Travel slowly, staying in vacation rentals (villas, farms, cottages, apartments)
Report 1114: Bergamo, Venice, Lerici, Piemonte, Friends & World Cup Mania
By girasoli from Hawaii, Summer 2006
Page 16 of 23: Mondový and The Mysterious Funicular
Mondový Piazza (upper town) - Piazza Maggiore
I woke up Monday morning to an overcast day. I hoped that did not mean that rain was on the way. My plan for the day was to go to Mondový. There were a few early morning trains going to Savigliano and then a long break before the next train, which was at 1:30 pm. I decided to spend the morning checking out some of the shops in Saluzzo since everything was closed yesterday and then take the first afternoon train.
I ate breakfast, got ready, and then headed into town. When I got to the center, I saw that all of the shops were closed again. Of course, it was Monday! And so, I bought a paper to read, did a sudoko puzzle, and read up on Mondový while sitting on a park bench near the train station waiting for the train. Usually when I travel, I rip out only the pages I need from my travel books to cut down on the weight. The info in both books mentioned a funicular going from the lower town to the upper historic section of the town.
As time got closer, I bought a train ticket and grabbed a bite to eat at the little bar next to the train station. The train left on time and the connection to Mondový was also on time. I arrived in less than an hour. Again, thankfully I had a map from Katia's work place.
It was about a 10-15 minute walk to the lower town, Mondový Breo, from the train station. Once I reached Mondový Breo, I started walking up the road where the funicular was located. As I got closer, I noticed some workers working right in front of the glass door, which I thought was the entrance to the funicular. I asked one of the men if the funicular was running or if it was closed for lunchtime, as there didn't seem to be anyone around except for the workers. The man told me that it would be open in three months! In October!! Well, there went that plan. I found out that the original funicular had been closed for many years now. Obviously the travel books had not been updated!
So, now I had two choices. I could go back down to the center to find a bus or I could walk up to the upper town, Mondový Piazza. Since I did not know where the buses stopped, and did not know the bus schedule, I decided to walk ... a long long way up up up. About 40 minutes later, I arrived at the top. I guess all those nights walking up the steps to the Doria Park Hotel in Lerici paid off as although I was huffing and puffing the entire way, I survived the walk uphill.
Once I arrived, I realized that again everything was closed because it was Monday! There was a cool tower, which was closed, and a couple of churches, which were closed due to restoration work. The skies started to get darker. As I walked by a sign that said something about the weather, a cute guy walked out of the doorway. I asked him if he knew if it was supposed to rain. I commented that I assumed he would know since he was working at a weather information place. He laughed and looked up at the sky saying that he could only guess by what the sky looked like. We chatted for a few minutes and then I continued on checking out more of the upper town.
The main piazza was charming and there were wonderful views from some of the streets of the valleys below. I took some pictures and walked around a little bit more and then inquired about the bus for the ride back down. I decided not to walk back down and instead to catch the bus. I met a lady waiting at the bus stop. She was quite amazed that I walked up that big hill. She also thought I was very brave to travel so far by myself. She was so kind and even gave me her phone number in case I ran into any problems while in Torino. She was also just visiting Mondový and lived right outside of Torino. It was nice to chat with her. When we arrived back in Mondový Breo, we said our goodbyes and I thanked her again for her kindness.
Back down in the lower town, I wandered around for a while, took some pictures, had a gelato, and then realized that I had only had 10 minutes until the train I planned to take left. I walked as fast as I could and also ran at times up the little hill to the train station. I arrived with two minutes to spare to then find out that the train would be 10 minutes late.
Once back in Saluzzo, I was pretty tired. All I could think of was taking a long shower. I stopped in a little shop to buy some food for dinner. After that long walk in Mondový, all I wanted to do was to return to my hotel to relax for the evening. When I returned to my hotel, I talked to the owners about the possibility of getting a taxi in the morning to take me to the train station in Savigliano. Jane, one of the owners, offered to have her son drive me to the train station. I was very fortunate to find this hotel, as the owners were so kind and helpful. I thanked her for a wonderful stay and then headed up to my room for the night. After dinner, I packed my bags, watched a little TV, and then went to bed.
I loved my hotel and enjoyed my stay in Saluzzo. But, if I had known then what I know now about the train situation, I would have stayed in Cuneo instead of Saluzzo. This would have given me much better transportation options. I still would have spent time in Saluzzo and would have taken a second day trip to Mondový but the transportation would have been much easier. Saluzzo however is the place I would choose to stay in if I had a car.
I am very glad I made the trek to Saluzzo and enjoyed this part of Piemonte. I would recommend this area to anyone else considering a stay in Piemonte.
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