert Sunde is an essayist and author.
His latest release is the essay collection
The world without end (Valid, 2014).

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