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“MysLand”: Milano’s Supergraphic Seaside

It’s August in Milano. It’s hot and humid, and most people are part of the mass-exodus out of the city for the month. (The whole country takes the month off.) But some of us are left behind (or haven’t left yet). What’s the average relaxation passtime on a hot summer day? A day at the beach. But there is no beach in Milano, up to two hours away from the sea, so someone brought the seaside to the city. And the beach was packed.

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Dubbed “MysLand” (with a silent “s”, like “island”), the in-city beach was constructed on 10,000 square meters of former fairgrounds, not far from the center of town. The cost was 1.8 million Euro ($2.56 million) to create the semblance of the sea, complete with an imported sandy beach, palm trees, an odd-shaped “ocean” (pool), boardwalk, dressing cabins and café. The real kicker to me, though, was the supergraphic panel that encircled the whole “island”, giving us our view of the wide open ocean with blue skies overhead and  occasional puffer-belly clouds.

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When we arrived at 10:00 a.m. the place was so empty we thought they were closed. By the time we picked up our towels off the beach chairs at 2:00, there was lying-room-only. Many people sprawled on the astroturf sport court fronted by the big, beachside banner.

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The whole concept was a hoot!

Sun-bathing in Italy was a lesson in body-consciousness and body-acceptance. Women of every size and shape sported two-piece bathing suits, no matter how abundantly they overflowed the seams or how sparsely their body parts were covered. And they didn’t seem terribly concerned either way. Men wore enough to cover their privates, some more private than others. I’m afraid my bone-white, sun-starved, Irish-German, Seattleite skin was like a beacon amidst the deep bronze I was surrounded by. Part of my lesson in body-acceptance. My new love of Italian cheese and lack of gym-time also lent opportunities for self-acceptance!

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By the way, I spent the day at the beach with Ewa, the one I enjoyed my octopus with two weeks ago after strolling the antique market. After our seaside Sunday, we went home to a delicious lunch of lamb cooked by Piotr, Ewa’s husband. We’ve gotten together several times and will meet up in September after they return from their Milano exodus.

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