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 22 of 23: The Rest of My Stay in Torino
la Porta Palatina
Saturday was my last full day in Torino. After breakfast, I did a little last minute shopping and then took a different street back to the Piazza Castello. I discovered that the BC Canada House that was built for the Torino Olympics was located directly behind my hotel! It seemed so out of place.
On my way to the piazza, I walked by a magnificent building called the Museo Nazionale dei Risorgimento Italiano. A few of us tried to figure out if this museum was open or closed but none of us could find the entrance or an open door. I guess it was not meant to be. I grabbed a bite to eat at that little bookstore and then decided to head back to the Caffè Al Bicerin to try the famous Bicerin drink. This time it was open. I ordered the Bicerin along with an apple cake that I could not resist. What a delicious treat for my last full day in Torino.
Next, I walked over to La Porta Palatina (a famous Roman gate) and took a couple of pictures. This gate is said to be one of the best-preserved examples of a Roman gate. It was once one of the entrances to the city. Nearby the gate were a few other Roman remains including part of a Roman wall and some remains of a Roman Theatre. Next door was the Museo di Antichità. Since I had my Torino card and needed to find a bathroom, I decided to stop inside. I was not in a “museum” sort of mood and so I only spent a short time in the museum after using the bathroom. This museum houses a collection of objects that date from prehistory to the late Roman era.
When leaving the Museo di Antichità, I realized that nearby was the Cattedrale di San Giovanni Battista or the Duomo where the Holy Shroud was housed. The copy of the Holy Shroud was displayed near the entrance and the original was housed in the Cappella dell Sacra Sindone (the Chapel of the Holy Shroud) at the far end of the church. I'm not sure when the original will be displayed again.
By now, it was late afternoon. I headed back down to the River Po to check out info on the boat rides. When I got there, I found out that the next boat was leaving in about 15 minutes. I decided to take the ride. I am not sure if I would recommend this ride to others. The boat was mostly enclosed with a few open seats in the back (along with the smell of the motor) and a few open seats up in the front, which were already occupied. Because the windows were not very clear, the view was not that great inside. I sat in one of the seats in the back. The ride was pretty peaceful other than the motor noise. The smell of the motor was not too enjoyable but the views were pretty. The boat stops at the Parco del Valentino, a beautiful park with a castle and a medieval village. I did not really know much about this park, castle, and village when we stopped and did not know if I would be able to continue to ride the boat if I did get off at this stop and so I stayed on the boat. On the way back when picking up the passengers at this stop, I realized that I probably should have gotten off to visit the park instead of taking the rest of the river ride. If I return to Torino, this will be on my list of places to visit.
When the boat ride was over, I headed back to the train station to purchase my train ticket for the following day, when I would head to the airport hotel. It was early evening by now. The train station was not very crowded. There were only a few people in line. When the ticket window opened up and it was my turn to purchase my ticket, I headed over to the open window. This young guy in a very big rush came over to my window just after I arrived and interrupted the ticket guy asking him if he could quickly purchase a ticket. I was in no rush and since he was very polite about it, I told the man that it was not a problem for me. After he bought his ticket, he thanked me again and told me I that I was very kind and then ran off to catch his train. I finished my ticket purchase and then walked over to the tracks to see which track (binario) my train would be leaving from so that on Sunday I would not have to figure that out with all my bags.
I was pretty tired from another long day and so I headed back to the hotel to shower and rest my feet for a little while and then changed for dinner. I headed back to the area I discovered the night before and got a table at a great little restaurant called Ristorante la Badessa. This was the perfect choice for my last night in Torino. The food was excellent and the waiters and waitresses were very kind. I had a delicious pasta dish and some fish. I wished that I had found this restaurant sooner. When leaving, I asked them if they would be open for lunch on Sunday. They said that usually they were open on Sunday afternoons but would be closed this Sunday due to the World Cup match, the championship match, Italy vs. France.
Sunday morning I slept in and then lingered a little longer than normal having my breakfast on the beautiful patio at my hotel. I was too tired to pack Saturday night and so I had to get it all done Sunday morning and be out of my room by noon. I figured that would be pretty easy to do but in the end, it took longer than normal as I decided to pack for the plane ride home, putting all the items in my roll-on bag that I planned to check in at the airport instead of just throwing things in each bag. This way, I would not have to re-pack again while watching the Italy-France World Cup final. I got down to the desk to pay the bill about 11:50 am with 10 minutes to spare.
The hotel let me leave my bags there for a few hours after checking out. I had about 2 1/2 hours to kill and then I had to head to the train station to catch my train. I decided to go back to la Mole and the Cinema Museum. I saw this cool car while walking to la Mole that was painted like the Italian flag. The excitement for the World Cup final was everywhere!
I enjoyed my second visit to the Cinema Museum and even lost track of time wandering around and watching clips from different movies. I ate lunch there since many places in Torino were closed for the World Cup. I had a great pesto pasta for lunch, which surprised me, as I didn’t expect such good food in a museum café.
At one point, I realized that I had 30 minutes to catch my train! I did some speed walking back to my hotel, which was halfway between the museum and the train station. I grabbed my bags that I left in the storage room at my hotel and then continued speed walking to the train station. I made it with five minutes to spare and then of course the train ended up leaving 10 minutes late.
I have to say once again how much I really enjoyed Torino!
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