Monday, December 31, 2007

Winter holidays in Milan and London

This winter we took some days off to visit Milan and London.
Our visit to Milan was our first together and despite the shortage of time (just a weekend) we managed to find enough time for sightseeing and, of course, shopping! Unfortunately we couldn't take the tour of the roof of the Duomo, as it was very slippery due to the ice formed because of the low temperatures. We did attend a mass though inside the Cathedral and it was impressive.
We also visited a display of cribs ('presepi',΄'φάτνες'), so we were in the Christmas spirit, too.

Then we went to London for the actual Christmas days (we arrived a few days before and left on the day after, or 'Boxing Day' as it is called because of the habit of breaking the Christmas box, a box with gifts for employees in the old times shops - nothing to do with the sport of boxing, which is totally inappropriate for the day! :-)

This visit was purely for leisure and we did not combine it with work - in fact we had the company of Maria's brother and wife and our two nephews, so it was still Christmas with the family!

London was quite cold and foggy (surprise, surprise) but we had a good time visiting sights new and old (such as the Natural History Museum with the dinosaurs, which excited our nephews...) We were surprise though to see that nothing (including public transportation!) was working on Christmas Day! We managed to find an event held on this day, though, and it was the 'Peter Pan Cup Swimming Race' in which members of the Serpentine Swimming Club are competing in their annual race across the icy waters of Hyde Park's enormous lake. Quite a spectacle and it reminded us of the Greek custom of jumping into cold waters to reach for the cross on Epiphany Day.

So we leave this year with a splash and wish everybody the best for the New Year!

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