Tuesday, 15 May 2007

3rd May - Torino Day 2

3rd May
Torino - Day 2

I peeked out of the curtains about 7.30am and had a look-see at what the weather was doing. Hmmm..... cloudy, but dry, so I stuck on the boiler for an hour to have a shower, rolled over and dozed off again. When I woke, it had gone 9, so I figured I'd best get myself up and make a start to the day.

By the time I was ready, the sky had cheered up a bit and then it was a case of wondering whether it was T-shirt and hoodie, or T-shirt and light jacket weather. I tell ya, the lifechanging decisions one has to make on the road.......
So anyway, I made the executive decision that it was light jacket day.

I checked out the stunning view from the terrace of the old villa and snapped off ssome photos, then ambled down the hill towards the city. The hill is an awful lot easier on the way down than it is coming back up, when it becomes a calf buster! I wandered along the banks of the River Po, which was in spate, flowing fast with murky brown water after the extensive rains of yesterday and last night. I soon reached the centre and began to take a look around. The shops were all open this time and there are plenty of them. Another thing there are plenty of are caffe's. The Italians love their coffee - shame I don't share the same appreciation really. I did bow to the little devil on my shoulder and indulge in the stickiest ice cream I've ever had.

I made a fair old circuit of the city centre; through Piazzas and streets, grand avenues and skirting the edges of some fine parks. Torino is very pleasant, but I get the feeling that it's a bit on the cool side at times, being bordered by the Alps. I could see snow on the upper slopes of one of the mountains in view at the end of one of the avenues. Brrr......

It is however, cleverly planned, and the main shopping areas are well served by what you'd call, galleries, I suppose....
These covered walkways mean that although you may not escape the cold, at least there is respite from the rain. Glasgow and Dublin planners, please take note. And this was planned out in the mid 1800's. Everything has a solid, well built and well maintained feel to it. The buildings all sit well together and are painted in matching hues, so that there is a recurrent architectural theme to the place. The transport system consists of trams; some a bit old fashioned, looking similar to the ones that Blackpool has that were built in the 60's and other, newer versions, and the systems seems to be quite comprehensive. There are also very frequent buses, which people seem to just hop on at the back of without paying the driver. I haven't sussed out how that system works! They also have a subway of sorts, but I'm not sure how extensive the lines are.

I carried on window shopping. One pet hate of mine, in everything from shoes shops to estate agents, is that it really bugs me when the traders don't put the prices on things in the window. I have no interest in going inside to find out how much something is, and you'll never sell me an apartment or a house with no price in the advert. I'm fairly sure that I can't be unique in forming this opinion?

I had a paranoid moment earlier today when I thought I'd forgotten the PIN number for my bank card. This happens to me now and again. The last time I had the bank send me out a reminder, which took about a week to arrive, and when it did, as soon as I saw the number, I had instant recall. Today, I had a choice of 3 numbers in my head and thankfully, the 1st one that I tried came up trumps! Phew.... visions of me running out of cash and no way of getting any out of the hole in the wall.

I was tempted to go clothes shopping, but I didn't really see any bargains, although designer label queens would be bowled over by the number of boutique shops, Dolce and Gabbana, Guess, etc., and practically everyone seems to sport at least a major designer label accessory like a belt. Or sunglasses. Now there's a thing I just don't get. I'd just lose sunglasses and don't fancy shelling out 150e to replace them. At least with a belt, it's firmly attached to your waist. That I can get..... Anyways, I resisted the temptation since I couldn't find a Penney's anywhere!

I finally found a net cafe and managed to get the previous week's blog uploaded and answer a few mails and while there I checked in on Colette's blog that she uses to keep me updated about things back in Ireland, and found out that Evelyn's cat, Boots, had been run over and killed on the road. That pretty much put a dampener on my day. I felt gutted. Poor wee cat. I really liked him. For the few short months that he was around, his character really shone through. Colette has a theory that the local alpha male tom cat, who may or may not have been Boots' father as they had very similar markings, had chased him away and he'd gotten run over trying to make it back home. He may, of course, have just gotten brave and decided that the grass was greener on the other side of the fence.

Crazy Italian drivers everywhere. I was crossing the street on the green man at one of the marked crossings and an ambulance came flying straight through. I thought to myself that it would have been somewhat ironic to have been ploughed over at that point, in an Alannis Morrisette kind of moment.

By 3pm, the clouds had started to roll in and a few spots of rain were making their prescence felt, so I decided to call it a day. Truth be told, my feet hurt, and I knew I had that nasty uphill stretch at the end of it all to look forward to. The rain managed to stay at bay until I got back to the van and then the weather turned to kak. I made myself a very Italian lunch of spaghetti with tomatoes and crusty bread and decided to chill out and watch a DVD, so 'The Shawshank Redemption' has been dragged out.

Tomorrow, I head for Milan, so I'm guessing whatever Torino has by way of boutique shops, Milano will have truckloads more.

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