Note to self: Always have snacks when travelling for more than 2 hours.
I woke up this morning to a Facebook notification that my friend Jessie, who I spent some time with in London last week, at the borough markets no less, was safe after the London attacks last night. My heart fell into my stomach, I had just been there, days after the Manchester attack. I remember thinking, with all the police and their machine guns walking around, that a place like this would be an easy target, which left me quite on edge the entire time I was there. Safe to say I was very upset all morning, the poor victims and their families, I feel so sorry for everyone affected. I was glad I had to do nothing but sit on a train and stare out the window all morning because I wasn’t really capable of much else.
I arrived early at the station, my new habit after the Eurostar incident and waited for the train. About 3 hours into the journey we stopped at Modane train station near the border. 5 minutes turned into 10, turned into 20, turned into 45. By this point I turned to the guy next to me (who I knew spoke both Italian and English, he spoke to the ticket inspector in Italian but was writing a presentation in English on his laptop) and asked what was going on. Apparently some illegal migrants had been found in a tunnel near the border trying to cross it. Noone had been injured but the police were taking all the measures necessary to ensure everything was safe. After 90 minutes we took off again and I was thankful that Turin was my destination and not a connection.
My biggest issue with the whole journey was that I had not planned on it taking nearly 6 hours instead of 4. Not having packed any snacks means I had to resort to a shitty 6€ baguette on board which was so bland it may as well have been cardboard.
After arriving in Turin, checking in to my hostel (thank you past Felicia for booking a private dorm!) I took off to do some washing. This is quite literally the first time I’ve been to a laundromat, obviously I know how to wash my own clothes but it was a different experience to do it with other people around.
Afterwards I went to Mara dei Boschi, a well reviewed gelateria around the corner from the hostel. I tried the gianduia, pistachio and crema pasticerra flavours. They wery creamy, and full of flavour but to be honest Sydney’s gelato game is quite strong compared to this one. The serving size, considering the price was pretty poor, the gianduia was no more than 4 licks, not happy Jan! Hopefully Florence and Rome know what’s up!
For the food nerds: Gianduia is hazelnut chocolate that was said to have been invented in Turin during Napoleon’s reign by Michele Pochet. During this time transport of British goods into Italy, such as cocoa, was extremely difficult, driving up its price. Pochet apparently thinned the chocolate with hazelnut to make it go further, it was an instant hit, and thus gianduia was born, later giving birth to ferrero rocher and nutella.
I went for a stroll after returning my clothes (I may or may not have had an unintentional siesta) through Parco del Valentino which is right near my hostel. It runs right along the river so it made for a nice Sunday afternoon walk.
Also saw these cool road/parking blocks that looked like the top of crayon’s. Given that Fiat’s are made right here in Turin I expected to see a lot of them, but I still giggle every time I see one as it brings back childhood memories of car trips with dad where he’d joke about how little they were, more closely resembling a clown car than a real one.
You know what’s better than afternoon drinks? Afternoon drinks with free food. My new favourite holiday activity is the Aperitif or aperitivo. Buy a drink, get some free snacks. When Aperol spritz are 6€ you can count me in!
I drank, smashed peanuts and people watched for the better part of an hour before moving on to dinner. One word. PIZZA. On the way to the restaraunt I walked passed a lot of people with whole pizzas sitting in front of them unashamedly eating them all by themselves, I instantly smiled and thought to myself this is why I knew I’d love Italy, a countrt full of people so in love with it’s food they eat to their hearts content.
One of the staff at the hostel recommended a pizza restaraunt around the corner from us and I was happy to see it absolutely packed when I walked in (always a sure sign of good food). I ordered a bufala pizza and a glass of Nero d’Avola red wine and patiently waited for its arrival. When my pizza finally came out it had not been cut, which obviously meant it was one big piece meant just for me!
And it was absolutely delicious. The sauce was unashamedly tomato-ey, the buffalo mozzarella and basil perfect accompaniments, the base, a perfect, thin doughy but crispy base all the way around. I sat eating quietly while smiling and taking in the fact that I was finally eating pizza in Italy. Only took me 25 years, but I got there.
Tomorrow is my one and only full day in Turin, I leave really early on Tuesday for Venice, so it will be a big day of exploring the city.
Yiayia – I know you’re reading all of these and want more photos with me actually in them so I’ll strive to get some for you tomorrow!
Buona notte! Xx