The pilgrimage was not quite over, though we disembarked from the ship and got back aboard the tour bus which took us to Padua, famed by St. Anthony, patron of finding things lost.
The bus took us from there back to the hotel in Milan. Some of the people were hoping to go into the city and do more sight-seeing, or dining out. However, there was no transportation from the hotel into town, and the people in charge of the tour were so upset they arranged for the whole group to have a family style dinner in the hotel restaurant. We filled three long tables and were treated to house wine, red or white, mostacholi, fresh cut tomatoes and sliced breaded chicken, followed by good coffee. Actually I found this to be the highlight of the trip because everyone was together and sharing an excellent meal. One of the two 90 year old priests in the group started to tell a story, saying, I used to know a little Italian, and when all eyes were upon him, he concluded, he was about this big. His eyes sparkled when everyone laughed.
The next day we set off again on the bus to have a day in Milan, one of the fashion capitals of the western world. The buildings are tall and wide and reminded me of New York. The streets are filled with old Sycamore trees and so it also reminded me of Washington, D.C.
We visited St. Ambrose Church, where it was said St. Augustine was baptized. I was busy squeezing myself into the crowd to get a photo of the baptismal font when one of the guides said the font at which St. Augustine was baptized was long gone. Someone asked me to move out of their way and the photo I did get was not much to look at. The actual body of St. Ambrose is supposed to be there and I did not see that, nor do I recall which sarcophagus may have housed him. Things do get a bit confusing when there are a lot of people milling around, the guide may be speaking softly or with an accent.
A very large mostly pinkish marble Gothic cathedral completed in 1398 was the feature of the day. At the top of the building was a gold covered statue of Mary and there was a local stipulation that no building was to exceed this one in height. If any building was taller, it had to have a copy of this statue of Mary on its top. We did see a couple. The interior of the church was so stunning, with art, sculptures, stained glass, carved wood railings, my eyes could hardly register each item quickly or well enough to bring them up in memory another time.
I bought a piece of pizza for lunch – genuine very thin crust pizza. Everyone was a little bit anxious to be going home soon, though we absorbed as much as was possible to do on such a trip. That evening I sat with my friend, Diane and her cousin, Janice in the outdoor terrace of the hotel restaurant where we each selected a fine dinner and ended the evening with a delicious serving of gelato. I considered that shared meal to be another highlight of the pilgrimage for me.