Thursday, July 23, 2015

Italy - Day 39 (Milan)

I ran to the Duomo this morning.  The Duomo in the early hours is virtually empty.  Such a contrast from our earlier visit where the kids say on the steps and played Spot It among the throngs of people.

A man immersed in pigeon feeding.  I had to stop and watch for a bit, as this is clearly a ritual for him.  He walked back and forth tossing handfuls of seed as the birds swirled about him.

The indoor mall space was worth a slow walk through to take it all in without all of the visitors about.

Notice the positioning of McDonald's '_'

These snails had a different position every few days.  From kissing to this :)  I get the sense that the artist is not the one doing the moving...  by the end of the day, the snails were repositioned.

The scuola right by our place.  The image morphed (or has attempted to morph) into a child giving flowers.
 We set out to find mass around 9 and ended up at this beautiful church of St. Lorenzo.

The inside of S. Lorenzo's was stunning with the openness and sunlight streaming in from the dome windows.  And this mass was the first time I experienced attending mass with dogs!  Three different people had their dogs with them.

The kids each lit candles, which gave us a chance to meet the priest.  He spent about 20 years in Africa and 5 years in the US and seemed so delighted to see us there.

 Next up was Chiccolati Italiani for brunch.  Their philosophy is about the benefit and value of chocolate for use in all types of cooking.  One of their signature dishes is a pasta with cocoa nibs - which we didn't try.  We did however try the pear and chocolate waffle, crepes, fruit, and chocolate coffees.  Each dish came with a side pot of chocolate - your choice of nero (black) or bianco (white) for pouring on your food or directly into your mouth :)  Our table did both.

 I took a few shots of some of the menu pages to give a sense of the vast number of offerings in hot chocolate alone!

The hot chocolate offerings...

On the way home, we stopped at a play area, but was too hot to stay for long.  There was small, fenced in reservoir filled with fish, a turtle, and baby ducks that the kids enjoyed watching.

We relaxed in the air conditioning for the rest of the afternoon before Caden, Lily, and I headed out to IKEA for a kids class / study they were doing on cooking instruction (you had to be 5 to do it, and thankfully Gia was napping when we left).  But first, a stop at the kissing birds...

The IKEA store is a test location set up for 180 days around the concept of the kitchen of future, which aligns with the EXPO happening in Milan right now, and also the importance of play in a family.  IKEA just completed a study on play which was highlighted in the test space.

Waiting for the class to begin.  Just a tad bit anxious about the fact that the class will be fully in Italian...

The test kitchen space

Getting started.  We first signed a release that the kids could be photographed for their work, which I understood thanks to the help of the trusty Google Translator app on my phone!  Either that or I said they keep the kids in exchange for a photograph :)
  The set up included a little dining table, this table, and a table with crafting materials.  We really had no idea what it was all for at this point.

The kids were each given a little packet that contained a tattoo.  The tattoo had visual instructions on how to set the table.  The assistants helped each child tattoo the instructions onto their arms.

We decided this would be a great way to learn the language!

The kids were then asked to set the table using the instructions provided.  Lily and Caden were a bit unsure, but made it through.  It was funny to see that each child set their spot a bit differently.

The next task they really enjoyed, which was to cut out circus shapes and make a little puppet show craft.  This one they did much quicker at.

There were then asked to incorporate the craft into the table decorations, which Lily got very creative with affixing the puppets to the fork tongs :)

Afterwards the kids were treated to ice cream to say thank you.

The kids loved the play area, which was designed based on the play research IKEA just completed.  Unfortunately my camera battery was nearly dead at this point, so I missed the but dressing up the kids did as birds and Wild Thing looking creatures.

I made a quick tour through the kitchen of the future display that was designed with IDEO, the leading design thinking firm, and a university in Finland.  I included an overview of the concepts below too.  Very inspirational!

 Afterwards we met up with Corey and Gia for drinks at the Ginger Cocktail Lab that we had been wanting to try.  It is ranked in the top cocktail labs worldwide.  We sat outside on the canal and enjoyed a breeze, a delicious drinks, and the happy hour appetizers.

Once home, we finished getting our packing in order.  Only one more day!

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