This city has treated me well! My first day here I met a traveler who was kind enough to join me at il duomo, then for drinks and a walk to the park. We spent a few hours there while the sun went down and I mentally made a note to return the next day with my mat.
The entrance to Parco Sempione is grand. There are many ways to get to the park, one end being the Arco Della Pace which is an incredible way to exit but I can’t recommend more highly entering through Castello Sforzesco! This immense castle partly surrounds and bookends the property. As I walked in I felt like we were coming upon another city, something far.
Straight ahead over the hills you can see the Arco Della Pace but it certainly doesn’t need to be a straight shot to the end. The park goes in either direction with countless paths and lawns. It reminded me of Hyde Park in London — which may always be my favorite park — in that there are even roads that cut through parts of it. It was very busy while I was there, lots of people in either direction but never crowded. There is so much space and grass it just depends how secluded you want to feel. I enjoy practicing far from anyone so I wandered and took every turn I saw, constantly surprised that there were always more paths.
I passed the library on the property, a small cafe, a large playground. A Tai Chi class caught my eye and after watching for a while I asked if I could join and they were more than welcoming. Not that I would be able to keep up completely if it was Italian but the class was taught in Chinese, making it slightly more challenging and much more mesmerizing. It’s amazing how quickly you can forget someone is speaking another language if you listen to how they’re saying things and less of what they’re saying.
After the class ended, I kept wandering, certain I would find my spot and know it when I found it. The good energy followed me after tai chi and presented me with a very large sculpture with no one under it! I set my mat up under the large, cement, geometric shape. Even as people passed by, it seemed like a quieter space, like the sculpture gave me three walls of privacy. I practiced and played on my mat, enjoying outdoor handstand practices with the structure to balance me.
I exited through Arco Della Pace (a drink cart will await you at the end as a reward–loving this open bottle policy ha!) and watched the sun hit the archway, like the big finale to my journey through Parco Sempione.