Italy - Torino: Why did we not come here earlier?
Sometimes, and I think every traveller is asking this question from time to time, you accidentally go to a place and later you ask yourself: Why did I not come here any earlier? This happened to us with Turin, or Torino, in Italy.
Well, to be precise, I (Nina) have been here before on a business trip, but I did not really visit the city. I arrived at the train station, went to a business lunch in a fancy restaurant close by, had some excellent piedmontese specialities and left the same day. So I had no idea what the city really is like.
As our spiritual master, Sri Swami Vishwananda did a tour around Italy in April and was about to come to Turin, we did not hesitate and planned a short weekend trip to Turin. In fact, from our home, it is just a 4 hours drive via Montreux, the Grand Saint Bernard (a nice mountain pass which was still closed due to snow in winter - but the tunnel was open) and the Aosta Valley. So early Saturday morning we packed the car and off we went on the road in rainy weather. The road is really scenic and we highly recommend it - but we saw nothing else but clouds and tons of rain. At least, just before arriving in Turin, it stopped raining and we were greeted with pleasant spring temperatures (around 16 degrees centigrade). We checked in in our hotel a bit outside of town. The Hotel Miramonti at Piazza Derna was cheap, clean, staff was friendly and we had a quiet room towards the backside of the hotel which we highly recommand as the Piazza Derna is a very busy place at a major highway. In the evening we went to the event with our master which was again amazing - it lasted till 2 am. So we really had a short night. The next morning we got up not too late as we wanted to see something of the city. We had a typical italian breakfast (some sweet croissants, white bread with marmelade, fruits and, of course, a cappuccino). Then we took the tramway to reach the Piazza della Repubblica in the old town (it took us 10 minutes to get there).
We did not really have a plan what we wanted to see. It was just nice to stroll around the centre and take in the wonderful atmosphere. The first church we visited first was Chiesa di San Lorenzo where we spontanously joined an african service. It was amazing and very cheerful. We continued our walk over to Piazza Castello, the heart of the city before we went down Via Roma with its elegant (and expensive!) stores. The city was busy with families enjoying a sunday stroll. There were buskers all around. We fell in love with the city: the atmosphere was relaxed, the wide boulevards made it so pleasant to walk. There are grand buildings, covered arcades and, of course, coffee shops. Well, Turin is famous for Lavazza (coffee), Nutella, Ferrero Rocher, Cinzano and Martini (and of Fiat!) - it is a wealthy town and people here love sweets. Oh yes, we love sweets, too. And of course we tried the bicerin, a hot mix of coffee, chocolate and cream - it is thick, it is sweet and it definitely has loads of calories. But it is sooooo yummy! We had intended to visit the Mole Antonelliana - the main tourist spot. But as there were quite a lot of tourists in town, we would have had to wait for more than 1 hour to get in and take the lift to the viewing platform - so we decided to skip it. Finally we walked down the Via Po towards the famous river Po. And of course we sat down in a cafeteria for another sinful treat - some ice cream :-). The riverside is beautiful as well. We crossed the river and walked up the hill to the summit of Monte Dei Cappuccini. From there, we had a wonderful view over the city towards the north. It was a sunny day and we were lucky to see the snowcapped Alps. So no need to pay the entrance fee at Mole Antonelliana - you get the view for free by walking up a little hill with wonderful spring flowers.
After all the sweet treats we felt like we needed something more salty to eat. So before returning back home, we went to a pizza place in the backstreets of Piazza Vittorio Veneto. In 1 day we only got an idea of what this city is like and we hope that we can come back one day. It was a short but perfect time. And the weather was so nice on sunday with 22 degrees and sunshine.
Driving back through the Valley of Aosta was much nicer with sunshine now and we made some stops to take in the scenery. But by coming closer to the Grand Saint Bernard and the border to Switzerland, a big surprise was waiting for us. We had already realized that it was really stormy outside and that it was getting colder and colder. Finally, we had -4 degrees outside and it was snowing. It was snowing so strongly that the road was partly covered with snow. So we drove through the tunnel to Switzerland and the weather was getting worse and worse. In the mountains it was snowing and finally in the valley the rain turned into snow. What a shock after the nice and warm weather in Turin.
Unfortunately, our camera broke down and we could only take pictures with our mobile phones. Sorry for the bad quality! Enjoy the pics anyway.
Ciao ragazzi :-)!