Wednesday, 29 January 2020

DoubleTree by Hilton (Turin, Italy)

Today I can pick up cash from a nearby Moneygram location, but first a good breakfast. Not the best breakfast, in terms of variety, from a Hilton property but it will do. For breakfast I had scrambled eggs, bacon, potatoes, a croissant and a bowl of cereal – also coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice.

I set off to the first Moneygram place. Some of these are small shops and they may not be able to complete the transaction. Or they might be closed, which was the case with the first one I tried. The second one couldn’t do the transactions nor the third place but he pointed me to a Poste Italiane (Post Office) across the street.

At the post office the guy in the window first said he couldn’t do the transaction then with a little encouragement he said he could. (I gave him a please-help-me look.) He eventually was able to give me the cash. What a relief! I’m done with messing around with passports and credit cards!

I was planning to take a taxi to the Piazza Castello, where many of this historical buildings are located, but thought I’d give the bus a chance. I confirmed that the next bus would take me to a stop close by. When I got on the bus, with some change in my pocket, the driver indicated that he couldn’t take the money. It wasn’t until two young women got on at the next stop, who spoke English, and told me that I need to buy bus tickets from a Tobacco Shop (convenience store). She asked the driver about my paying him and he said that I could ride free. I thanked him in my best Italian when I got off the bus.

I enjoyed the walk to the Piazza. A beautiful day and so many older buildings and all of them in great shape. It looks like much care has been taken to preserve these buildings for future generations. The old town of Turin was vast judging from looking down each of the streets. The Madama Palace (old part) was the first building I saw then went around the corner and saw the new part, which is now a museum. Across the square was the Royal Palace. The Piazza was very large and open and a great place to people watch.

A little ways down another street was the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist where the Shroud of Turin is located. But it was closed until Friday. I suppose it would be interesting to see, but being pragmatic, I knew it was a religious relic with a questionable past like some of the items I saw in Jerusalem. The last place I wanted to see was the Mole Antonelliana, a large building with a spire that can be seen from a distance and known as the tallest museum (National Cinema Museum) in the world.

My last stop was to walk down to the Po River a short distance away. I like to visit a city’s main river and rarely disappointed when I do. I took a video of the river going under one of the bridges. I was a nice place to end my day of touring.

My feet were getting tired since I hadn’t been walking as much as usual and decided to take a taxi back to the hotel. It was turning out to be a nice day and I decided to check out a large market (Eataly) that I’ve seen from my hotel room.

Eataly was a wonderful place to shop and would love to have a place like this in Portland. Perhaps Whole Foods would come close but this place had everything an Italian would need to make a great meal. I walked out with a couple of chocolate chip cookies. I was hungry since I hadn’t had lunch.

Then walked to a nearby McDonald’s to get something in my stomach other than a couple of cookies. The McDonald’s was located in the very large shopping mall. You would know from the outside that a mall of this size was in there but here it was. I just went in, bought a Big Mac and left.

After a nap and writing my travel blog post I went down for dinner. I ordered a starter salad and bowl of their vegetable soup. As a treat my server brought me something for me to try. It was a bowl and inside was a small octopus laying on top of beet mash. I thanked the server but declined her offer.

I checked how much I walked today and found that I had walked nearly 15,000 steps, or around five miles. After dinner and watching an episode of The Expanse I was ready for bed.

Tomorrow I leave for Brescia and will stay there four nights. I plan to visit Verona, an hour away by train, for two days.

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