dinsdag 3 april 2012

4. Secret whispers in the oldest corner of Milan...

It's probably because the mayor forgot to pay the telephone bill, but today the city halls secret telephone system unfortunately doesn't work!
Something secret or exciting or spectacular… that’s what I had to prepare for today in order to execute the fourth task on my Milanese to-do list. That’s because I’ll have to do a phone call at the oldest square of Milan and pass on a memorable message. According to my guide book at least, which sends me back to the Duomo area to discover the medieval city center of Milan. I end up in Via Mercanti where I learn that some 700 years ago this little street used to be a walled square protecting a city hall made of a certain number of arches. The city hall is still there and if you go standing with your face towards the wall in one of its corners you should be able to have a “wireless telephone conversation” with the person who is standing in the opposite corner of the arch just by whispering. Apparently this technique used to serve merchants who secretly agreed on prices during the markets in the hall. Spies as well seem to have benefitted from this ingenious system to communicate the most deadly information in a quick and invisible way.
Since Alessandro and I don’t want to be inferior to our medieval precursors, we have been pondering a whole weekend long about an exciting message to pass on to each other. Today, we are completely ready and head straight to two opposite corners of the city hall. We start whispering and hear... nothing. Maybe we are in the wrong corner and there is only one of them equipped with a well functioning telephone line? Let’s check our guide. Nope, apparently we are exactly where we should be. Talking some louder perhaps? We go for a second try but the opposite corner remains dead silent. Yelling our secret message doesn’t seem an option either since you can hardly consider that a discrete spy job. Some fruitless attempts later, we decide to call it a day and subtract 5 points from our score for Miss Betramis nice Milano guide. We find ourselves a seat on a tiny, little square dedicated to the famous writer Manzoni, not far from the Duomo, and console ourselves with coffee and chocolate cake. “What was your secret message in the end?”, I ask Alessandro after my last bite. My sweetheart looks at me with a disappointed look on his face and answers laconically: “whether you wanted to marry me!” I start laughing and put a kiss on his lips. Not because of the sweet corniness of this question which he had asked me (successfully) already some time before. But because in my own medieval corner, I had happened to whisper exactly the same…

2 opmerkingen:

  1. I can understand your disappointment. I think that poor telephone connections were a problem throughout Europe. While in London June and I visited St. Paul's Cathedral. There is a walkway around the dome and "it is constructed so that one can whisper on one side of the dome and a person on the other side of the dome can hear you." I tried that and June couldn't hear me. Many other people looked at me strangely, though.

    This is another great piece, Nathalie.

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  2. Did you also ask June to marry you (again!), Doug? I hope you did!

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