Sunday, July 24, 2011

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Front entrance to Villa Reale
The "Villa Reale" is composed of neoclassic style buildings; it was built in 1777-80 thanks to the archduke Ferdinand of Austria from the project of Giovanni Piermarini. Today it hosts the Civic gallery of art and the historical Museum with cloths of the XVII century and works of the XIX century.  It is 'said' to be open 7 days a week, but who ever said that is a big fat liar, or I am just becoming extremely simple in my old age, and obviously can not comprehend timetables or tourist brochures.  Firstly the entrance is from the road, there is no parking from the road, so we drive to the car park for Monza park and follow the signs.  We still can not seem to make it to the front entrace so we walk the entire circumference of the palace to make it to the front.  We stopped a man aged in his 60s dressed in lycra for directions to the entrance.  (To clarify, lycra seemed a bizarre choice as he was not pushing a bicyle, nor was he carrying a getto blaster and wearing leg warmers. But seemed friendly enough.)  I  even saw people out on the back steps of the palace taking photos, the thought crossed my mind, "Let's just knick in the back door"; but decorum over ruled and we looked for the front access.  Which was closed.  Ghost town.  No body around.  Strangely enough there was an open air theatre set up in the front yard.  I sort of felt like it was a suprise party I was not invited to, "Don't come out yet... she may see us!" So I waited at the front for a while, took a few photos for evidence just in case, then decided the palace was not meant to be. 

Nice back drop for a movie

Rear view of Villa Reale

So we decided to head to Monza Park for a picnic.  The park of Monza is located right behind the Villa Reale, and claims to be the biggest in Europe. It covers an area of 800 hectares, surrounded by a wall of 12 kms in length.  It was created in 1806 and later enlarged, originally starting as the park belonging to the "Villa Reale" and then becoming a much larger area which includes, apart from the "Villa Reale", the famous racing circuit (the Formula 1 track fits easily in it and can only be reached after walking for an hour or so), the horse racing course of Mirabello, two golf courses, a polo field and a swimming pool.  Not being to crash hot with directions, we actually parked in Monza Park and walked back into Villa Realle for our picnic.  Oh well.  It had a lot of grass, how was I to know that the big concrete barrier was a dividing wall?  We found some grass with the backdrop of a mini castle which is actually a cafe,  and decided to play and picnic.  Bocce, running up and down hills, eating, drinking, rolling down hills, being pulled down hills, reading books on a rug, and 'becoming one with bees'; finally halted by crutch grab and "pee pee" call.  So rush to the nearest toilet found us near the bike hire station.... Hhhhmmmmmm.
Lesson 1 - How to roll down a hill

Lesson 2 - Bocce balls are hard, aim for the ball not siblings

"I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts!"

Lesson 3 - Pulling your brother on a sheet is perfectly acceptable on gentley sloping grass;
 it is NOT acceptable on rocks or stairwells.

Our view from picnic rug
You know we had our bikes stolen.  Everybody seemed to be riding their bikes in this park. To be totally honest, I felt resentment, perhaps I did visualise a few of the fellow bike riders hitting a "really large pebble" and going posterior over mammary glands, (ass over tit).  But I am larger than this.  My bad luck, there good fortune... sure, ride your bike in the outdoors with your family.  Smile.  Get fresh air.  Teach your children about the importance of nature and the surrounds.

Bike hire
 I will not be beaten.  We are going to hire bikes, we are going to have fun, and we are not going to be concerned that we look like a scene out of  Chitty Chitty Bang Bang ( , and by the way bike hire is by the hour.  Isn't Sunday supposed to be a day of rest?  "Huff puff, huff puff" ...... and on return of our cariage, our malnutirtiented bicycle merchant comments "Oh... your finished already?" (said in Italian obviously, but I get the gist!) And now, unlike "a true Italian mamma", I do not remove my heel and throw it at his head, nor do I kiss him on both cheeks and say he just needs a good woman to plump him up.  I simply smile, I did have fun, (35 minutes of fun to be exact), I challenge him to ride on a bike with my children for an hour, I say this in English, and really quickly.  (I have to watch my mouth, soon someone is going to understand english and not my sarcasm...and take my children.)

Riding on the road

Riding on the gravel

Riding off the beaten track

Some hills proved too much for the thighs!
The day ends with 3 turns on the carasoul, and 10 turns each on the jump and slide.  Not quite sure who had the most fun here... I do love a good slippery dip!

No comments:

Post a Comment